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Nuance Releases New Data: Generation Gap Narrowing When it Comes to Customer Service Expectations

New Research Shows No “Secret Formula” for Serving Millennials; Consumer Expectations Higher Than Ever Before, Across All Generations

BURLINGTON, Mass., – May 13, 2015 – Recently, companies have placed heavy emphasis on customizing their customer service strategies to the wants and needs of the Millennial generation, those born between 1981 and 1996. This age group has been regarded for being “always-on” and for having higher expectations and demands for intuitive, seamless customer experiences. Their tolerance for bad customer service is limited, and they aren’t shy about voicing their displeasure when they do have a bad experience. However, according to new data released by Nuance Communications, Inc., the gap that once existed between generations is shrinking when it comes to expectations for customer service, and these higher expectations and demands are now common across all generations.

In a recent survey of 1,000 American consumers, conducted by Wakefield Research, Nuance reveals current perceptions and frustrations with customer service across all generations. Findings from the study reveal that while there has been a clear divide in the past across Millennial, Generation X and Baby Boomer generations, higher expectations and preferences when it comes to customer service are now common across all age groups. The findings indicate that companies that are catering only to the Millennial generation are missing the bigger customer care picture.

Key Findings from the research show:

  • Nearly nine out of ten (87%) consumers report that a company’s customer service has a significant impact on their decision to do business with them.
  • With higher expectations come more dire consequences of negative experiences. Two-thirds of consumers say they have cancelled a service or ended a relationship with a company because of a bad customer service experience.
  • American consumers are also increasingly turning to self-service to meet their needs. In fact, nearly nine in ten consumers say that they have used an automated self-service system to complete a transaction with a company they do business with, such as paying a bill or scheduling an appointment.
  • Fifty-nine percent of consumers also agree that automated self-service options have improved customer service.
  • Where each generation of consumers had a distinct top pet peeve for customer service last year, the top complaint has now converged across all age groups. Today, not being able to get through the system to a real person is the top pet peeve for Millennials (32%), Gen X (30%) and Baby Boomers (47%).
  • Looking ahead, customers are seeking more human-like, self-service interactions. For instance, 73% of consumers agree that interacting with an automated phone system that they could converse with and be understood as if it were a live agent would significantly improve the experience.
  • Customers also welcome and want messages from companies they interact with, with 87% surveyed saying they are interested in receiving proactive messages.

“While the wants and needs of Millennials should still be an important piece of an organization’s customer service strategy, it cannot be the entire strategy,” said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager, Enterprise Division, Nuance. “As technology has continued to weave its way into all facets of consumers’ lives, expectations have in turn grown when it comes to quick, easy, efficient, and always-on service. In order to provide the kind of service that consumers expect, businesses need to offer more compelling and natural self-service experiences across channels.”

Nuance enables companies to engage with consumers in a way that’s personalized and conversational by leveraging decades of experience in speech, natural language understanding and artificial intelligence. Nuance’s customer service solutions create a more human, connected conversation through multichannel experiences that integrate proactive engagement, voice biometrics, conversational IVR, and mobile and Web virtual assistants. To learn more about how Nuance is reinventing the customer experience, go here.

For media: To speak with an executive from Nuance further about this research, please contact Lora Wilson at 949-608-0276 or Erica Hill at 781-888-5518.

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research, an independent market research firm, on behalf of Nuance, from March 11-20, 2015. The survey includes 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults aged 18 or more years old and was fielded using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About Nuance Communications, Inc

Nuance Communications, Inc. is a leading provider of voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with devices and systems. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance’s proven applications. For more information, please visit

Nuance and the Nuance logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Nuance Communications, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States of America and/or other countries. All other company names or product names may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Nuance Communications Contact:

Erica Hill

Global Results Communications Contact:
Lora Wilson

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