18th May 2012
Under-18s will test resources to the max as multi-channel contact goes into overdrive.
Frequent multi-channel exchanges with youthful consumers sounds like a marketer’s dream but our research identified dangers for businesses who overlook radical changes in how under-18s communicate and who fail to prepare for an explosion in contact volumes.
Our research showed that while 18-24 year olds are consummate digital communicators, their younger siblings (dubbed the ‘Regeneration’) are the most frequent and prolific communicators of any age group across every channel.
Contact via mobile internet-enabled devices is rising fastest and the brisk pace is set
Teenagers are sophisticated in their choice of communication channel; with many opting to communicate first by mobile internet which saves their phone credit and allows them to reach more people simultaneously - under 18s juggle multiple conversations with ease.
We found a direct correlation between age group and frequent use of social networking sites and instant messenger. Under-18s emerged as by far the heaviest users of both, outstripping even18-24 year olds by a large margin. As they mature and play a larger part in the economy, we expect the ‘Regeneration’ to trigger a rapid proliferation in communication on all fronts.
This demographic of ultra-keen and technically skilled communicators excites businesses keen to build positive relationships with them. However, our research presents two uncomfortable truths that businesses may not be equipped to deal with.
Firstly, the sheer volume of communication which we anticipate under-18s will generate, will strain resources across an organisation from marketing to customer service teams who will face a deluge of inbound contact. Secondly, there is no evidence to suggest that an explosion in contact volume will be accompanied by wholesale migration to digital channels from traditional ones, which means resources will be spread thinly as all channels will continue to require support.
Many businesses expect that under-18s will overwhelmingly prefer to communicate with them via digital channels. However, we found that email remains the preferred form of communicating with businesses whether consumers are under-18 or over-25, phone calls also rank highly regardless of age.
Currently, 18 to 24 year olds communicate more frequently with organisations than any other age group, and far from being restricted to, or dominated by social media channels, they make frequent use of every contact channel. Overall, their total volume of contact is 7% higher, with email and phone calls used most often, although they also use Facebook, online chat, Twitter and video chat more frequently than other age groups.
Hard on their heels is a younger generation which we already know to be more prolific communicators across every medium. Factor in the fact that this age group is only beginning to make its presence felt in the commercial world in a small way and the scale of the looming communication explosion becomes apparent.