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What Brain Science Can Teach Us About Leadership

What Brain Science Can Teach Us About Leadership | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Our prefrontal cortex allows our judgment to override primitive instincts that no longer serve us. These lessons from brain science can increase your leadership effectiveness.
Don Dea's insight:

Far too many leaders have used the excuse, “I’m too old to change. Others need to figure out how to adapt to my style.” That excuse doesn’t hold up anymore either. We now know that the human brain continues to grow and learn throughout our lives and that we are capable of changing at any point. You might not want to change, but you are never too old to change.

Three lessons from brain science that can increase your effectiveness as a leader.

1. When you are emotionally triggered, take a breath. And then take another one. Hold off on responding when you are angry or annoyed. We don’t have a choice about our feelings, but we do have a choice about how we respond to them.

It might give you relief to lash out, but too often trust is broken and repair is difficult, especially when this is a pattern. Our prefrontal cortex allows us to override our reactivity, to choose to delay the immediate gratification of relief at the expense of others, and to wait until our rational thinking returns before taking action.

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digitalNow
Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
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3 executive takeaways about culture from the Google mess

3 executive takeaways about culture from the Google mess | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Co-opt the invisible hand of culture to create business success

Once you own your ability to help create a culture where psychological safety is the norm, you begin to access the power to wield the invisible hand of culture to produce business results. The reason it matters is that culture programs the organization’s default intuition for how to handle every decision, customer conversation and employee interaction. Culture takes your place in leading and providing direction when you’re not physically present.
If you want every employee to choose and reward actions that focus on, rather than distract from, the business’ success, then you need to become intentional about rooting out the behaviors that work against this dynamic. Certainly, shame, blame, discrimination and harassment fall into that category, but so do many others, and these are specific to your business. Learn what they are and help your people replace them with behaviors that support the growth and success you are personally committed to achieving.
Turn this cultural awareness and maintenance into an organizational habit and you’ll find the invisible hand of culture supporting you all along the way.
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The roots of organic growth 

Digital technologies and the pace of competition, however, also open new avenues to organic growth for those companies that have the capabilities and dexterity to take advantage of them. Today’s fastest growers, for example, price products in real time; they create meaningful and positive customer experiences with digital interactions; and they refine products continually with customer feedback. To understand the relationship between organic growth approaches, capabilities, and performance in this environment, we recently surveyed approximately 600 executives at leading companies in the European Union and North America.1 We found that companies exhibit three basic growth tendencies; that an approach combining two or more of these holds particular power in driving growth; that advanced analytics is an ingredient of standout growth; and that success depends on nurturing a set of reinforcing capabilities that fit the growth approach.
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IT Leaders Use Freelance Help to Close Skills Gaps

IT Leaders Use Freelance Help to Close Skills Gaps | digitalNow | Scoop.it
A growing number of IT department managers reported that the hiring market for technology talent has gotten more difficult over the past year, and the majority of them said they need to hire freelancers to support IT needs, according to a recent survey from Upwork. The resulting "Future Workforce IT Report" reveals that most IT managers said they've had to evolve in their approach to hiring in order to maintain a competitive edge. By bringing on freelancers, their department gets more work done, and they can better balance teams to meet project demands. The IT managers also avoid the delay or cancellation of projects or the extension of deadlines. "The tech talent gap has reached a crisis point," said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork. "Companies are struggling with a widening tech skills gap, particularly in areas such as AI, IoT and robotics. The shortage of skilled tech professionals has become a major concern for companies. To help bridge the gap, companies are innovating their talent strategies by leveraging freelancers with the specialized skills they need to develop new technologies." More than 200 IT managers took part in the research.
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Building a marketing organization that drives growth today 

Orchestrating the marketing ecosystem

The digital age has made the old agency model redundant with the emergence of an array of narrower, more specialized services (see sidebar, "The five shifts that have redefined the modern marketing landscape"). Making effective use of these capabilities requires new management approaches and ways of working:

Managing partnerships—inside and outside the organization: The traditional notion of managing a roster of a single media agency and one or two creative agencies of record seems like a relic from ancient marketing history. Today’s world features multiple channels and capabilities, such as search, social, programmatic, and content management, all of which need to be closely coordinated to be effective
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Study: Brands exercise more control over digital advertising

Study: Brands exercise more control over digital advertising | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The findings also illustrate the challenges facing traditional ad agency holding companies as brands seek more control. At one time, these companies had a virtual monopoly on advertising, but due in part to a reluctance to adopt to the changing digital marketing world, the agency business is being upended. The agency industry has also recently been rocked with a rebate scandal and brands have become much more willing to audit their agency partners. 

