Millennials and Generation Z are transforming the customer experience, and businesses can only grow sustainability if they deliver what customers expect.
That’s according to NICE inContact CEO Paul Jarman, who says that understanding how customers engage with brands and how to deliver in-demand omnichannel experience are essential to growth.
He also says that millennials and Gen Z are bellwethers of what consumers expect, and they hold tremendous influence.
He points to the company’s CX Benchmark study, which found that as consumer preferences evolve and the types and numbers of digital service channels continue to proliferate, companies must look to improve the channels they have in place while expanding the ways customers are able to reach them.
The research also shows that a seamless digital-first omnichannel approach is crucial to win in today’s experience economy.
Understanding customer diversity and preferences is no easy task though; particularly as businesses, no matter their size, must provide digital-first omnichannel experiences to meet consumer expectations and effectively compete in the experience economy.
The study found that Almost 60% of generation Z and millennials have used private social messaging for customer service. This differs within generations: Only 38% of Gen X, 19% of baby boomers and 16% of the silent generation have done the same.
The majority of generation Z and millennials also want companies to allow them to interact with customer service using private social messaging apps (72% and 69%, respectively).
The survey found that more customers use AI, and they’re also feeling better about chatbots – over time.
Half of all consumers have used AI for any purpose (50%), compared to 2018 (45%). The report attributes the growth to growth in the use of automated assistants and chatbots online (34%, up from 25% in 2018).
Generation Z and millennials are more likely to agree that chatbots make it easier and quicker for their issues to get resolved, and are also the most likely of all generations to have used all forms of AI for any purpose, as well as for customer service.
According to the survey, half of consumers who start with AI are transferred to a live agent, and age is a significant factor when it comes to AI and the importance of the human touch.
While chatbot usage and performance are improving – and preferences and attitudes are changing – most consumers want to be informed if they are using a chatbot (92%) and 91% of all consumers prefer a live agent.
However, this preference follows a downward trend generationally: 98% of the silent generation, 96% of baby boomers, 91% of generation X, 86% of millennials and 83% of generation Z say they prefer a live agent.
The core message is that seamless digital-first omnichannel experiences are vital to positive customer experiences, the report suggests.
Most consumers (93%) want seamless omnichannel experiences, and yet they are increasingly giving companies a poor rating on seamlessly switching between channels – 73% give companies a poor rating, up from 67% in 2018.
This is especially important for meeting and exceeding the expectations of millennials and generation Z, who are the most likely to have experienced omnichannel customer service (16% and 21%, respectively).