THE BLOG
12/31/2014 11:50 am ET Updated Mar 02, 2015

Hey Big Company, Treat Me Like a Human.

Eighty four percent of millennials say that user generated content on a brand's website has some influence on what they buy. What this means is that millennials want to be heard and they want to feel listened to. They do not want a brand to tell them what they know, because in reality the brand probably knows less than them. They want to be a part of the conversation helping to drive where the brand is going and since they have about 900 billion dollars in purchasing power, they actually do and will drive where the brand is going.

What's even worse is than not being heard is when a business owner (such as myself for example), as a millennial has to work with major corporations that have an old school model of "customer dis-service" as a business owner. Just because you are an entrepreneur doesn't mean you can only deal with entrepreneurial minded people.

In retrospect, most companies you are dealing with as an entrepreneur are major brands and corporations that could easily stomp on you with their big billionaire dollar foot. That being said, there are those rare occurrences that remind you that you can be treated like a human if you keep reminding them that they indeed were humans as well before they bought into the "American Dream" of having robots answering calls and telling you that there is no such thing as an exception.

When it comes to being heard, sometimes you have to keep speaking up. You can use your voice for good or evil, but I think that for good is the way to go. Here are some examples I have found with companies that have actually listened when I used my voice. Important to note that none of these companies have paid me to write this, (or it would actually defeat the purpose of this entire article, but I felt inclined to share my opinions).

American Express. They convince you that they are really out to help small businesses, but in the beginning it's super hard. You have a lot of proving to do as a small company that requires you to earn enough credit and then pay the credit off, and as a charge card, you have to do that on a monthly basis. It took about 12 calls the first two months with Amex to convince them to give us a higher rate up front and then work with us as a small business as we grew. I reminded them over the phone on recording numerous times that they as a multi billion dollar company advertises that they help small businesses, and that is why we we are working with them. I didn't threaten them, I didn't get angry and start screaming at them, I was civil and considerate of the person I was speaking to but also demanded respect as a small business, and it worked. I made sure to make notice that I was a small business numerous times and made a few exceptions with some early payments, but in the end they made an exception for us as a small business.

American Airlines. I'm impressed with what they are doing for small business entrepreneurs. They have a small business program where they give you extra points for your entire company which is cool, but what's even cooler, (and actually what I think is what makes them unique), taking a page from @Gary Vaynerchuk's handbook is they care about you on twitter. They actually reply to you, comment on your posts and make sure you are taken care of in a way that is efficient and on point. They DM you when you have a problem and solve it right then and there. There is no place you can be heard, like tweeting those 140 characters.

Zappos. I mean maybe I am not the exact person to speak of my loyalty to Zappos, so this may be fairly biased, but I believe they are the "godfather" of customer service. They literally will talk to you for hours on the phone, ask you questions about yourself as a person, and care about your product arriving at your house! Imagine that? A company that cares about you without you having to make a big stink about it? Zappos has gotten where it is primarily because of its customer service, and I hope that more companies can learn about how important this is.

Soul Cycle. Yes it's hard to afford, their classes are pricy, but you feel included in everything the brand is creating. Instagram about them? They will like your photo, comment about something on twitter, they will reply with a cheeky response! A lot of people complain that they are tight on their cancellation policies, but if you respect them and call if you are running late, and reschedule in a normal fashion, they will respect you. It's a mutual kind of relationship, but shouldn't that be with everything and everyone you encounter anyway?

All in all, companies just have to treat you like a human. It's not about making an exception every time, but at least act like you hear us. Act like you care, respond to our requests, and just do something other than say, "i'm sorry mam, there is nothing I can do." The worse thing to do with a frustrated person is make them feel unheard, and when you get a bunch of frustrated millennials, (38.5 million of them), trust me, you will be wishing that you just treated them like a human in the first place because they will not stay silent.