Management and financial consultancies have recognized the fraying relationship between brands and agencies, leading Accenture, Deloitte and others to open digital services divisions that compete directly with ad holding companies like Publicis and WPP. As a result of all of these developments, the digital media landscape could look very different once all the dust settles. 
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Here comes the modern Chinese consumer

Chinese consumers are also increasingly trading up from mass products to premium products: we found that 50 percent now seek the best and most expensive offering, a significant increase over previous years (Exhibit 3). It’s no surprise that the growth of premium segments is outpacing that of the mass and value segments, and foreign brands still hold a leadership position in that premium market. What’s more, a rising proportion of Chinese consumers focus on a few brands, and some are becoming loyal to single brands. The number of consumers willing to switch to a brand outside their “short list” dropped sharply. In apparel, for instance, the number of consumers willing to consider a brand they hadn’t before dropped from about 40 percent in 2012 to just below 30 percent in 2015.
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Using data to improve customer experience in passport services

Using data to improve customer experience in passport services | digitalNow | Scoop.it
We are learning that we don’t currently have a great process to capture valuable insight from customers, so we are trying to start up a function to conduct interviews, have focus groups with customers, and even follow-up on things like Yelp reviews for passport agencies to help with that prioritization process. We’ve also started making a concerted effort to gather feedback directly from employees and contractors, so we can start to build a view of what preferences our customers have in their experience. All of that is in its infancy, but getting better data is definitely our top priority.

In the meantime, we try to categorize and rank order-improvement efforts based on the quantitative data we have from the operation. For example, taking a photo of the customer at the point of accepting their application has become a top priority for us, based on some recent research. We found the number-one reason applications were suspended was due to photo issues. Around 15 percent, or 2.5 million, applications each fiscal year are suspended during the adjudication process, causing delays and more effort on the part of the customer. So we wanted to dig into that process and find ways to improve. Many suspensions are caused by preventable issues like over- or underexposed photos, pictures that were too big or small, or even something as simple as glare on an applicant’s glasses. Based on that information, we are now working with our photo vendors to improve the ability to take quality photos. We are also focusing on taking a secure photo of the customer at the point of accepting their passport. We do live capture of customer photos now in our overseas government-run acceptance offices, and we’ve seen some great technology in places like the Mexican consulates, so we are encouraged that it can be done.
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Some Business Executives Say They Could Replace IT

Some Business Executives Say They Could Replace IT | digitalNow | Scoop.it
As company culture and existing "organizational context" (attributes in the environment that can influence performance) keep CIOs from being as effective as they could be, many business executives said that IT is either significantly or fully replaceable by third-party services, according to a recent survey from McKinsey and Company. The resulting article, "IT's Future Value Proposition," calls out a wide range of perceived IT shortcomings: The tech department doesn't collaborate with business about digital strategies as much as it should. It's not extremely effective at leading the design of e-commerce and online experiences, or developing analytics use cases. IT also struggles to identify cutting-edge or innovative technologies, according to the findings. To overcome this, CIOs and their teams must work more closely with top organizational leaders to more effectively ensure that their efforts contribute tangible business value. "CIOs will need to increase expectations for themselves and the IT function," according to the article. "They must also work hard to elevate their role within the organization, developing both their leadership and business muscles, while building a more direct reporting line to the CEO. To do so, they will need to write a more ambitious job description that reflects their organization's broader aspirations for growth and innovation. … CIOs will also need to focus on developing both the functional skills (such as digitization and delivery) and the leadership skills necessary to gain credibility as a true business partner, and they must ensure that the IT organizations they lead are meeting—or even surpassing—expectations."
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Servant Leadership: What's in It for Them?

