Gen Z and customer service: Five ways Zoomers are transforming the industry

Generation Z has a lot of disposable income. Their economic influence is rapidly transforming the customer service industry as businesses pivot to meet their expectations. 

But who exactly is Gen Z? And why do they play a key role in the success of your company? Below, we go over why Gen Z matters for your business and how they’re transforming customer service. 

Who is Generation Z?

Generally, Generation Z is defined as people born between 1997 and 2012. They’re the second youngest generation (with Generation Alpha being the first). 

Generation Z is often called “zoomers” or “iGen.” This is because, unlike previous generations, they can’t remember a time before cell phones or the internet. The oldest Gen Zers are 26, meaning they’re already working professionals. Some are even serving in Congress

In general, Gen Z is very entrepreneurial, and with new technology, starting new businesses has been easier than ever for this generation. Research by Stanford University also found that Gen Z is highly collaborative, empathetic and digitally savvy. They are also conscientious and especially passionate about diversity and climate change. 

Are zoomers the same as millennials?

It’s important to note that Gen Z and millennials are two different demographics. Millennials are defined as those born between 1981 and 1996. Different experiences have shaped each generation’s behaviors and expectations. 

For example, millennials were sandwiched between two major recessions, so they tend to make lower wages than their parents (baby boomers). They tend to be frugal buyers and opt for private labels.

Unlike millennials, Gen Z grew up in the on-demand economy. Instant streaming, grocery delivery, and Uber were ordinary childhood experiences. This, in turn, has shaped their expectations as consumers. Almost a third of zoomers want their groceries delivered within the hour, compared to only 12% of millennials. 

iGen is also more likely to shop online than millennials, especially on social media. They also tend to demand more personalized customer service experiences than previous generations. Understanding different customers’ expectations is crucial in developing a successful customer service strategy. 

Why should companies adapt their customer service strategy to Gen Z?

Zoomers have more than $360 billion in spending power. This means they’re not a population that businesses can ignore. 

However, companies so far aren’t meeting iGen’s expectations. Only 50% of Gen Zers are satisfied with current customer service experiences. Businesses need to find ways to close that gap. Especially when you consider that 96% of customers will leave after just one bad customer service experience.

How Gen Z is changing customer service

Growing up in an era of smart devices and everything on demand has shaped Gen Zers’ expectations. This has led to rapid transformations across industries, and customer service is no exception. Below, we go over five ways Gen Z’s expectations are changing customer service. 

Gen Z prefers to be more social with brands

Zoomers use different channels for communicating with companies than previous generations. Many prefer communicating with brands via social media.

Social media is a must for companies looking to improve the customer experience for Gen Z. A survey by HubSpot found that 90% expect brands to be active on social media. Additionally, 13% of zoomers say social media is their preferred channel for customer support.

In short, if your business is looking to create a customer service strategy that engages this key demographic, set up social media profiles and keep them active. 

Implementing chatbots has become a vital part of customer service

While chatbots may get a bad rap with older generations, that’s not the case for these digital natives. Nearly a third of Gen Zers prefer using a chatbot to contact customer support. This is a stark contrast to the 4% of baby boomers who are willing to use chatbots for customer support. 

That means that if your company is trying to retain Gen Z customers, effective chatbot solutions are a critical part of your customer service strategy. Chatbots can help Gen Zers get instant access to the information they seek and empower them to resolve tech support issues independently. 

Customers need alternatives to calling your contact center

This tech-savvy generation grew up in an era of texting and social media messaging. Studies show Gen Zers don’t want to get on the phone, especially to interact with tech support. In fact, only 17% of Gen Z want to speak on the phone with customer service. 

This is why it’s critical to equip your contact center with an omnichannel tech support solution so you can connect with customers on their preferred channels. So what channels does this generation use to get the service they need? 57% of Gen Zers prefer to contact customer support via email. Additionally, a third of zoomers prefer receiving support updates via text. 

Customer self-service is a critical part of CX strategy

With Generation Z overwhelmingly opposed to calling customer support, the appeal of customer self-service channels is hardly surprising. 60% prefer using self-service options to resolve technical issues on their own.

However, the key isn’t just to do self-service, but to do it correctly. Companies need to use a good customer self-service solution. Research shows that although zoomers overwhelmingly favor customer self-service, they also believe that no self-service is better than poor self-service

Creating a first-class self-service experience is critical to increasing customer retention, decreasing contact center call volume and improving net promoter score (NPS). Here are a few guidelines for providing excellent customer self-service:

  • Provide a seamless self-serve customer onboarding experience
  • Consider using chatbots to help customers with simple support requests
  • Regularly update your self-service content
  • Provide self-service content in multiple formats, such as videos and interactive tutorials.

Contact centers need to respond quickly to customer service requests

Growing up in a world of everything instant, it should come as no surprise that Gen Z expects fast responses to tech support inquiries. 57% of Gen Zers want contact center agents to get back to them within 24 hours. More than a quarter of them want a response even faster, within hours of reaching out. 

Additionally, Gen Z is not willing to wait on hold. While they’re less likely to call your contact center than previous generations, when they do, they’re more likely to hang up the phone after waiting just 45 seconds. 

Company web pages need to rank at the top of search engine results

Although zoomers tend to prefer customer self-service, they’re not necessarily seeking help from your company. According to a report by Gartner, three-fourths of Gen Zers use external resources (such as YouTube or online forums) to resolve their tech issues independently.

This can be a huge problem for a business and its Gen Z customers. If more customers are using third-party resources to resolve tech issues, it’s going to negatively impact traffic to your website.

Additionally, these resources may not be a reliable source of information, with content that’s potentially outdated or completely false. It also can present potential cybersecurity risks for customers since they’re not using a trusted website. 

Businesses need to address this head-on. Investing in good SEO will be vital to the success of your business and your customers. This way, you can ensure your web pages rank number one on Google, driving traffic to your website. It’ll also make it easy for zoomers to access a trusted source of information, which will help them resolve their tech issues quickly and build trust. 

Gen Z will continue to re-shape customer service

Gen Z is generally dissatisfied with many businesses’ current ways of doing customer service. While the iGeneration is just one segment of your customer base, they’re a powerful one, with a lot of disposable income. 

Companies that want to ensure the long-term success of their brand need to adapt their customer service strategy to meet the needs of Gen Zers. That means ensuring that your business provides strong customer self-service options, utilizing chatbots, providing omnichannel support and using social media to connect with customers. 

By taking these steps, your company can increase retention and decrease churn among Gen Z customers. 

Interested in learning more? Explore self-serve support solutions for your business.

Are you looking to create the superior customer self-service experience Gen Z craves? Ozmo’s self-service solutions are trusted by Verizon, Appalachian Wireless, TELUS and more. Learn more about the future of tech support today!