Gen Z customer experience strategy

May 28, 2024 •

5 min reading

Gen Z customer experience strategy - Dealing with younger generations

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You have to be careful when making assumptions about customers based on generation-specific stereotypes, as there are exceptions to every rule. However, it’s fair to say that Generation Z consumers - born between the mid-1990s and 2010 - have different customer experience expectations, including customer service strategy. And really, it’s hardly surprising.

Generation Z is the first generation not to know a world without the internet. Their purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by social media. They favor a digital-first customer experience that is responsive and transparent, and they place a high value on ethical concerns when deciding which businesses to buy from.

Gen Z consumers have high expectations. Having always had the conveniences that other generations have learned to enjoy over time, they are less impressed with current customer experiences than previous generations, with a 50% satisfaction rate compared to the 71% of their predecessors. However, they are highly influential, with the incoming generation driving change and setting the standards older generations soon come to expect.

The truth is that organizations must work harder to deliver customer experiences that meet Gen Z expectations. But where should you start? Here’s our guide, complete with real-life examples of successful customer experience strategies for Gen Z.


The future of customer service? Let them help themselves

One of the most significant generational shifts is the preference for self-service customer support (FAQ pages, chatbots, virtual assistants, etc.). A Gartner survey of over 6,000 consumers found that 38% of Gen Zs would stop trying to resolve a customer service issue if they couldn’t do it themselves. That contrasts with just 11% of baby boomers, who would give up on an issue if they couldn’t find a self-service solution.

Gen Z’s preference for self-service support has a profound impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. A staggering 52% of Gen Z consumers who could not resolve an issue in self-service would not buy from the company again, while 44% would say negative things about the company. This trend underscores the urgency for businesses to adapt to Gen Z’s preferences.

With that in mind, customer service leaders must work to provide resources that Gen Z can use to solve problems themselves. That includes multiple self-service touchpoints, such as an online knowledge base, useful FAQ pages, chatbots, virtual assistants, and product tutorials. Brands should also look for ways to seamlessly switch users from a self-service solution to an assisted service where the issues they’re experiencing are more complex. Proactive live chat options and prompts to call an agent are both potential solutions.

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Create more personalized experiences

Having been force-fed targeted ads, personalized content and recommendations, and custom playlists their whole lives, it’s perhaps not surprising that Gen Z has a greater appetite than any other generation for customized experiences.

Personalization is not just a trend for Gen Z, it's a key driver of brand loyalty. 41% of Gen Z are willing to give up their data in return for personalized experiences, 62% will pay extra, and 45% will leave a website if it doesn’t provide personalized recommendations. Given these numbers, personalization should be a cornerstone of your customer experience strategy.

Personalizing the customer experience can take different forms. You can provide tailored communications across your website, apps, and social media platforms to attract new customers and up-sell and cross-sell. You can also inject personalized elements into your customer support with personalized tips, follow-ups, and videos to help solve customer problems.


Gen Z attention span: Lean into video

Video was a nice-to-have rather than a business imperative until fairly recently, but the rise of Gen Z and its insatiable appetite for visual content is changing all that. People often cite that Gen Z has an attention span of just eight seconds, based on 2015 research from Microsoft. However, newer research shows they have no trouble concentrating on content they relate to and find interesting, such as Young Adult literature and deep dive videos. This tendency indicates that they are a good audience for easily digestible, short videos that can quickly and effectively tell stories, demonstrate products, share testimonials, and showcase a brand’s personality and values.

The platforms Gen Z favors for consuming video content include TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. Importantly, they spend more time watching videos on their smartphones, so any video content you create must be optimized for mobile devices to increase engagement and ensure a seamless viewing experience. The effectiveness of video content is backed up by the stats, with one survey finding that 70% of Gen Z find videos very useful when making purchasing decisions.

Although visual content dominates, Gen Z consumers are discerning about what they watch. They value authenticity and transparency in their interactions with brands, with real customer stories and behind-the-scenes footage helping to strike the right chord. They also value brands that are transparent about their values and social responsibility initiatives and want to feel like they’re part of a community.


Embracing Gen Z values and morals: Building authentic connections for lasting customer engagement

We’ve already touched on the importance of authenticity and values to Gen Z consumers. Their constant exposure to global issues makes them more discerning than previous generations when deciding how they spend their hard-earned money.

Research suggests that Gen Z will walk away from brands that don’t share their values, with 68% wanting to buy from companies that support a primary social cause. However, those values must be something the brand lives and breathes and doesn’t merely pay lip service to. Suppose you want to showcase your company’s approach to sustainability, inclusion, diversity, and environmental issues. In that case, you must actively show your customers how you engage in those areas and your work.

You can also create a powerful community by engaging in meaningful conversations with your customers and asking for their feedback and opinions. Authenticity is key, so be careful not to overpromise or use exaggerated or misleading claims, as this could backfire.

Switch your focus: Align with Gen Z preferences

Gen Z can be a goldmine of possibilities, but only if you switch your focus from ‘how do we do things’ to ‘how do our consumers want things to be done.’ By 'switching your focus ', we mean shifting your perspective and priorities to align with Gen Z's preferences and expectations. Gen Z are uncompromising in their outlook, and if you don’t give them what they want, they will go elsewhere.

However, if you offer Gen Z personalized experiences, empower them to solve their problems, and align with the issues that matter to them, you can create a fie
cely loyal customer base to help future-proof your business.