Servant Leadership: What's in It for Them? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
When we collaborate with our business colleagues and partners, are we thinking about our objectives or theirs?
How many of us have made calls with sales executives who were clearly focused on selling their product or making their quota? How did that feel? And how did it feel on the rare occasions when you encountered a sales executive whose focus was on helping you solve a business problem? How different did that feel?
True servant leaders focus on the needs of their clients, their team, their management and their shareholders. They look at life through the prism of helping others succeed. These leaders realize that all ships rise with the tide.
They also realize that it’s very rare for a player on a last-place team to win the MVP award in their sport. These awards are usually given to the players whose teams have won championships.
Perhaps the greatest athlete of all time (certainly the greatest in my lifetime) is Michael Jordan. One of the most important things people always said about him was that he made everyone around him better.
Are we focused on making others better and helping them succeed? Or are we focused on hitting our personal bonus metrics? Remember, the question we should ask in all personal engagements is not, "What's in it for me?" but "What’s in it for them?"
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Personalization: How Much is Too Much?

Personalization: How Much is Too Much? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Assessing the Value of Personalization
Consequently, at the start of any personalization project, particularly one with heavy input from analytics, big data or modeling, I find it helpful to ask these questions to inform and guide my approach:

How much human involvement will be required in the purchase decision-making process?
A high level of personal involvement may mean a simpler model that is easier to understand, making the process of analyzing future purchase scenarios more effective.
Will my customer receive incremental value from added customization?
If there is little or no perceived customer benefit, how can there be any expectation of increased sales or margins? In cases like those, the simpler, mass market approach will probably be better.
Can I address my customer’s purchase needs in a less complex way?
Some customer experience scenarios are hard and require going the extra mile. Others really don’t need to be made more complicated than necessary.
How will the relative costs of each solution compare?
How will the relative costs in time, money and ongoing maintenance compare between alternative products and services?
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When to shift your digital strategy into a higher gear 

There may be a premium for making early moves.

When companies first sense a digital competitor entering their market space, they tend to react timidly, reasoning that the risk of damage to revenues and profits is not enough to justify tampering with current business models. Our research indicates, however, that executives may underestimate how close they are to an industry tipping point.1
The signals. As the exhibit shows, during the early stages of digital competition (when rates of digitization hover below 30 percent), fewer than one out of ten incumbent players across industries have adopted offensive corporate strategies that change their portfolios and business models.2 At this juncture, new digital entrants typically hold less than 10 percent of the market. However, when industry digitization climbs toward the 40 percent mark, the environment changes abruptly. That’s when digital attackers will likely have locked in a 15 percent market share and incumbents will be sensing that the upstarts have sufficient momentum to tilt the market to their advantage.
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10 insightful questions to work into your 1:1 meetings

10 insightful questions to work into your 1:1 meetings | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Questions you could be asking
While you're likely already asking the person how they feel about their workload and discussing goals, here are 10 questions you might not be asking but should be.

What motivates you at work?
What excites you most in your work?
What skills do you get to use most?
Do you have any skills that you aren't using often enough?
Think back to your last three projects, is there one thing you would do differently next time?
Is there anything preventing you from doing your job as well as you’d like?
Is there knowledge areas or skills you’d like to develop to help you be more effective?
What is one thing I could do to better support you?
Are you happy at work?
Are you able to do things you enjoy outside of work to manage stress?
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3 Ways to Ensure Your Customer Has a Bad Experience 

3 Ways to Ensure Your Customer Has a Bad Experience  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Your customer is your lifeline. As cliche as it sounds, one small mistake could cost your business big time. Rather than looking to the things that make good customers experiences, we’ll negate that and reveal three ways which definitely ensure bad customer experiences.  With ever-changing consumer habits with respect to mobile technology, customers expect you to be there every micro moment.  It’s no longer about ‘mobile marketing’, but rather ‘marketing in a mobile age’.

