After what seems years talking - near obsessing - about Millennials, in 2018 the business world seems to have woken up to the fact that Millennials are yesterday's news. They are well-established in their careers, starting families and have for the most part become mainstream. Yes, they remain a target market for products and services, but we feel like we know them and what they want.
Descriptions vary, but Forbes defines the generation after Millennials, Generation Z, as people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. Gen Z makes up 25 percent of the U.S. population, making them a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers or Millennials. Using a definition of those born from 1995 – 2010,
Sapient estimates that globally Gen Z is 2 billion strong, making up 27 percent of the population.
They may be young, but these consumers have colossal buying power. This "post-Millennial generation" influences everything from their families' food purchases to clothing, electronics, household goods and even furniture.
A great resource to learn about this budding cohort group is a book published in 2017,
Gen Z @ Work, How the Next Generation is Transforming the Workplace. A generations expert and author of
When Generations Collide and
The M-Factor, David Stillman, teamed with his seventeen-year-old son, Jonah, to introduce the next influential demographic group to join the workforce in this first book about Gen Z in the workplace.
For those of us who work in the contact center market, Gen Z is important from two points of view: understanding how Gen Z wants to experience customer care as well as how to prepare for Gen Z as initially agents, but then supervisors and managers, in the contact center. Using some of the key Gen Z traits identified by Stillman and Stillman, based on their extensive research, can help us approach the opportunities and problems Gen Z present to the contact center.
Delighting the Gen Z Consumer
As described by Stillman and Stillman, the most fundamental Gen Z trait, is
phigital. This generation doesn't draw a distinction between the physical and digital worlds and are comfortable in both. Raised in a world of mobile devices and technology, Gen Z has expectations about how organizations should function. And yet, far too few companies have tightly integrated customer care with their mobile applications.
Solutions like integrated chat can deliver a unified user experience across any device connected to the internet including desktops, smart phones, and tablets. Live help dialogues offer live chat or callbacks. Available mobile APIs that enable 'click to chat' or 'request a callback' to be embedded into your organization's mobile app will help make your customer experience cater to a generation that may want to start with self-service but want to be able to move seamlessly to live assistance.
Preparing for Gen Z Employees
The world of work has typically been slow to adapt to digital solutions and will be challenged like never before when it comes to meeting the needs of Gen Zer's who live in a phigital world. In Stillman and Stillman's book, 91 percent of Gen Zers said that a company's technological sophistication would impact their decision to work there.
Recognition of a second important Gen Z trait will be equally important to successfully integrate Gen Zers into your contact center team, FOMO, or fear of missing out.
There are a few ways that the FOMO trait manifests in the work place. Gen Z doesn't want to miss anything, which can be great for organizations that need to stay abreast of trends. But their FOMO can also create distraction and anxiety, preventing Gen Z from focusing on any one thing.
From a contact center perspective, the FOMO trait likely means creating different kinds of training for Gen Zers, training that helps them focus on the task at hand. From a job description perspective, the goal should be to create positions where Gen Zers can learn and explore different roles in the organization. Instead of thinking in terms of full time agents, Gen Zers may become more engaged employees with a mix of front line customer interactions and back office work.
Designing Customer Care for and by Digital Natives
Want to learn more about what experiences and consumer behaviors define Gen Z and what they want from the companies with which they do business? Watch this on demand
webinar or read our