With the rapid development of technology and the emergence of newer generations, customer experience (CX) is evolving at an unprecedented rate. Next generation CX is now being driven by Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012. Gen Z is the first generation that grew up in the digital era, significantly influencing how they interact with brands and engage with services.
In this article, we’ll explore how Generation Z is transforming the CX landscape, discuss the critical challenges for brands, and offer strategies to ensure CX success for this demographic. Through this, we will provide insight into how brands can effectively engage with Generation Z to create a compelling and memorable customer experience.
What is Generation CX?
Generation CX is a term used to describe the current customers who have grown up in a digital world and have higher expectations from the companies they interact with. These need not necessarily be people from Gen Z but can also constitute boomers, millennials, and Gen X, inclined to do most things digitally.
This tech-savvy generation expects an experience tailored to their specific needs, and they are used to having access to up-to-date information and real-time interactions. They demand timely responses and a seamless customer experience across all digital channels. It is also likely that Generation CX will continue to evolve and be more demanding as they gain access to more technology.
Companies must be prepared to meet the needs of this new customer segment, or risk losing them to the competition. To avoid the latter, you must be well informed about the different generations in the digital age and how to target them correctly.
Different Generations in the Digital Age
As we enter the digital age, different generations are exposed to other technologies and digital trends. Younger generations are the most exposed to technology, thanks to the ubiquity of digital devices, social media, and the internet.
Millennials, Gen Xers, and even older generations adapt differently to digital developments. Millennials generally have a better grasp of technology than their elders. At the same time, Gen Zers have grown up in the age of digital media and are accustomed to interacting with digital devices.
Understanding different generations’ digital habits is essential for marketers to create compelling customer experiences. As digital natives, Gen Zers have different expectations when it comes to customer interaction than older generations. For example, Gen Zers expect instant responses and quick resolution of their problems.
By understanding the different generations’ preferences and behaviors, marketers can create customer experiences tailored to meet each generation’s needs.
Gen-Z Is Impacting Customer Experience: Forrester, Gartner, Experience Dynamic Execs Share Insights
Generation Z is the latest generation to enter the modern workplace, and they are having a tremendous impact on customer experience (CX). Gen-Zers are driving new expectations for customer interactions and experiences as the most digitally-connected generation.
Experts from Forrester, Gartner, and Experience Dynamics have all considered how Gen- Zers influence CX. Here are the findings as per a Forbes article:
- Forrester found that Gen-Z values convenience and expediency in their customer experiences. Forrester’s Vice President and Principal Analyst, Dipanjan Chatterjee noted that most people, including Gen Z, have left the pandemic behind with a heightened appreciation for hybrid, digital, and physical experiences. Brands need to focus on revamping their CX accordingly.
- Gartner noted that Gen-Zers are more likely to be drawn to brands that are respectful and understanding of their needs. According to Leah Leachman, Director of Analytics for marketers at Gartner, brands must focus on critical contexts like customer research and data to avoid risking over-generalizations. A Gartner analysis on Gen Z found that they are more likely to turn to third-party resources or channels like TikTok or YouTube for a solution rather than reaching out to a brand’s direct website.
- Experience Dynamics highlighted the need for businesses to provide personalized, engaging experiences that meet the demands of Gen-Zers. According to a study by Experience Dynamics, Gen Z is less satisfied with current customer experiences, with satisfaction of only 50% compared to 71-72% for previous generations.
These insights demonstrate that Generation CX, especially Gen-Z, are pushing businesses to rethink their CX strategies and develop new approaches to meet the needs of this digitally-savvy generation. By incorporating Gen-Zers’ expectations into their CX strategies, companies can create experiences that meet today’s customers’ demands while building strong relationships.
Four Ways Younger Shoppers Will (and Won’t) Change Retail
The younger generations are enacting massive changes in the customer experience (CX) landscape, and retail is no exception. Retailers must strive to understand the wants and needs of this powerful group of consumers to stay competitive.
Here are four things that could happen in retail:
- Younger shoppers are valuing convenience more than ever. They are drawn to retailers who offer streamlined online shopping experiences, delivery options, and mobile payment options.
This generation is also more likely to embrace online options for product reviews, product comparisons, and customer support. However, it’s important to note that physical stores will still be crucial. So, besides paying attention to digital delivery and experience, retail stores must equally focus on improving the in-store experience.
- The young shopping generation is also more likely to look for sustainability in their purchase decisions, like being concerned with companies’ environmental footprint and considering ethical practices when choosing a company to purchase from. Tech-led smart and sustainable innovations are the key.
- The digitally savvy younger shoppers also want to feel connected to the brands they buy from. They seek a sense of personalization, engagement, and authenticity from their retailers. They also want to be able to access information quickly and easily.
This makes a digital-first consultation and customer service support crucial. While the physical stores are here to say, the younger generation relies more on digital browsing than in-person browsing to arrive at a decision. The Internet is their best consultant.
- Finally, these younger shoppers will not be drawn to brands that are too generic or lack personality. They are looking for retailers that have unique products and stories to tell.
Understanding these four crucial points is essential for retailers as it will help them craft their customer experience better. It will also help them build their entire business with the foundation of what the younger shopping generation needs.
3 Things Brands Need to Know About Gen Z’s CX Expectations
As brands look to understand what the younger generations expect from their customer experience, they need to be aware of the following three key points when catering to Gen Z customers:
Gen Z customers are digital natives who expect their shopping journey to be primarily online. Brands must ensure that their digital presence is strong, interactive, and user-friendly. This means having an up-to-date website and social media channels that are both optimized for mobile.
Also, the younger or digital-savvy generation is all about quick resolutions and quick payments or checkouts. This makes QR codes important in your physical stores too. Focus on a swift and smooth experience both in-store and in your e-store.
Authenticity and Transparency
Gen Z customers value transparency and authenticity from the brands they shop from. They expect brands to be open and honest in their communications and socially conscious. Brands should strive to build relationships of trust with their customers.
Be transparent about all your return and exchange policies and other important information. Building trust is crucial with the younger generation because there’s more competition now, and your customer has plenty of alternatives. It’s harder to keep a customer loyal than lose them, but you can deliver what they want by doing the right thing.
Gen Z customers want to be seen as individuals and expect brands to tailor their offerings accordingly. They value experiences that are personalized according to their interests and needs. Brands should invest in personalized marketing strategies and use data-driven insights to deliver more tailored customer experiences.
Much data is accessible to businesses with websites and social media channels. With all that rich information, it’s easier to understand your customer’s behavior, purchasing power, and buying cycle. Use that to build relevant solutions and customer experience strategies that work best for your customers.
With the rise of social media, mobile technology, and digital connectivity, Gen Z is demanding more personalized experiences that are faster and tailored to their unique needs.
By looking at and understanding this younger generation’s preferences, habits, and behaviors, companies can better create and deliver customer experiences that will leave them feeling valued and satisfied.
You’re already winning if your main focus is how the customer thinks, feels, and speaks about your business.