It’s Friday night and Sarah Chiariello, a biomedical engineering master’s student at Tulane University, jokes with her roommates about whose turn it is to order carry-out. The Gen Zers don’t like to talk on the phone and prefer interacting with businesses who have advanced call center technologies.
“We won’t pick up the phone to call because I almost feel silly when I call someone who isn’t family,” Sarah explains. “We take turns and play eeny, meeny, miny, moe when it comes to calling.”
It’s no surprise since Sarah and her friends, all digital natives born after 1998, don’t know a world without advanced call center technologies and the ability to quickly get what they need digitally. The students fall into the Generation Z category, the youngest of the five generations that makes up today’s workforce.
- Traditionalists, born between 1930–1945
- Baby Boomers, born between 1946–1964
- Generation X, born between 1965–1980
- Millennials, born between 1981–1997
- Generation Z, born after 1997
So, what can we learn from Gen Z and why does it matter?
Speed and Adaptability
Gen Z can barely remember a world pre smartphone and are thus more likely to quickly adapt to digital changes, especially when faced with a major disruptor like COVID-19, compared to their older counterparts. The pandemic has forced everyone to go completely digital but for those in school the difference is even more stark. Sarah’s final biomedical exam during 2020, her senior year at the private research university based out of New Orleans, Louisiana, did not entail large lecture halls, check ins and professors monitoring for wandering eyes. She simply sat at her bedroom desk, put her knowledge to paper, scanned her exam using Genius Scan, a free scanning app, and emailed it as a PDF before the 3:30 pm submission deadline.
Gen Z expects a rapid response because it’s what is expected of them and businesses are catching on. They are investing in digital channels to appease multiple generations of customers with rapid responses and are investing more to keep up with the changes.
“We are so used to finding the answer right then and there, that when I don’t, I get annoyed and will go to another business,” Sarah says.
According to the 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience Benchmark, the top three global investments for businesses who support customers via contact centers include:
- 52% improving website experience
- 42% continuing customer experience measurement programs
- 38% upgrading technology to communicate with customers
One of the biggest complaints comes from customers who are forced to channel hop or re-enter their information. That’s why nearly 50% of customers say they will stop doing business with a brand that frustrates them. Meanwhile only 32% of those customers will contact the company to complain before taking their business elsewhere, according to NICE inContact’s Power of Emotions ebook, which outlines how emotions impact customer purchasing decisions.
Organizations looking for opportunity need advanced call center technologies to connect with Gen Z because they have a spending power of $143 billion and make up 40% of the world’s consumers, Business Insider reports. Advanced call center technologies will also help businesses get back to customers quickly which increases customer satisfaction and the likelihood they will recommend the business to their friends or in reviews.
“I am big on reviews and will always look up reviews so I can see for myself first-hand accounts,” Sarah says.
It pays, literally, to have emotionally connected customers because those customers will spend more. Not only that, but they’ll also be more loyal, and spread the word about the business, providing positive word-of-mouth marketing.
Back in New Orleans Sarah stays in contact via text with Gianna Chiariello, her younger cousin, and a senior at Kellenberg Memorial High School in New York, who is beginning to flex her spending power while deciding which university she plans to invest in. Of the 15 schools she plans to apply to, Gianna has visited 7 of them virtually via online campus tours.
“The campus tour experience really makes a difference based on the technology,” Gianna says. “Some of the admissions had trouble with audio or connections but you had a chance to scan the environment.”
Gianna says that Youtube and her own research has helped her get a feel for different campuses during the decision process since attending the campuses in person is an unlikely venture given the pandemic. When asked how she prefers to communicate with organizations and businesses, she says she uses texting most and will call when necessary. She recounts recently calling the DMV prior to going there due to COVID-19. The automated response gave her the option of an automatic callback or a 45-minute wait. She says she opted for the automatic callback and was pleased with the experience.
“Our phones are attached to our hips and we don’t go anywhere without them so when someone doesn’t instantly respond, it’s like why? The technology is there.” Gianna says.
Authenticity and compassion
Gen Z is arguable the most globally and community conscious generations out there. They want to connect with brands who stands for their values and beliefs. Gianna regularly receives emails and purchases bracelets from Pura Vida, an online company that also gives back to charities, partially because she likes what they stand for. She says that companies who preach great customer service and values that entail making the consumers life easier, should stick by those principles by investing in the cloud and advanced call center technologies that will actually make communications pleasant.
Our research shows that great service can build brand loyalty among 81% of customers and turn 87% of them into advocates.
To get in front of the next generation of mass buying power, businesses need to adapt to a communication style that works for their customers with advanced call center technologie. This means that speaking to an actual agent will only take place when faced with complex problems because Gen Z wants to figure out how to do it on their own. Organizations who make communication easy for Gen Z, will reap the rewards in brand advocacy and increased revenue. Adapt to the channels where they live and want to find information. To learn more check out our Innovator’s Guide to a Digital First Contact Center.