A recent study conducted by Oracle in partnership with CRM Essentials illustrated that younger generations have a higher level of trust for social media influencers than they do brands. Almost 40% of Millennials and Gen Z survey participants reported feeling this way—numbers that were 2.4 times higher than Baby Boomers.
This generational divide has become a key indicator for how best to serve customers through customer service. Whereas Baby Boomers who need to troubleshoot a problem with a new product might instinctively reach for the phone to call a customer service representative, younger consumers instinctively reach for what they know and trust—which is authentic, brief videos from an online representative they see as knowledgeable.
In fact, the Oracle study discovered that online communities are rapidly replacing traditional customer service channels. Only 18% of participants reported wanting to pick up the phone to call customer service with a question. Almost one-third of consumers would rather comment on a brand’s social media page and nearly one-quarter would prefer to direct message a brand.
Across generations, 93% of consumers said they turn to videos on a social media platform, like YouTube or TikTok, to get an answer to their product or service question. Why? Respondents said they trust this content because it is created by other consumers (20%), the answer is easily searchable (19%), and there are a lot of videos to choose from (14%).
Turning to an online interaction with strangers instead of calling up a brand to talk to customer service is rapidly becoming the norm for consumers. For now, there is still room for call centers and traditional customer service channels, but brands who refuse to take their communications to the next level, allowing for social media-enhanced customer service, quick direct message chat services, and TikTok-style product videos, are deciding to become a niche brand that will lose out on the next generation of buyers.