When you think of Generation Z, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Generation Z Customer Service

Born between 1995-2012, these young people are just becoming adults. They’re also a huge chunk of the world population, with over 23 million people and growing. Entitled, smartphone-addicted children with short attention spans? Whatever you think you know about Gen Zs, it’s time to leave it at the door.

What most don’t realize is that they will soon be (if they aren’t already) your customer. That’s right, as Gen Zs begin taking over the consumer market, companies should understand that in just 5 short years, they may account for as much as half of all consumers.

It’s not that they’re screen addicts…

Sure, Gen Z is the first real generation to be raised exclusively with smartphones. With the average child getting their first mobile device at age 10.3, we think the worst in mobile device dependency is yet to come.

Instead, they are pragmatists. Knowledge is plentiful – so they don’t value it nearly as much as they value their time. As a result, they have a radar for “sales-y pitches” and are quite good at filtering out whether something is worth their time.

Facebook Eye

Since Generation Z have grown up or lived through the 2008 recession, they learned it was “cool” to save a dollar. This is one of the reasons prices are still important to them – all the while their expectations are much more demanding in other areas.

Today’s younger buyers are a lot less loyal to particular brands and don’t place much importance on online shopping versus visiting a brick-and-mortar store, for instance. Most importantly, they care about the experience, regardless of the channel they choose.

Once something has demonstrated attention-worthiness, Gen Z can become intensely committed and focused. [Gen Zs] have come of age with an Internet that’s allowed them to go deep on any topic of their choosing and learn from like-minded fans.

— claims Jeremy Finch of the Altitude design consultancy for FastCoExist. This is something that hasn’t been the case with previous generations that required a certain degree of nudging to make a decision.

Nevertheless, you can still make Generation Z your customers – and here’s how:

1. Offer an immediate & perfect match

Unlike people born into previous generations, Gen Zs grew up with a slew of immediate messaging applications and image-heavy apps.

A pleasant or thoughtful touch for an older customer will be taken for granted by younger one. Moving from personalized customer service towards immediate white-glove treatment is something young people have come to expect.

Imagine you run a pizza store that gets the bulk of sales from deliveries. At 9 am you may have no pizza orders, at noon you may receive just a few orders and after 8 pm you may get as many as 40 orders at once.


The obvious solution may be to hire more drivers – and if you have more drivers, you’ll be able to cover crunch times with ease. Then again, if you get a sizable amount of orders during lunch, you’ll still need drivers at that time but they’ll see downtime until the evening, when demand picks up again.

These matters are irrelevant to Gen Z customers – they want a mobile app, their pizza hot and delivered within 30 minutes. If not, they’ll get their pizza elsewhere.

Nothing wrong with that. Some of us are crazy about our pizzas.

2. Be truly loyal to the customer

What’s that? You want loyal customers?

We’re constantly told that loyal customers are the key to growth. It’s not hard to see why: not only they ensure repeat sales, they’re also likely to purchase high-margin items and consume less marketing material.

This, however, is “outdated thinking”, believes Marcie Merriman, executive director of growth strategy at Ernst & Young:

Gen Zs expect organizations, brand sand retailers to treat them like gold. If they don’t feel this, they will simply move on. [To them] it’s not about being loyal to the business

Graze, a snack delivery service based out of UK, could have easily explained their policy at first reply & left the customer to their own devices.

Graze Support Interaction

Instead, the company continued to offer workarounds so the customer could reach her objective. In essence, this is what being loyal to customers is all about: sticking with them through thick and thin.

This doesn’t cost the organization much, but make a world of a difference to the customer – particularly when done on public social media pages.

3. Cut down on “page fat”

Younger audiences grew up with bite-sized spurts of information propagated by the likes of Twitter, Snapchat and Periscope. As a result, their attention is hard to grab and even harder to keep.

Companies should think about adding a news feed or “what’s new” so customers have a place to focus their attention after landing on your page.

Activity Feed

Visitors should have the ability to sort content, allowing them to see how common (or how important) that bit of information that interests them is. This can be complimented by an idea management board with status updates to encourage targeted feedback and discourage duplicate posts.

4. Give ’em more visuals

As technological advances push the interactivity bar higher, you can bet that Gen Zs are on top of it, whether it’s graphics, videos or the newest sliding menu.

ConversionXL found that conversions are increased threefold when the correct image is used on the landing page – particularly that of another person. Similarly, context (a person physically using your product) establishes much-needed trust and is something that’s been proven by psychology.

Younger viewers are more likely to require such validation.

5. Be available… everywhere

The user experience isn’t limited to one screen – and we’ve been (slowly) adapting to this fact.

For example, many TV programs such as game shows and advertisements have long asked us to use social media or visit a certain website for an enhanced user experience.

When visitors land your website via their TV, desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device, they want their experience to be fluid and seamless. They don’t want to repeat themselves when they change the channel to communicate to another representative. Besides, single-channel resolution is quickly becoming the accepted status quo among businesses and customers alike.

6. It helps to have a vision

Customers have a vision (or rather, an objective) of their own. If they reach their objective and have a great experience doing it, they will remember.

And – if your brand happens to be in the center of it all, then you’ve just gotten yourself some free advertising.


While boomers were always generally extrinsically motivated, (that is, by money and material things), millennials have been more intrinsically motivated – especially in the wake of the recession. In fact, they would much rather love what they do in life than be motivated by financial rewards. Gen Z are more attuned with the greater purpose, things like transparency, social responsibility and values – the place where millennials essentially left off.

Younger customers want to make a difference and like to pair up with organizations that inspire them. They want to know:

  • What sets you apart from the pack?
  • Are you offering better customer service?
  • Are you treating employees differently?
  • Is there a mandate to save on waste and reinvesting profits in a local community?

This decade has presented us with many on-demand, simple, mission-driven businesses. Giants such as Uber and Zappos keep their missions, design and corporate images closely aligned with customer objectives. These forward-thinking organizations know full well how to combine real-time demand with long-term data to raise the user experience bar for all.

(This article was originally published on the Helprace blog)