 1. Mismanagement of Customer Data

Starting off a little data is better than none, but making the data ‘actionable’ is key. Let’s say you’re a retailer with an online shop/site and you have stores located all over the map. You also just launched your new mobile app hoping your online and in-store customers will download it and automatically buy merchandise. First of all, that alone will get you nowhere. Instead of viewing you mobile channels as ‘money generating machines’ you’ll need to view it as a customer engagement tool first.

Thus, synchronize all your data (from all channels) to see the devil in its details. The integration of your POS, eCommerce or loyalty systems along with your mobile activities are best managed in one place where you can see the 360 view of your customer.
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Work Can Be Stressful, Dangerous And Sometimes Great

Work Can Be Stressful, Dangerous And Sometimes Great | digitalNow | Scoop.it
What the researchers found was that more than 1 in 4 Americans surveyed say they don't have enough time to do their jobs, with about half of Americans reporting that they do some work in their free time. This was most prevalent among white-collar workers. Two-thirds of all workers say they frequently work under tight deadlines or at high speed.

In addition, 1 in 5 reported experiencing verbal abuse, threats, humiliating behavior or unwanted sexual attention at work in the past month; or they experienced bullying, harassment or sexual harassment in the past year.

"One thing that really struck me was the high prevalence of hostile social interactions at work," says Maestas. Her survey found that while such interactions were seen across the board, verbal abuse was much more common in customer service jobs and experienced at the highest rates among men who did not graduate from college. Younger women and women of "prime age," defined in the survey as ages 35-49, experienced the most unwanted sexual attention.
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Overcoming the Fear of Giving Tough Feedback

Overcoming the Fear of Giving Tough Feedback | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Think about how much energy we waste by skirting around the real issue. Often, when we choose to withhold feedback we think we are being nice or diplomatic, but in reality, were just being flat out scaredy pants. Because no matter how you cut it, there will be pain when giving feedback. In the case of Beth, we might be tempted to say, “Beth, mostly you’re doing well just step it up a bit.”

Yet the true irony is withholding feedback from people who would otherwise benefit from it is not a nice thing to do. Without it we give others a false sense of security in their less than desirable performance.

To overcome the fear of giving feedback and communicate better as a leader, we must first recognize that feedback can cause pain – and learn to accept that pain. Then, we must
say what needs to be said in way that enables others to hear it, with respect and concern for the person on the receiving end.
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2 Mistakes Leaders Never Make When They Disagree!

There are two mistakes that great leaders never make when they disagree.

Not listening
Point out why others are wrong and they are right
Let’s take the following scenario to illustrate this point. Let’s imagine I want you to do X and you want to do Y. You explain your reasoning to me. I listen. I repeat what you have said to make sure we are in agreement. In this way, I avoid the mistake of not listening.

Now, let’s say I do not agree with you. The worst thing I can do is point out why I am right and you are wrong. This is mistake number two.

A far better approach is to say something like, “Direct report, I want you to do X for the following reasons. You have said you want to do Y. I’ve listened to you. I’ve repeated what you said and I see the logic of it. In this case, I still want you to do X for the following reasons.”

Perhaps my direct report still disagrees and wants to do X. I can say, “I understand. You’re a smart person and I respect you. In this case, this is my decision to make and we will go with Y.”

Perhaps you come back again and say, Marshall, “I think you’re wrong.” You know what I can say?
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Six steps to transform your marketing and sales capabilities

Know where you are and where you’re going

Here’s where one European chief commercial officer believes any transformation should start: “You need to create the compelling case for change. Define what problem the organization is trying to solve and why the current status is not good enough.” We endorse that, with one addition: your clear vision should be based on insights from data rather than on hunches.

We find that companies typically don’t have a strong sense of their commercial capabilities. High-performing companies, however, systematically assess their capabilities at a granular enough level to allow executives to take meaningful action. The best companies are deliberate about identifying their strengths and weaknesses against all capabilities and then mapping them against their goals so they understand which capabilities to prioritize. Everyone in the C-suite can articulate what two to three commercial capabilities their organization is focused on building, how they are building them, and how well the capability-building effort is translating into impact.

