CX for Gen Z: How to Appeal to the Youngest Generation of Customers

Gen Z was born between 1996-2010. Gartner describes them as prudent, innovative and digitally innate. They are the fastest-growing group of customers, employees and voters. Their expectations are incredibly high in many respects and they desire to make positive changes in the world. In this blog, we discuss Gen Z customer expectations and behaviours and how to tailor your CX strategy to appeal to them. 

Digital First

Gen Z has been raised with smartphones and tablets from an early age, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they prioritise the digital experience over all else. They expect omnichannel, easy to use, personalised and interactive services and experiences that don’t diverge between the digital and physical experiences. Gen Z doesn’t distinguish between the digital and physical worlds as they have grown up exposed to both. They are the most “internet-dependent” generation, with 60% of them feeling uncomfortable if they go more than 4 hours without the internet. 

They want and expect AI-driven, predictive online experiences and virtual and augmented reality features as part of physical in-store experiences. To really satisfy Gen Z customers, it is important to strike a balance that is incredibly human-centric – designed with empathy – while being heavily technologically driven.  

Speed & Convenience

Gen Z wants their experiences to be fast and frictionless. They have short attention spans, so any extra step or hiccup will cause them to retreat. In the realm of eCommerce, 98% of Gen Z customers will abandon their online shopping cart if the shipping option of their choice is unavailable at checkout. 52% of Gen Z want same-day delivery, but only 24% of brands offer this as an option. Standard delivery options just don’t cut it for Gen Z shoppers, so to meet their expectations, it is crucial to offer express options at a fair price. As they are young, they are obviously fairly price-conscious as a generation at present, but, 71% of Gen Z also claimed that they would spend more to qualify for free same-day shipping. They are ultimately looking for the best bang for their buck, so having multiple shipping options would encourage basket size growth which would, in turn, make up for the added shipping costs. 

Review Conscious

Gen Z is the generation most likely to post positive feedback online and recommend brands to their friends and families, and before they shop with you, they will do their research. They value word-of-mouth recommendations just as much as online testimonials and reviews. They put trust in if their peers like and support your brand publically, so it’s important to amass a strong presence on review sites, to include product or service testimonials on your website, and to have a positive social media following. The amount of likes, follows, reviews, and comments you get will likely impact their decision to purchase with your brand. They also value authenticity, so encouraging reviews and feedback from your existing customers is an important strategy to adopt to satisfy Gen Z expectations. 

Social Media & Social Justice

Having visual, concise and shareable content is the best way to relate to Gen Z customers. They also like to participate in the creation and dissemination of content, so shareability and likeability are important. They are prime candidates for consumer generated content (CGC) campaigns as they want to feel connected to the brands they love. They want to be able to relate to a brand, so authenticity matters. Brands must have relatable personalities and values to entice Gen Z, and this includes taking a stand on the issues that matter to Gen Z. 

A recent Forrester Research report showed that Gen Z is increasingly scrutinising brands for their responses to social justice issues. They expect that the brands they engage with will take a public stance on social issues, and are careful about which brands they support with their buying power. Brand boycotts are not unusual for this generation, so it’s important to show them empathy and initiative. CSR campaigns matter. Issues such as civil rights, climate change, global health or the refugee crisis are important to Gen Z. So for their loyalty and support, brands should expect to get involved in an authentic way.