Millennials are even grumpier than boomers when it comes to customer service

Millennials complain even more than boomers.
Millennials complain even more than boomers.
Image: Reuters/Eric Thayer
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There have been endless complaints made about millennials. They’re lazy. They’re entitled. They need constant positive reinforcement. They have no respect for their elders. But, as it turns out, they’re really good at complaining, too. In fact, millennials are even bigger complainers than baby boomers–the US’s “me” generation—according to a new study.

Research by McGraw Hill Financial’s J.D. Power and Associates, found that the cohort, defined here as those born between 1982 and 1994, lodged more customer complaints last year about wireless and utility services than their counterparts born from 1946 to 1964. They also reported having more problems overall in many of the industries the firm tracked, even if they didn’t contact customer service about them.

J.D. Power, which measures customer satisfaction in the US, analyzed data on more than 120,000 millennials and 240,000 boomers in the US, collected through 20 different studies conducted in 2015. The millennials who responded to questions about wireless and utility services reported having more problems with those services than boomers polled. The younger generation also said they contacted customer service about those issues more often than boomers, in the three months prior to participating in the rolling survey.

The findings were pro-rated to adjust for usage, meaning millennials didn’t just have more service problems because they used technology more frequently.

The generation simply expects products and services to work correctly, and they have little tolerance when things go wrong, the researchers found.

“Millennials have higher expectations that the products and services they purchase will work without problems,” Jay Meyers, head of J.D. Power’s analytical center, told Quartz. “Not only are they more surprised when a problem occurs, they are also more cost conscious than older consumers, so they are much more likely to report a problem with the expectation that it will be fixed and taken care of.”

The millennials surveyed about banking and travel also said they experienced more issues than boomers with those industries.

While millennials are generally more sensitive to product and service problems than boomers, they’re also more satisfied overall with the industries that boomers tend to gripe about, like utilities, telecommunications, and health insurance. These are categories that typically cost millennials less than boomers, so they’re more lenient when they judge them. In areas like auto insurance, where being young often means paying heftier rates, they’re unsurprisingly less satisfied.