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Text, don’t call: How to connect with millennial customers

You’ve heard all about the millennial horror of making or taking phone calls. As a business owner, how can you best connect with your millennial customers? We’ll tell you what you need to know.

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The phone rings. 

Your heart jumps. 

You get the distinct urge to hurl your phone across the room, but settle for sliding it a few inches away. The dread remains. 

This isn’t the start of “When a Stranger Calls”. This is the terror nearly everyone born after 1981 feels when they get a phone call.

Sure, there are some brave millennial folks who answer their phones. But the majority prefer texting over calling so they can respond without the pressure of a real-time conversation.

Why these generations find phone calls so terrifying is a mystery to those of the pre-texting era — so let’s take a closer look.

Why do millennials hate phone calls?

Hate is a strong word. But it’s one most millennials would use to describe their feelings toward phone calls.

Even if it’s their best friend or a parent on the other line, they’ll think twice before tapping the green accept button.

A survey by BankMyCell found that 75% of millennials dislike phone calls because they’re time-consuming, as well as the fact that 81% of millennials suffer from anxiety before they manage to make a phone call. 

A meme that reads, "When you call someone and they don't pick up" over a picture of people celebrating

Source: Know Your Meme

Millennials may also avoid phone calls because of:

  • The inability to think of what to say ahead of time, like they can with texting
  • The inconvenience of having their day interrupted by annoying or boring conversations
  • The fact that phone calls can be less straightforward than sending one concise message

Not to mention, millennials are a generation raised on smartphones and instant messaging technology, which might explain why they’re more reluctant to make and take phone calls than older generations who are more used to phone conversations.

So, the bottom line is that if you’re marketing to this demographic, you’re going to have even less luck getting them to pick up — even if you’re calling about an order they placed or an exclusive promotion. 

What millennials really, really want

A GIF of the Spice Girls performing

We’ve ruled out phone calls as the average millennial’s preferred method of communication, so the question remains: What’s the best way to reach them?

In a word, texting.

We know, we’re a little biased. But the numbers back us up. In a study by OpenMarket, 75% of millennial respondents reported that they would actually prefer a text-only phone to one that takes calls. 

The same number of respondents said that they also think SMS is the best way to get messages like reminders for appointments, payments, and deliveries, along with promotions and surveys.

When text message customer service makes the most sense

At the end of the day, stats are just generalizations (as if we need more generalizations about millennials and their avocado toast habits).

But if you run a business, these stats about millennials hating phone calls are a call to action for you. We’re not telling you to never call a customer again, but we are saying to give them options.

Naturally, we’re partial to texting, but for good reason. Texting also has a few benefits, besides simply being a good way to reach your millennial customers.

SMS is:

  • Fast – 90% of texts are read within 3 minutes
  • Reliable – Texts have a 98% open rate
  • Relevant – A survey found that 46% of respondents spend 5-6 hours a day on their phones
  • Convenient – With a texting platform, there’s no need to text each individual customer from your personal phone
  • In demand – In 2022, 70% of consumers (and 60% of millennials) opted in to receive texts from businesses (and 60% of millennials)

All these things make texting an ideal channel for customer service, especially when you need quick, efficient two-way interactions. 

4 ways to ace text message customer service

That’s the word on why texting is a good idea to reach millennials but is texting really appropriate for business? It can be.

Here are a few tips for keeping your communications both friendly and effective.

Keep it short

You’ve likely heard that brevity is the soul of wit. Well, it’s also the soul of great customer service. Be polite, but don’t bury the information your customer needs to know. 

When your contacts agree to let you text them, it’s a sign of trust. They may be frustrated, especially where millennials are concerned, if you take too long to get to the point.

Be prompt

On that note, be sure you don’t take too long to reply to messages. That doesn’t mean you have to know all the answers to customers’ questions instantly, but even a “Hi! We’ve received your message and will get back to you shortly” is better than no reply at all.

People are used to sending and receiving text messages quickly, and they won’t appreciate having to wait.

💡 Pro tip: This is where a good away message comes into play. It will ensure that every message gets a reply, even when you aren’t there to send one in person.

Bring in your team

Texting is not a one-person sport, especially in cases like the ones we’ve just mentioned. You can’t be everywhere at once, so be sure to pick a texting service that allows you to add your team members to your account.

With SimpleTexting, you can individually assign phone numbers and conversations to your team members, so no one person has to handle every interaction.

Be personable

Lastly, no one wants to feel like they’re talking to a robot. Customer service is best when it’s personal, so be sure to greet your customers and try to use their names or personal details when you talk to them.

This can be a game-changer for your brand’s reputation. Even bad news goes down a little easier when your customers feel like you know and care about them as individuals. Plus, as digital natives, millennials can smell a chatbot from a mile away.

The wrap on reaching millennials 

If you haven’t yet adopted texting (or haven’t doubled down on it yet), there’s no time like the present. 

The fact is, millennials are adults now, and given that there are more than 70 million of them in the United States, there’s a very good chance they make up a big percentage of your customers. 

Phone calls may be out, but that doesn’t mean communicating with millennials has to be difficult. We’ll prove it. Try out SimpleTexting for 14 days, totally free.

Lily Norton
Lily Norton

Lily is a content marketing specialist at SimpleTexting. She specializes in making helpful, entertaining video content and writing blogs that help businesses take advantage of all that texting has to offer. When she’s not writing or making TikToks, you can find Lily at roller derby practice or in a yoga studio in the Seattle area.

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