Leading companies use intense multiday workshops to distill this initial vision into concrete targets and timelines that can be filtered down from the leadership team. Connecting a visionary goal with a clear and pragmatic time line creates tremendous energy to start the transformation.
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Luxury shopping in the digital age

Three out of four luxury shoppers own a smartphone and about half own a tablet, according to our interviews with more than 3,000 luxury customers in six major luxury markets. Not surprisingly, while they’re at work they rely mostly on desktop or laptop computers, but while commuting, dining, or shopping, they’re more likely to use smartphones, especially to search for products and store locations. Indeed, more than half of luxury shoppers’ searches are mobile, and more than one in five of the shoppers in our sample said they often or always do some research on a mobile device before making a luxury purchase.
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How the public sector can remain agile beyond times of crisis 

Agility may be the last word people associate with public-sector institutions. Yet we have seen that they can indeed be agile, particularly in times of crisis, when employees actually say that it feels better to work for the government. Why? Because they get clear directions about how to achieve their mission and enough autonomy to make decisions at the front line; a burning platform for change replaces the cultural aversion to risk taking that’s characteristic of public-sector organizations; and teams work within and across agencies to achieve rapid results.

For example, a variety of publications have shown that many people who worked in US intelligence and law-enforcement agencies during the early 2000s believe that these organizations performed best in the days, weeks, and months after 9/11. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon clarified both the mission and the way to achieve it. The cultural aversion to sharing information across agencies and acting in concert was replaced by an urgently felt need to collaborate. Intelligence and law-enforcement officers across the front lines received new authority to make important decisions and respond quickly to developments and threats.
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Two views on how customer experience can better serve US military veterans 

Government organizations are very “rules-based” cultures that are designed for fairness and to protect people. In a sense, they are designed to reward institutional longevity rather than performance, and decisions are put in the hands of committees rather than frontline managers and employees. If you are trying to deliver a great experience, you need extraordinary people who are focused on the customer and empowered to make the right decisions.

I like to tell two stories to illustrate what I mean. On one occasion, a nurse at one of our facilities noticed that a patient was late for his appointment. She knew the patient well and felt that something was wrong, to the point where she decided to call emergency services. The police were dispatched to his home, where they found that he was stuck between two pieces of furniture and had nearly suffocated. The woman made a judgment call and saved the man’s life.
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Innovation Is Spurred by Collaboration

Innovation Is Spurred by Collaboration | digitalNow | Scoop.it
With relatively few executives describing their organization as an "innovation leader," companies are resorting to nontraditional methods to drive innovation, according to a recent "Innovation Benchmark" report from PwC's Strategy&. The report reveals that the majority of organizations are deploying so-called "open" innovation models, while "co-creating" with customers, partners and suppliers. With this approach, they hope to inspire fresher thinking, stronger C-suite leadership, and clearer business models to encourage more business-benefiting inspiration and creativity. However, most survey respondents admit that their organization still struggles to align their innovation strategy with their business operations—a formidable obstacle to overcome if efforts are to meet with success. The "nearly universal requirement to innovate is putting pressure on companies around the world to find the best ways to nurture, manage and measure innovation so that it delivers superior financial results, from strategy through execution," according to the report. "For most companies, that means opening up the innovation process more to customers, employees and partners. It's a far cry from the days when innovation was viewed as a functional capability existing only inside isolated R&D centers. Instead, organizations say they're focused on creating winning innovation cultures across their companies, and in bringing new thinking and ideas to their innovation initiatives, from both inside and outside corporate boundaries." More than 1,200 global executives took part in the research.
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Why Email Remains the King of Communication

Why Email Remains the King of Communication | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Why Does Email Still Dominate?
Given the range and scope of new tools available to help people collaborate more effectively, it's natural to wonder why email continues to persist and dominate. 

