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Facing the next generation of consumers

Facing the next generation of consumers

Most enterprises are struggling with how to adapt their businesses to serve younger customers, particularly those born between 1982 and 2001.

A new wave of consumers from the millennial generation - consumers born between 1982 and 2001 - is causing a stir among companies. Most enterprises are struggling with how to adapt their businesses to serve these younger customers, according to a new global survey. The survey was done by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Genesys, an Alcatel-Lucent company. EIU is the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper.

The global survey looked at how millennial consumers will impact the customer experience, asking C-level and senior executives from around the world how they are creating a customer experience to attract and retain millennials.

Shifting patterns

Among the key findings are:

-- Investment strategies are shifting to favor millenials: Companies are debating heavily whether to invest more in catering to aging baby boomers versus next-generation consumers. Forty-two percent believe they should tilt towards younger customers, while 39 percent would shift towards baby boomers and generation X.

-- The time to act is now: Most companies (54 percent) have not yet set their strategies or marketing for millennials even though they overwhelmingly agree that such steps are needed. Seventy-five percent say millennials will impact their organization as consumers in the next three years.

-- It's an Enterprise 2.0 world: Most companies have a sophisticated understanding of what it would take to adapt, but are not ready to change their customer engagement model by leveraging social networking, peer marketing, better online support, text messaging, and blogging.

The report highlights the urgent need for businesses to invest in new modes of customer communication and to tailor their approaches to match customer preferences. Of the 164 executives who took part in the survey, 30 percent were from the Asia Pacific, 29 percent came from North America and 31 percent from Europe. The rest were from other parts of the world.

Genesys focuses on software to manage customer interactions over the phone, Web and in email. Alcatel-Lucent provides solutions that enable service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide, to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users.

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