What technologies are behind Zendesk

How Gen Z's demands are changing the future of customer service

  1. Customer references
  2. Rethinking customer service strategy for Gen Z

Published October 29, 2020
Last updated: January 13, 2021

Guest contribution by Christian Blomberg, Chief Customer Officer, Solvemate

It's time to rethink your customer service strategy: a new generation is on the rise that thinks and feels differently. This has a direct impact on how their customer needs are to be met. While the focus has been on millennials for the past decade, a move to Gen Z must now be made to keep up.

In 2019, Generation Z became the largest generation in terms of numbers with an impressive 32%. Born between the late 1990s and 2012, the first of their cohort are now of legal age and are starting to enter the labor market. Given their purchasing power, many companies see the need to personalize their customer service more to give them the service experience they demand.

Understand the change

Today's instant economy shapes the mentality of this generation - and vice versa. Generation Z is difficult to please, has high expectations but little patience. The fact that they are constantly connected via various social media and messenger apps leads them to believe that everything else around them should also be "always on" and available at all times.

81% of Millennials and Gen Zers say they have left a brand because of a poor customer service experience.

They demand "on demand" experiences that have to meet their high standards. In addition, due to their technical expertise, they place a strong focus on sophisticated user design and first-class user experience. This applies not only to the brand itself, but also to their customer service. A whopping 81% of Millennials and Gen Zers say they have left a brand because of a poor customer service experience. Generation Z changes brands even more often without hesitation if they don't meet their expectations. Still wondering why you should address the needs of this generation right away?

Gen Z wants their claims to be met, and they want it now. But they are also ready to take it into their own hands. Like millennials, this cohort belongs to the DIY generation: 71% want to solve their problems themselves. They may be impatient, but they are also very energetic and expect to be empowered to act on their own.

Speaking of energetic: Not only do you buy everything online from electronic devices to household goods for yourself, but you also influence the shopping behavior of your families. It starts with online product research and leads to the purchase decision, in which you are significantly involved. They shape a new way of shopping and are the driving force behind it.

'Mobile first' has been a mantra in modern society for some time. Smartphones will continue to "remain the control center of our digitized everyday life", according to the futurist Nicklas Bergman. But it will go beyond the screens of these devices with more wearables and voice and gesture control capabilities. A seamlessly connected way of life will become increasingly important and will affect the future of Gen Z-driven customer service.

The right support for Generation Z

One thing is certain: Gen Zers will not begin their customer journey by being stuck on hold to be connected to the next available support agent by phone. Generation Z is looking for simple and intuitive solutions that they can expect to find online. The best way to address them is the same way they already communicate.Convenient and easy communication is the key to Gen Z: Preferably enabled by new technologies like voice and available through their favorite social media and messaging platforms so they can get instant answers. For them, comfort often also means that they preferably do not want to interact with other people; they trust self-service channels like chatbots more than other, older generations.

Convenient and easy communication is the key to Gen Z: preferably enabled by new technologies such as voice and available through their favorite social media and messaging platforms so that they can get instant answers.

Omnichannel is already being implemented in their customer service strategy by many companies, but this approach tends to be flawed if not used properly. Often the two most important things that Generation Z demands and omnichannel promises, but often does not keep, were missing: quick, immediate responses and Self service first of all. If all these different channels are offered equally and not prioritized, this can quickly lead to a confusing flood of customer inquiries across all contact channels, which is difficult to manage. This leads to frustration on both sides.

There's a better way to handle all of your support channels: instead of approaching omnichannel with a "the more, the better" mindset to keep up with the rise of new platforms, we think the different channels should be prioritized and funneled be built to actively guide customers to solve their problem. The first level should always be self-service, supported by the right automation tools in order to offer a seamless service experience.

The various social channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook and InstagramMessenger, Line, Twitter DM and Co. can easily be channeled within a single customer service platform in order to combine all incoming and outgoing messages. The integration of a chatbot creates a powerful omnichannel support system. Gen-Z customers can choose their preferred communication channel, receive immediate service and are seamlessly handed over to an agent if necessary, all in one user interface. Intuitive, convenient and simple - without disturbance or frustration.

According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2020, interacting with customer service through their preferred contact method is the most important aspect of a personalized service experience for Gen Zers. Creating the right infrastructure for a digitally networked customer service ecosystem will become even more important in the future. Act now to avoid a performance gap in customer service. The development of new communication channels in customer service, such as voice technology and constantly emerging social channels, is the key to responding to the requirements of Gen Z and retaining them in the long term.

Would you like to find out more about how agile companies adapt to new challenges? Take part in our webinars in DACH or see them on demand!

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