Will Gen-Z Force the Shift to Customer Centricity?


It was said that millennials were one of the hardest generations to win over as loyal customers. Having reached adulthood at the turn of the century, they had expectations for speed, information and service that companies were hard pressed to deliver on.

Yet it seems that was only the start of the challenge for brands. Generation Z –­ also known as the iGeneration or post-millennials – are proving to be even tougher, with higher expectations of what companies should be doing to earn their hard-earned money.

Who are Gen-Z and what makes them different?

Generation Z are those born after 1997 who are currently either graduating from university or starting out in the workplace. They have never lived in a world without technology and, as a result, have higher expectations that things should just work. They have never experienced dial-up internet or had to wait for a connection.

Information is always there and a connection is as quick as a click. Show them a typewriter or tape cassette and they’re likely to turn it upside down to look for the on/off button. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t smart. By contrast, they are thought to be one of the savviest, most innovative and entrepreneurial generations yet.

Interestingly enough, many of the characteristics associated with Generation Z are linked to the economic downturn of 2008.  Imagine, as you’re just coming of age, to be living in a world where jobs are being lost and life just got a whole lot more expensive.

“No you can’t get that branded t-shirt”, “sorry we’ve already had takeaways once this month, we can’t afford it.” When you grow up hearing those responses, you learn the value of money, how to shop for the best deal, innovate and save.

Brand loyalty with Gen-Z

From a marketing perspective, Gen-Z has been described as the most disloyal yet, and this is perhaps an unfair judgement. While they may be quick to switch between brands if they find something cheaper, this is not as much a reflection on the actual brand, but rather the value and benefits it holds for them.

What this means is that they won’t be as easily blinded by price because of a brand name, and if brands want to earn their loyalty, they have to consistently work for it by continually demonstrating value.

While established brands may struggle with this shift, it does present an opportunity for emerging brands and businesses to gain ground with what is soon to be one of the most powerful generations of customers yet. Powerful, because they may actually force the shift to a more customer-centric approach of branding.

So, what do you need to know about Gen-Z to be able to engage with them and win them over as loyal customers?

A new brand of customers

It’s not unusual for Gen-Z to be watching YouTube while downloading music and chatting to their friends on Snapchat. Gen-Z are multitaskers, always switching between listening, watching and doing. And while this may mean that their concentration spans are shorter, it does not necessarily mean they aren’t efficient at what they do.

In order to attract Gen-Z’s attention, marketers will need to create short and sharp messaging on the channels where they operate – messaging that demonstrates benefit and value to them.

Gen-Z expects more. Because they have never known a world that isn’t always on, they don’t understand having to wait for information or service. If they can’t find what they want in one place, they will look for it elsewhere. This is where self-service channels and customer forums have their benefits, as Gen-Z customers are more than happy to look for answers themselves and are used to going online to ask others for their opinions.

Gen-Z are less bound by traditions and ethnic cultures, and they operate in a global environment where diversity is the norm. It is said that they have more in common with their peers around the world than with the generations that have come before them.

Having said that, they value personalisation and individualism. They may follow trends and value global opinions, but when it comes to the customer experience, they make up their own minds. This means that brand influence is limited, and products need to demonstrate value, not only of the brand but also for the customer on an individual level.

All things considered, the overarching common denominator with Gen-Z is demonstrating value on a personal level. It’s making the brand about the customer, not the product. Maybe this will be the push needed for more brands to get a customer-centric focus.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Ember Group – View the original post

To find out more about Ember Group, visit their website.

Published On: 19th Jun 2018 - Last modified: 26th Feb 2019
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