How Do Today’s Generations Feel About CX?

Marketers should be aware: each generation today prefers a variation on CX themes. This article is a crash-course on managing the CX demands of today’s five key generations: Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. By understanding the communication preferences of each unique generation, you can then adapt your CX strategies to win the hearts and minds of consumers across all four of these generations. Let’s begin with learning a bit more about each generation.

Today's five major generations have differing preferences when it comes to their CX journeys.

Defining the Generations

The silent generation was born between 1928-1945. These individuals have very low familiarity with technology and cell phones, but don’t let that fool you! They of course expect a streamlined CX. Next we have baby boomers, who were born between 1946- 1964. Baby boomers are solution oriented and expect live, human interaction. Most of this generation are familiar with smartphones, although they prefer email interaction rather than texting or social media communication. Following baby boomers, members of gen x were born between 1965-1980. These individuals are at the most financially productive parts of their lives, and roughly 80% have a smart phone. Something to note about gen x is that they show considerable loyalty to their favored brands. Although, they’re among the 89 percent of consumers who do business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.

Millennials were born between 1981-1996, and they’ve been using digital communications for the better part of their lives. They are tech-savvy, and expect quick and personalized responses from the companies with whom they do business. This generation is the up-and-comer of the financial marketplace; either just establishing or beginning to achieve a level of success in their careers. Lastly, zoomers were born between 1997-2012. They have likely never seen a TV antenna or a typewriter, except in older films and photographs. Zoomers are Highly self-sufficient. They will seek and find information of all kinds via the internet. But keep in mind, they are unwilling to navigate through clumsy and frustrating web pages. They are the predominant users of mobile apps and unsurprisingly have a strong influence on their parent’s financial decisions. 

Generation’s Preferred Method of Communication

While many of us are fully comfortable and reliant on technology, members of the silent generation still prefer to communicate with a company by speaking to a real person either  face-to-face or over the phone. Baby boomers and gen X also enjoy this form of communication. Although, they are equally comfortable with email communication with organizations. According to an OpenMarket survey, Millennials would rather text to communicate with a business vs. a phone call or email. On the other hand, Campaign Monitor reported that the youngest of the target groups, Generation Z, prefer to communicate with brands differently. They use: social media, email, face-to-face, ads, chat and a company’s blog.

Tone and Manner of the Communication

The tone and manner of communication that each generation prefers is possibly what sets each generation apart the most. The silent generation expects communication with organizations to be somewhat formal and respectful. Baby boomers are similar, as they too anticipate a personable, polite exchange. Gen X changes things up, as they prefer a streamlined and positive manner of communication. If they don’t receive this, they are quick to switch to a competitor. As the generations get younger, they expect more tailored levels of communication. As millennials expect fast and tailored communication that appeals to their individual needs and preferences. Lastly, because zoomers have grown up surrounded by technology. They are self-sufficient and prefer not to speak to staff or require assistance from your organization. They expect efficient and simple communication with their favorite companies, and may even become easily annoyed if they feel they are being hounded too much. 

Generation’s Online Transactions

When it comes to eCommerce, don’t expect the silent generation to complete their purchases from your website.  In a survey conducted by Deloitte, it was reported that 25% of the Silent Generation had never used online banking before and 44% had never used a mobile banking app. Baby boomers are a bit more comfortable with online transactions, and Facebook research stated that about 30% of boomers shop online. Gen X regularly executes mobile payments and they feel comfortable doing so. As do Millennials, although they take it one step further by utilizing mobile wallets and branded mobile payments such as Starbucks’ in-app payment options. Lastly, Zoomers represent the largest group of mobile payment users, as they feel the most confident doing so of the five generations we have discussed. 

Preferred CX Experience

Similarly to the far range in the preferred communication styles of each generation, there’s a decent amount of variance in each generation’s preferred CX. The silent genreation craves human interaction, and they value a high-touch CX. Baby boomers prioritize their customer experiences being solutions oriented, and they expect a resolution for their reason or reasons for contacting the company. Gen X also values a streamlined CX approach, but with features that allows them to quickly complete transactions while simultaneously earning rewards. Millennials and zoomers surprisingly relate to the silence generation in this category, as they prefer digital interactions that are highly customized to their shopping history, previous interactions, location, and profile. 

While each generation has differing CX expectations; there is an emergent theme: meeting customers where they are! SAP’s array of ecommerce software allows you to create the experiences your customers want and expect. Reach out to #teamasar for more information on how to create effective CX experiences.

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