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Millennials and Generation Z have grown up more connected than any other generation. Generation Z (born 1997 and after) grew up with instant messaging, texting and Twitter, while Millennials (born 1981 to 1996) came of age with Facebook. Gen Z’s and Millennials have been dubbed “digital natives” having grown up with technology at their fingertips. The oldest members of Gen Z have already joined the workforce and we will continue to feel their impact intensify in the years to come. 

Now more than ever, it is important to know how to communicate with these generations. They are more tech-savvy, comfortable with mobile devices and social media, and they demand quick answers and resolutions. Millennials and Gen Z expect customer support to reach them on their terms, regardless of whether they are working or playing, using a desktop computer, a laptop, or a smartphone.

Customer experience (CX) is defined as the quality of interactions between a business and its customers, and their perception of total interactions. In today’s age, great customer experience is essential for creating a competitive advantage. The best approach to success in CX is to observe changes and evolve CX strategy in line with human behaviour. Today, speed is a priority because it helps to establish reliability and trust. A change in customer expectations is partly driving this as customers are more informed and more demanding than ever.

90% of customers expect an “immediate” response to their customer support questions (10 minutes or less). HubSpot

To improve CX, a smarter approach is required to handling communication channels, so they are connected and seamlessly integrated to form a unified customer experience. Omnichannel businesses are able to combine their traditional channels like phone, email, and social media with newer channels like chat and SMS — so they can better serve their customers across the customer lifecycle by increasing the capacity to handle customer requests faster.

Recent research by Adobe shows companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies enjoy a 10% year-on-year growth, a 10% increase in average order value and a 25% increase in close rates.

The Connected Customer Experience.

As emerging technologies continue to transform customer experience, it’s critical that organisations leverage solutions that connect the entire experience and provide seamless interactions.

Customer experience has become an integral part of a company’s business strategy in generating leads and retaining customers. Customers expect to always receive the best service available from all channels, including telephone, face-to-face encounters, email, websites and social media. And customer expectations will continue to evolve with advances in technology. Businesses have found creative ways to connect with their customers by delivering tailored content that helps them achieve their goals.

According to Esteban Kolsky, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people. On the other hand, if a customer is not happy, 13% of them will share their experience with 15 or even more. 

When things don’t go smoothly, customer frustration results in increased customer churn and a reduction in loyalty. However, it doesn’t stop there. According to some studies, customers who have multiple poor experiences are highly likely to churn — therefore it’s wise for businesses of all sizes to prioritise and deliver the best customer experience. According to Zendesk, 79% of high-income earners shunned a company for more than two years after they had a bad experience.

The Differentiated Customer Experience

A culture where customer focus is ingrained in the organisation is fast becoming one of the prime differentiators in a competitive world. A differentiated customer experience is the result of a well-defined blend of process, people, and technology. Today’s customers crave both personalisation and a more intimate brand experience. Both technology and process enable a business to provide additional layers of customer-centricity. This helps employees deliver on previously unfulfilled expectations, providing customers with a truly memorable experience.

By offering both self-service options and live agent support, customers have the choice to get the answers they need through their preferred channel, to suit the complexity of their query. Even a digital native Gen Z may need help with a self-service tool, due to a technicality, so the availability of live agents via chat or phone is crucial.  This process will also ensure that customers experience fast resolutions, and it will help to retain their trust throughout their journey.

Solutions Culture

Every business relies on the ability to offer the right solutions to its customers. Customer problem-solving involves using various business processes, tools and resources to resolve issues as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. First Time Resolution (FTR) refers to the ratio of customer queries that are resolved at the first point of contact via email, voice, live chat, or social media. It is one of the most direct ways you can communicate how you add value to your offering. The ability to quickly solve customer queries is a critical skill for customer service and customer support teams. It is essential that these teams have developed the right soft skills and knowledge, and that they have the autonomy to offer solutions quickly. However, a more systematic approach to problem-solving is needed to address larger issues such as high volumes of customer returns, and customer churn.

The Global Customer Barometer by American Express identified that in the most demanding population — 33% of customers would consider switching to the competition after just a single instance of poor service. With that in mind, a support team that provides quality service and the capabilities to solve customer problems with minimal disruption is paramount to customer retention.

Covid-19 presented many unique challenges for companies to adapt to, both in terms of productivity and business continuity. Some of these challenges have become the new normal, while others continue to be problematic. If the business can consistently identify and assess new or existing problem factors that might affect their business, solutions can be considered in advance.

Trust is key

Research by Salesforce shows that customers want to do business with companies they trust. 82% of customers agree a company’s trustworthiness matters more than it did a year ago. 61% of customers noted that it’s difficult for a company to earn their trust.

It is safe to say that trust does not develop overnight. It’s a slow process that needs attention and nurturing. With this in mind, being more connected with customers can help businesses better understand some crucial trust factors like reliability, integrity, and capability. This will lead to deeper customer insights and stronger relationships.

While over three-quarters of customers expect consistent interactions in any area of an organisation, more than half say it often feels as though different parts of the organisation don’t communicate with one another.  [Salesforce]

Millennials and Gen Z have high expectations for a brand to be able to earn their trust. As companies evolve, it's imperative to consider how Millennials and Gen Z’s embrace brands. When embraced, these generations feel connected to the brand / company values on a deeper level. Equal importance needs to be given to wider trust factors like equality, safety and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Gen Z’s place great importance on an organisation's citizenship including how they treat people, animals, the environment and communities.

Customers recognise genuine messaging that coincides with a brand’s values. Ideally, this messaging is filtered through training and development to inspire customer-focus while developing meaning and alignment with company values.

71% of customers pay more attention to corporate values than they did a year ago. [Salesforce]

Integrating values into real-time experiences is an excellent way of applying a tangible and visible touchpoint to a culture of values. From a customer perspective, full transparency is needed for this to work. From an internal perspective, defining these values is not sufficient to drive customer experience. They must be embedded within the culture to guide behaviour through the values. In doing so, customers recognise the values in company communications, and they help to create a better customer experience.

If you would like to discover how Covalen can help you to design and deliver an enhanced Customer Experience, please reach out.

Customer Experience Is What You Make It Customer Experience Is What You Make It
Customer Experience Is What You Make It Customer Experience Is What You Make It

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1st July 2021