Millennials Have Higher Expectations for CX than Older Generations

Modern Marketing


The younger the consumer, the higher their expectations for the companies they engage with.

That’s the overall takeaway from Adobe’s 2019 “CXM Index” report, based on a survey of 1,500 U.S. adults regarding preferences and expectations for digital experiences in the retail, travel and hospitality, media and entertainment, and financial services industries.

“Younger consumers have higher expectations for innovation,” said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights. “The 18- to 34-year-old cohort, specifically, has grown up with digital and mobile, and they not only value innovation in customer experiences that address their needs, they demand it.”

Retail CX Insights

Consumers of all ages have come to expect certain types of communications from brands when they transact online. For example, more than half of online shoppers across age groups said they expect to receive an emailed receipt following a purchase. More than 40% expect to receive a text message when an order has shipped. However, brands might want to think twice before sending text messages that ask for feedback about a purchase; one in four consumers said they don’t want them.
Consumers do want to move fluidly between multiple channels of communication with retailers. One in three consumers surveyed expressed frustration with having to re-input their information when engaging with that retailer on a second platform (e.g., website to app or smart speaker to phone).

Additionally, younger consumers were more likely than their older counterparts to have had a bad experience with an online retailer. They were 173% more likely to have received a faulty product and 68% more likely to have to re-input information when re-engaging with a retailer on a second platform. Those 35 years or older, on the other hand, were more likely (40%) to abandon their cart as a result of a bad experience.

“The checkout is one of the most crucial aspects of the commerce experience,” Schreiner said. “Retailers need to ensure that they have implemented, and are optimizing, for a seamless and easy checkout process because it is the ultimate bellwether for sales and customer satisfaction.”

Travel and Hospitality

Consumers across the board said they have high expectations for their travel experiences both online and off. For example, four in 10 said they expected to receive a text message from an airline if their flights were delayed.
The report also found a travel brand’s mobile app is a key customer touch point—one that can either make or break the travel experience. Many respondents said they were impressed with the ability to check into their hotels via a mobile app instead of visiting the front desk. They also appreciated entering their hotel room to find it is set up for them based on the preferences indicated in the mobile app, such as their alarm clock already being set, or the temperature set to their preferred setting.

“When it comes to their travel experiences, consumers want to be surprised and delighted,” Schreiner told “Anything that can save them time and effort, and make their stay more pleasant, is going to be key, as are personalized and customizable services that enhance the travel experience.”

According to the report, people found that the following services help create noteworthy travel experiences: the automatic rescheduling/rebooking of a delayed flight; a travel booking site using a person’s travel history to send alerts about the lowest prices for a flight, hotel, or car rental; and an immediate response from a hotel when contacted via social media.

On the flip side, undisclosed trip cancellation policies that were not highlighted during the purchase process was the most negatively ranked experience across all industries.

Financial Services

Three in four consumers were satisfied with the experience they received when accessing financial information on a website (75%) or mobile app (76%). Sixty-eight percent were satisfied with customer service via chat or phone, which was higher than in any other category. Where financial services could use improvement is anticipating consumer’s needs on both websites and in mobile apps: Only half of respondents said they were satisfied with how much travel apps and websites anticipated their needs.
In fact, one of the experiences that was rated the lowest across categories was: “When I log into my bank’s website, I am taken to my most visited page right after I log in.”

Media and Entertainment

In the past two years, younger consumers were more likely to note improvements in their overall media and entertainment (M&E) experiences on websites, mobile sites, mobile apps, and smart speakers. Mobile apps have seen the largest improvement among the 18- to 34-year-old cohort.

The top most delightful entertainment experiences were all location-based. Visiting a museum and using a mobile augmented reality app to get more information on an artifact was ranked No. 1.

Ranked No. 2 was being able to order food at a stadium from a mobile phone and having the order delivered directly to the user’s seat. The third most delightful experience was using a wearable device at a theme park to gain access to shows, attractions, and more.

The most negative experience: paying to rent a movie online, and then not being able to watch it because of an unexpectedly slow internet connection.

How People React to Poor Customer Experience

The study shows that nine in 10 people ages 18 to 34 said they will take an action after having a bad online customer experience, such as telling friends, stopping purchases from the company, and posting reviews on a review site or social media. People over the age of 35 were only slightly less likely to take action (eight in 10) but are more likely to complain directly to the company after a bad experience.

Among those who posted on social media about their experience, two in three heard back from the company.

“Being responsive to customers is fundamental to meeting their customer experience expectations,” Schreiner said. “Responsiveness could easily remedy a person’s frustration, whereas the feeling that you are not being heard could add to that annoyance.”

This post originally appeared on March 26, 2019.