New Study Debunks the Myth of the Disengaged Millennial

PRESS RELEASE: The findings of a new survey conducted by Mattersight Corporation of over 1,000 millennials offer a surprising alternative to the popular perception of this group as tech-savvy smartphone addicts who would rather text, tweet or post than talk to people over the phone or face-to-face. In fact, millennials prefer direct, human interactions over digital options in most instances, and want chemistry, understanding and respect out of those interactions.

“Despite growing up in the digital age, millennials haven’t abandoned person-to-person contact,” said Mattersight CEO Kelly Conway. “Contrary to popular belief, we found that most millennials prefer to communicate in-person and over the phone because it allows them to have the most meaningful conversations.” The survey results suggest that employers, brands and society will be challenged to rethink generational stereotypes in order to meet millennial demands for efficient, meaningful and non-digital communications.

Even at work, 85 percent of millennials surveyed said that they prefer to meet and communicate in-person with coworkers. The second most preferred method of communication at work is a near tie between email and talking on the phone, which indicates millennials’ equal desires for efficiency and social interaction. Over half of the millennials surveyed said that outside of work they prefer to communicate in person, and that an important characteristic of a quality conversation is having chemistry — which is hard to cultivate through digital and online means only.
The new generation of customers and service

Though millennials are strongly associated with social media and sometimes even called the “Facebook generation,” Mattersight found that only one percent of millennials prefer to contact a brand on social media for customer service purposes. The majority of those surveyed prefer to call a customer service line and talk to a human being, but are deterred from doing so because they have had so many frustrating experiences in the past.

Supporting survey findings include:

  • 85 percent of millennials report having been disappointed by a company’s service and support in the past year.
  • When asked to describe a recent negative experience, one respondent said, “They didn’t offer an option to call and talk to someone. It was Web only, and my problem wasn’t featured among troubleshooting options.”

“Just like in the workplace, millennials want to be able to communicate with a company person-to-person in order to quickly solve problems,” said Conway. “Unfortunately, companies generally aren’t providing the call center experience that millennials are seeking, forcing them to abandon phone options for less preferred ways to connect with brands, or even disengage completely.”

Mattersight’s survey results show that millennials crave emotional connections from their communications. Whether at work or in a social setting, with friends or with brands, millennials prefer direct human interactions that are based on respect — and their expectations are rising every day.

For more on millennial communication preferences, how remote working trends are changing preferences and how brands can provide the best service to millennials, read the full report: “The Millennial Surprise: Craving Human Connections in the Digital World.”