Millennials vs. Generation Z Customer Service: A Guide
The differences between Millennials and Gen Z explained, and how to cater to them
June 7th, 2021
The terms “Millennial” (Generation Y) and “Generation Z” (also known simply as Gen Z or Zoomers) are used to define a generational demographic of people. The terms are used for data gathering and defining trends across generational groups. Here are some of the defining factors:
Between 1981 and 1996.
Millennials were born into a period of economic stability but are old enough to remember the economic crisis of the 2000's.
Experiences, travel, self-orientated, impulsive, living in the now.
Between 1997 to 2010 .
Gen Z were born during a period of instability and still haven’t seen the economy fully recover.
Ethical and moralistic values, uniqueness, realistic, stability.
The Value of Millennials and Gen Z
Millennials are getting older and they’re pushing into the market in a big way. Unlike the younger Generation Z, there is now about the same number of Millennials in the UK as there are Baby Boomers and Gen X respectively.
And, with Millennials now aged from 26-41, they’re old enough for companies to be shifting their attention to. In fact, they were projected to spend $1.4 trillion in the US alone in 2020.
Whilst age and population is enough of a reason to take Millennials seriously, they’re also a loyal generation, with 78% of Millennials seeking out loyalty programs when choosing their favorite brands. But, alongside the younger Gen Z, 2 in 3 are also willing to walk from a brand if they don’t align with their stances on issues that matter to them.
When they trust you, Millennials can be valuable customers. But, it’s important to get your customer experience right if you want to win them over.
In the UK, Gen Z may not be as populous as Millennials, but globally they are now the largest population in the world. So, if your brand targets international markets, it’s even more important to focus on Gen Z customers.
Although many of them are still children, the oldest Gen Z are in their mid-twenties, meaning they’re getting to an age where they will start to dominate certain industries and markets. If you want your brand to get ahead of your competition, you need to focus on the needs of Gen Z now.
Gen Z also have significant buying power, despite their young age. For example, Gen Z spend their own money on clothes and shoes (55%), but also influence what their family spends on clothes and shoes (60%), meaning they’re effecting the spending of older generations. This same trend can be seen across a multitude of markets, such as toys and games, electronics, personal care, and eating out.
And those markets that Gen Z don’t spend their own money in, they have an even more significant influence over their Gen X and Millennial parents. For example, only 18% of Gen Z spend their own money on household goods, but 73% influence what their family spends.
On top of that, Gen Z can be fantastic brand advocates. Gen Z expect a lot from your brand (read on to find out more), but once you’ve won them over, they’re more than happy to promote your brand without even being asked.
As a generation that grew up with instant internet access, social media, and platforms like TikTok, being in the public eye is natural for Gen Z’s. For them, what older generations might call oversharing, is just keeping your friends and fans updated.
As such, 89% of Gen Z customers are happy to promote a brand that they enjoy interacting with, giving them huge potential for boosting both sales and brand sentiment.
What Do Millennials and Gen Z Expect from Your Brand?
Although Millennials were born into a period of economic security, this didn’t last through their teens, with key events like 9/11 and the Icelandic financial crisis shaping their view on the world. This has created a generation that are more interested in “living in the moment” and so are more happy to spend money than other generations, no matter the economic climate. In fact, they are 52% more likely to make impulse purchases than any other generation.
But, that’s not to say that Millennials aren’t money-conscious. Price is the most important factor for Millennials when making a purchase. And they are happy to buy online and pick up in store if it saves them money.
So how do you tap into a generation that seem so self-contradicting? It’s all about the experience.
Millennials look for brands that feel genuine – since they’re better than previous generations at seeing through ads – and connect with them on their own platforms. That means increasing your social media engagement, offering loyalty rewards, and having 24/7 availability so that they can connect to your brand wherever they are, whenever they want.
Gen Z has inherited the world that Millennials grew up in. Financial instability, political unrest, climate concerns; all of these have impacted the viewpoint of Gen Z customers. Unlike the hedonistic tendencies of Millennials, Gen Z actively seek out stability and this translates to their shopping habits.
They’re less impulsive than Millennials and more likely to research a product and buy it later, using both in-store and digital experiences to do so. And, with Covid hitting older members of Gen Z particularly hard, it’s little wonder that winning them over to purchasing from you can be quite the task.
Earlier we said that Gen Z are comfortable being in public spaces online, but that’s not to say that they’re naïve. The benefit of being always surrounded by the internet is that they’re better than any other generation at fishing out scams, false advertising, and false brand personas, even more so than Millennials.
With all of these factors, convincing Gen Z that your brand is worth their loyalty can seem daunting. But the key is aligning to their personal beliefs.
Gen Z (70%) are looking for products of high quality from brands that stand up for social advocacy. Whether that be climate change and sustainability, gender equality, or LGBT+, Gen Z are keeping close tabs on their favourite brands to make sure they share those same values.
What Do Millennials and Gen Z Expect from Your Customer Service?
When it comes to customer service (CS), Millennials and Gen Z tend to be fairly similar. Since both Millennials and Gen Z had access to the internet from a young age, it’s perhaps unsurprising that there is a general trend moving away from traditional channels. Although those traditional channels still dominate, channels like social media and live chat have both seen more than a 10% increase in popularity with people aged 34 and younger. And, telephony has dropped in popularity by a whopping 21%.
Millennials and Gen Z are simply more connected than Gen X. Both generations are looking for a fast and reliable service, and are used to finding their own solutions online; they don’t feel the need to rely on your service. According to Gartner, 62% of Millennials and 75% of Gen Z are happy to use guidance from outside of your brand to solve their CS queries. This includes searches on Google, YouTube tutorials, and forum posts.
Alongside being internet natives, both Millennials and Gen Z are tech-savvy. Although Gen Z may be more competent with tech, both generations are more at home with using tech than Gen X and Baby Boomers. This feeds into their expectation of the technology used by customer care teams. It’s no longer enough to run a simple call centre and call it a day. The younger generations expect you to be connected on all channels, all the time.
It’s hard to argue against the fact that youngest generations have an immense buying power. With Millennials and Gen Z starting to dominate the market, it’s important to keep their values and preferences in mind. If you ignore the newest generation, you’re at real risk of alienating a huge section of the market. And you might even find yourself causing harm to your brand if they decide to publicly call you out.
You might think that your customer care offering is good enough, but your customers probably disagree, with only 8% of customers agreeing with a brand’s opinion on their customer experience. So, now is the time to reinvent your service. Consider auditing your customer care solution. Research the sites your customers are using to find non-brand tutorials, etc. and move into those spaces. Review your tone of voice and empower your advisors to make their own decisions. Evaluate your software and consider if it’s up-to-date enough for Gen Z.
Updating your CS can seem insurmountable and overwhelming when you first start. At FM Outsource, we’ve been transforming operations for years. If you’d like some help, or just want to talk through the possibilities, chat to us today.