Are Millennials Changing the Way We Design Experiences?

Do millennials really approach everything differently than generations before them? Or are the challenges of designing for them simply the same challenges as designing and delivering experiences for any group?

Yes, millennials approach the world a little differently. But so does every generation.

What should we remember as we design workplaces, customer experiences, and more for millennials?

1. Flexibility

In work and in life, this group sees flexibility as an absolute must. Flexibility means having some control over his or her individual schedule, flexibility to work where it’s most comfortable, and flexibility to create a unique, individual path. What this means for design is offering options. Options work for everyone, not just millennials.

As you design experiences, consider many paths for the same outcome. For example, knowing millennials require the flexibility of shopping via mobile, but checking on the order on their laptop, means designing an experience that is not channel-specific. It’s not just millennials who will appreciate that choice.

2. Empowerment

Empowerment may be defined slightly differently by millennials than generations before them, but it’s a key factor in experiences for them. Empowerment in the workplace could mean providing access and support for personal and professional development very early in the relationship between a millennial and his employer. Millennials want to feel empowered to take on more important roles and projects, and want the training and mentoring to back it up. This is what any employer wants – a connected and empowered workforce who is well-trained. Millennials may be pushing this, but employers should note how to provide this for the entire team.

Empowering customers to educate and better understand how your products and services help them is a great way to develop trust between you and your customers. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies have long offered on-demand training and helpful tutorials for customers. Other organizations could take a cue from this and empower their customers in this way.

3. Validation

Praise and validation are extremely important to millennials, especially in the workplace. They require feedback on a more consistent basis. This means workplace leaders should seek out ways to validate the work being delivered, even if it’s not a big project or career-making initiative. Praising accomplishments that may seem minor can actually lead to more confidence and motivation.

Likewise, one of the most important things to offer customers throughout their journey is reassurance. This validation can help customers continue on the path with more confidence and motivation, too. Amazon is a champion at offering reassurance throughout the customer journey. Feedback like “your purchase is complete” and “your purchase is being shipped” may not seem like validation, but it absolutely is. This type of validation, along with messages like “We think you’ll love your new purchase!” are praising the customer on their choices.

Millennials are now 25% of the U.S. population, and they do approach the world a little differently. But designing experiences for them actually might help organizations design a better experience for everyone. We all appreciate flexibility and choice, empowerment, and validation and praise. Keeping these ideals in mind may help create an experience of delight for all generations.

About the author

Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the Chief Customer Experience Investigator™ and founder of 360Connext, a global consulting firm specializing in the cornerstones of customer experience: customer engagement, employee engagement and connections like social media. Walters has worked with a wide range of organizations, including universities and prep schools, banks and credit unions, technology companies, some of the largest financial services companies in the world and countless entrepreneurs. She thinks about how the small experiences we have each day – going to the bank, ordering online, tweeting – create the greater experience of our lives.

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