But where can we find the biggest differences? A good example is the differences in preferences between different generations. Your Gen-Z customer likes to be contacted via Instagram or TikTok for example, meanwhile, a customer from the Silent Generation is more likely to use the phone or wants to communicate face-to-face. However, the differences don’t just show up in channel preference - it is found in a plethora of different CS staples. We will walk you through all of this to make sure you can meet your customers where they’re at when it comes to communication and customer experience.
Having different target audiences means speaking to everyone in their own language. This doesn’t necessarily mean that customers from the Silent Generation want to be spoken to face-to-face and Gen-Z only wants to communicate with a chatbot. There are always exceptions and giving your customers the option to personalise their experience is very very important. Keep in mind that one of the main reasons that customers are unsatisfied with a company isn’t that the product is bad. It’s because their experience with the company was not to their liking. This marks the importance of the fact that customers want to be spoken to in their language. Next questions are: how do you do that, and what are those languages?
Let us walk you through the average preferences in communication, tone of voice and customer experience per generation first.
The Silent Generation (born in 1928 – 1945)
The Silent Generation prefers communication through the phone or face-to-face, with a formal and respectful tone of voice. Besides that, a ‘high-touch’ customer experience is preferred, because the feeling of humanity is essential to this generation. An emotional connection is essential, but isn’t that for everybody?
Baby boomers (born in 1946 – 1964)
Baby boomers or ‘boomers’ are practical and just want a good solution when it comes to customer experience. What’s wrong needs to be fixed and that’s it for them. Their preferred manner of communication is through the phone or face-to-face, although Facebook or e-mailing is an option for them too. When it comes to tone of voice, being polite and personal is all they want. Easy enough to level with!
Generation X (born in 1965 – 1980)
Generation X isn’t very different compared to the boomer generation when it comes to preferences in communication channels. Where they differ is the fact that they don’t like friction at all. Everything needs to be as streamlined as possible, otherwise, they’ll just swap you for a competitor in the field your company is active in. Besides that, they like to be rewarded for their actions. Whether that is with a compliment or discount, they want to get the feeling that what they’re doing is the right thing.
Millennials (born in 1981 – 1996)
Millennials are familiar with both traditional and modern communication channels, so they don’t mind how they need to contact your company. Whether it’s WhatsApp, through the phone, e-mail or face-to-face: they can do it all. Their preference generally is through texting, so that’s something to keep in mind. Because they can switch between communication channels very rapidly, the communication needs to be as fast as possible as well for them. Quick, straightforward and focused on a good solution; that’s what they expect from your company’s tone of voice.
Generation Z (born in 1997 – 2010)
Just like the millennial generation, Generation Z has no trouble communicating via any and all channels, and probably even better than the generation before them. They like things to be modern, so their communication of preference is through social media, but email, face-to-face, through the phone, a chatbot or even blogs are a possibility as well. Because communication isn’t chained to one singular channel, efficiency, simplicity and clarity are essential. But at the same time, they want the communication to be personal and ‘high-touch’. Profiles, earlier interactions and shopping history should be taken along in every communication point with Generation Z so that you can communicate with familiarity. Just the way they like it.
To make the communication process to everyone’s liking, a hybrid digital strategy is essential. To give you a few points to take into consideration, we’ll give you some takeaways to remember after reading this article.
- You want your company to be an integrated unity. Everywhere. This means that your customer experience needs to be incorporated into the social media strategy of your company. The same look and feel needs to be there everywhere throughout your company: the customer services, the locations or shops your company has and on the social media channels.
- Real-time help from a digital source is the next big thing. If you haven’t already invested in artificial intelligence, you know what to do.
- Building on that: Millennials and Generation Z feel very independent, so if there’s anything they can do to solve their problems on their own without having to contact anyone, they’ll do that. Self-service is essential in this. It’s quick, you don’t have to wait on anyone to change your address or bank account and most important: they don’t have to interact. More important to this generation than you might think.
- But don’t ditch all the traditional communication channels your company has, because if there’s an emergency people must have the opportunity to contact someone immediately. Period.
So, meeting your customers where they’re at is very important to improve the customer experience of your company. To do that, your company needs to be at every touchpoint your customer expects you to be: on a location, through a phone line and social media for example. So, now you know all about the preferences of the different generations, and have some tips to take with you in all of your customer interactions. Good luck with implementing it all ;).