A few reasons why email is so resilient:

It is the lowest common denominator. Other collaboration tools are always presented as additions to email. This is because everyone has access to email without an incremental cost. No additional licenses required, no matter who you want to communicate with: email is always available and on all types of devices
Email is improving and adding lots of new features. One look at Microsoft Outlook and IBM Verse makes it apparent how much email has evolved. Both incorporate AI tools for composition and scheduling. Conversation mode, pioneered by Google for Gmail, is now standard and improving for both cloud and desktop versions of these email clients. Integration with cloud services, such as online file sharing applications, is making previously cumbersome activities much easier. This is whittling away at the advantage of both chat and ESNs.
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How to Build a Better IoT Framework

How to Build a Better IoT Framework | digitalNow | Scoop.it
As organizations embrace a connected world and build systems for both the industrial internet of things and consumer-facing IoT products and services, the initiative will begin to take shape, Capgemini's Krupitzer says. At this point, conversations typically revolve around how to add more sensors to products and machines, how to connect factories and supply chains, and how to achieve economies of scale with the IoT.

"It's a dialog that requires business and IT involvement," she says. "There's a need to understand how the IoT will be used to collect data, but also how to use it and draw insights from it."

This, in turn, may lead to conversations about how to digitally transform the business beyond the IoT. In some cases, organizations may discover that they need to morph from product-centric firms to services companies. This may result is further discussions about new business models and ripple into areas such as analytics, automation, interoperability, security issues and privacy concerns.

In the end, it's important to avoid getting caught up in the technology and the deluge of data that can result from IoT sensors, machines, smartphones, social streams and more. It's about gathering more data. It's about collecting the right data and connecting the right data points.

"Once you identify the value points and have a hypothesis, you can begin to test, adjust or change them and home in on the opportunities," says Krupitzer. The process is iterative and incremental, but, "When organizations get things right, it can change the landscape and disrupt the business or an entire industry."
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New evidence for the power of digital platforms 

A significant finding is the correlation between recent financial performance and the 12 percent of companies in the sample that have chosen to create new platforms.4 The biggest impact appears to be on the one in five platform companies that pursued the “offensive” option. They did much better than one in ten defensive companies that chose a platform strategy.

Connecting customers. Another critical finding is that the nature of the chosen platform matters. The experience of successful platform players indicates that benefits increase when platforms redefine value propositions for customers, reshaping the demand side of the market. Many companies do so by enriching their products or services with information, social content, or connectivity, providing an easier experience for customers. Indeed, demand-driven platform plays, when combined with an offensive digital corporate strategy, are strongly correlated with superior financial performance—about six to more than seven percentage points in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) and revenues—relative to the nonplatform, defensive players.5 It is noteworthy that the revenues and EBIT of the latter group declined, suggesting that some companies will face greater competitive pressures ahead.
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Why Millennials May Hate Your Customer Service

But apart from their reliance on technology, what does make this generation so special and peculiar? And why do they anticipate changes to the concept of customer service as we know it?

Multiple devices & Channels

This generation was being raised with mobile devices at their fingertips. Internet having been around before many of them were born, they rely on their own knowledge of the web and can find the information they need in the matter minutes if not seconds. 87% of them have their smartphones on them at all times, day and night. 47% of millennials say they use their smartphone to pay for services and goods online. In fact, you could say that millennials are rather tech dependent.

They constantly switch between devices including laptops, smartphones, and TV. And unless your website has responsive design, chances are that your millennial customers are frustrated with bad functionality of your website on the different devices they are using. Furthermore, the need to start their shopping from scratch once they move from one device to another is another issue that can lead to losing your millennial customers. This according to Get Personal study by Adobe, which found that nearly 80% of consumers and 90% of millennials switch devices while engaged in an activity; two-thirds (66%) of device owners find it frustrating when content is not synchronized across devices. Therefore businesses should work toward delivering such seamless experiences across digital devices through consistently identifying users that move from one digital experience to another.



On top of this, millennials use multiple social media, and while Facebook is the favorite among this group of customers, they expect you to be present in other social networks as well. Curiously, more women than men in this generation want this multichannel access to customer service.

New Experiences

Being the most educated generation due to access to technology and information, millennials are the crowd most aware of cultures around the globe and enjoy adventure and discovery. It is probably this multicultural mindset that drives them to experience new things even while shopping or receiving services.
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