Consumers age 16 through 22 are open to communication from brands but have high expectations of those brands, demanding high levels of customer service and the latest in omnichannel functionality, according to a new study from American Express. The survey of more than 1,000 North American consumers between the ages of 16 and 37 found several key differences between consumers in Generation Z and Generation Y, which includes consumers ages 23 through 37.
One especially notable aspect of Gen Z was an openness to mobile communication from brands. The digital natives of Gen Z rely heavily on mobile phones to interact with the world, and the study found them much less likely to find it invasive to receive texts, notifications or offers from brands via mobile. Gen Z respondents to the survey were 22 percent more likely than Gen Y to prefer in-app notifications to receive offers, incentives and sales notifications. Likewise, the younger segment was 23 percent more likely than Gen Y to prefer interacting via social media to receive offers, incentives and sales notifications. And Gen Z was a whopping 100 more likely than Gen Y to prefer interacting via online chat technology, such as WhatsApp.
Gen Z consumers also were much more positive about automated customer service and self-service. More than twice as many Gen Z respondents as Gen Y-ers ranked using text/SMS messaging, searching online resources and using an automated system over the phone as their top three preferred customer service channels to solve a problem. Conversely, Gen Y was twice as likely to want to use chat messaging with a live agent on a company’s website and 25 percent more likely to resolve an issue via phone.
Despite being open to automated customer experiences, Gen Z consumers demand that experience to be seamless—and fast—for brands to earn their loyalty, the study found. Gen Z respondents were more likely than Gen Y to become disloyal to a brand due to poorly designed mobile features, slow response during online chat for sales or customer service issues and poor features/responsiveness on social media. Gen Z consumers also were two times more interested than Gen Y in features that offer instant gratification, such as one-hour delivery by drones, ability to purchase products or services via chat apps or social media, and the ability to pay using a watch or other wearable device.
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