Millennials are from Mars & Baby Boomers are from Venus

So, this week I came across a fascinating article by Steve Morrell of Contact Babel about the ‘perennial millennial customer service dilemma’ as he put it. In his White Paper, Steve articulately explains the challenges our frontline teams and leaders are faced with today, when a Generation Y’er contacts a call centre demanding service….and boy, do they demand!

They have high expectations of what they want and need from their service provider. They want to choose how and when they interact with companies AND won’t think twice about venting their frustrations in a viral manner through any channel of social media going, “dissing” the provider without a moment’s thought for the poor Agent who’s trying to help them!

Indeed (and this is quite hilarious) one-third of millennials polled in a recent study admitted that they’d rather clean a toilet than speak to a call centre representative! They associate contact centres with poor and outdated customer service, and yet over half the 18-35s polled said they want to have “chemistry” with the person they are speaking with when they interact with a contact centre – proving not every member of the Millennial club is a hard-nosed, unfeeling yobbo!

So it seems, our Gen Y community are a tough crowd to please – and according to a recent study, today’s contact centres are falling well short of their expectations. Having 3 young men of my own who all fall into the Millennial category, I don’t find this realisation that surprising.

My boys certainly don’t suffer fools gladly and won’t tolerate poor service, bad manners or plain ignorance in ANY setting – demonstrated just last weekend when my no. 2 son came home for the weekend. He’s a dab hand when it comes to delivering stellar customer service – well he would be wouldn’t he, with me for a mother!? Daniel has spent the last several years, all through his university studies right up to now, working on the frontline – an exemplary Brand Ambassador for his employer, even if I say so myself.

Last Saturday, we stopped at a BP station with a Simply M&S store inside and after filling up with diesel, went inside to buy a few bits for our (very rare) mum-&-no.2-son-only evening together. As we approached the cash-desk, the young man (probably a similar age to my Dan) serving us, simply grabbed the basket and started ringing up the items – without so much as a glance our way or a word being spoken.

To my surprise, Dan said (in a rather excited way) “Hello mate, how are you today?” and the young guy, clearly shocked, answered “err, yeh, I’m good thanks” and continued to ring up our shopping on the till. When we got back in the car, I asked Dan how he knew the young man in the store, having clearly demonstrated to me that he must’ve been pals with him at a point in his past, because he’d been so friendly towards him. “I don’t know him from Adam” answered Dan, rather bemused. “I just thought I’d point out to him, as subtly as I could, that being friendly and welcoming to your customer isn’t difficult – giving them a smile and a friendly hello, and at very least, looking them in the eye for a moment or two, actually costs nothing – it’s just good customer service isn’t it Mum?”

Jeez, I couldn’t have been prouder of him in that moment if my life had depended on it! Dramatic I know, but it proves the point…small things can make such a BIG difference to your customer’s experience, like a polite hello; a warm smile; a pleasant thank you; eye contact; a friendly comment or a positive stance (whether you’re face to face or on the ‘phone with a customer) – any small gesture that simply states you’re on GAS…that is, You Give A Sh*t.

As I say time and time again folks, this ain’t rocket science – people will forget what you say to them, they’ll forget what you do for them (even if you’re a real GEM and Go the Extra Mile) but they will NEVER forget how you make them FEEL.

And it doesn’t actually matter whether you’re a Millennial or a Baby Boomer, a Generation X, Y or Zer, every one of us can take something from this week’s blog, to ensure we do everything we can to make people FEEL GOOD when they interact with us – whether we provide service on a frontline in a call centre or in a Simply M&S store!

You can read all about the ‘perennial millennial customer service dilemma’ in Steve’s fascinating White Paper, which you can access here at

Until next time – keep FIT!

Hello... I'm Marie Cross

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