Gen X vs Millennials: how long are you willing to wait for rewards?

In Loyalty & CRM by Oliver Arscott

customer loyalty, millenials, 1990s, rewards 

My name's Oliver and I'm a Millennial. According to Wikipedia I was born four months before Margret Thatcher left office, seven months after the Berlin Wall collapsed and just eight days before West Germany completed their swansong by storming to victory over Argentina in the final of the 14th FIFA World Cup (first person to guess my birthday wins!). All of this passed me by of course, I'm sure I had more important things on my mind.

So what? Well I share a flat with someone who was born in 1984. He remembers the 14th FIFA World Cup. He was aware of Margret Thatcher while she was still in office. He vaguely knew the significance of the images he saw on TV when David Hasselhoff and supporting cast tore the wall down.

And he has a completely different view of technology, of society, of business. He grew up, as Sting famously warbled, surrounded with the fear of ‘Oppenheimer's deadly toy', whereas the biggest pervasive fear when I was a baby was something to do with MC Hammer. Probably.

Abundance in choice, withdrawal of the threat of mutual destruction, with the 90s came a sea-change in what mattered to people, with the call of consumerism stronger and more widespread even than the hedonistic heights of the 80s. It is little wonder therefore that the young people who grew up in that world have a different perspective now on what is important.

We genuinely care about service, and will shout about it if we don't get it. We expect to be rewarded for our loyalty, but not just with eventual rewards. We want a personalised experience, we want the brands to try to understand us and shape their offering based on this knowledge. Above all, we want to deal with businesses with a human face.

Ultimately it's not about being offered a £5 off my next shop. The internet has made it incredibly easy to shop on price alone, if I so chose. What I (as self-appointed spokesman for Millennials) want is for businesses to recognise and reward me in real time. I believe that my generation will remain loyal to businesses as our parents did, but equally businesses are going to have to work harder to keep our love.

To learn more about Generation Y and the pursuit of loyalty, check out this report of a discussion at last years Loyalty World