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They are pragmatic, value conscious, and hyperconnected. Bold, entrepreneurial, and individualistic. They also went through a phase where they ate Tide Pods on social media, but that is not what we are going to explore in this installment. They are Gen Z, and they represent today’s largest percentage of purchasing power. In fact, while we were all locked down watching Tiger King, this generation discretely took over the entire world.
As a proud guardian of a Gen Z, I have had a private laboratory to observe and record some of the nuances of this new generation who seem to have taken over the world. First, most Gen Z’ers are no longer just kids. They are budding young professionals with money to spend, currently making up 40% of today’s U.S. consumer base. They may be the most astute group of buyers to ever exist, relying on their vast social networks to make informed purchasing decisions. They’ll assess many different options before choosing, or even engaging with, a product or service. They are paying the most attention to their customer experience, and they’re willing to pay (literally) for a better one. A recent study from CustomerBliss and Oracle found that 40% of Gen Z’ers are willing to pay as much as 20% more for an impressive service experience. Why is this? I have a theory that it is because this generation can quickly detect when they are getting a bad deal. They have ready access to so much information that they can comparison shop in seconds, and can discover immediately which brands live up to their promises and which brands fall short.
Data is king for this group (which is probably better than Tiger King). For organizations, this means uniting efforts across different departments (above all, service and marketing) to meet Gen Z’ers diverse expectations, creating that impressive service experience they’re willing to pay more for. How do they want to do business with brands? What matters most to them? How likely are they to make a purchase, and does that likelihood increase if they know someone who has bought and used the same product? These questions apply to every consumer, but arguably the most data is generated, collected, and available on Gen Z.
Consider the following statistics:
● Three-quarters of Gen Z customers would rather seek out non-company guidance (i.e., Reddit forums, YouTube channels, Google search) over contacting a brand’s customer service to solve issues most or all the time, according to research from Gartner.
● Nearly 70% of Gen Z’ers find new products and services through social channels every month, compared to 45% of all consumers. When they do find something they want, 27% are likely to click through and buy it.
● The majority (57%) feel comfortable sharing their personal information to tailor service interactions, but only 15% believe companies actually deliver personalized experiences. Gen Z is unlike any other consumer group organizations have needed to reach. They grew up with technology at their fingertips; interacting online comes second nature to them, and they expect companies to offer digital experiences that are not just engaging but also personalized. The key to personalizing their experiences boils down to acting on data insights through service and marketing efforts to build brand loyalty.
Here are three steps to do so:
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