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CX Gen Z Brand Strategy

3 things brands need to know about Gen Z’s CX expectations

By Matt Swain, Head of Communications Insights and Experiences

March 16, 2022 | 6 min read

Continuing The Drum’s Deep Dive into The New Customer Experience Economy, Broadridge’s Matt Swain has some advice for brands wanting to meet Gen Z’s demands for customizable, personalized customer experiences.

angry gen z

/ Adobe Stock

Don’t look now, but Gen Zers are graduating college. They’re starting salaried jobs. And they’ve got money to spend.

But there’s mounting evidence that companies across industries aren’t ready for these digital natives (those born late 90s and after).

According to the latest Broadridge CX and Communications Insights survey, which polled 3,025 consumers in North America, two-thirds (66%) of Gen Zers say that most of the companies they do business with need to improve their CX.

While CX expectations are high, there’s significant upside for companies that deliver. Recent estimates indicate there are around 68 million Gen Zers in the United States, the oldest of whom are 24, and 74% of them say they would spend more money with a company that provides a good customer experience. Capture this audience now and you’ve got a long runway ahead.

The key to a creating a better CX for Gen Zers? Personalization and customization: 77% of Gen Z believe it’s important for businesses to customize interactions, while 76% are looking for companies to send them digital communications they can customize based on their preferences.

Personalization involves delivering information and content that matches customer expectations based on their specific point in the customer lifecycle. That means accounting for prior interactions with your company, then anticipating what they want to do next. Customization, meanwhile, is about offering a configurable experience that lets customers take a greater role in deciding how to access information, where and when.

To execute both effectively, you need the infrastructure to create and deploy digital interactions across relevant touchpoints. As you strategize ways to deliver for Gen Zers, here are three capabilities you should consider investing in.

1. QR codes are back

If this year’s Super Bowl commercial from Coinbase is any indication, QR codes are back – and for good reason. The ad simply contained music and a QR code bouncing around on a black screen, yet more than 20 million people scanned it, causing the Coinbase website to crash.

The value that QR codes bring to customer communications has not gone unnoticed: 78% of Gen Zers say they expect to see QR codes on printed communications.

QR codes give customers the option to easily move from printed communications to a mobile environment where they can take action or engage with a more customizable digital experience.

Why do QR codes work? Well, it turns out that, despite the general trend toward digital, 90% of Gen Z still values getting some physical mail communications from the companies they do business with. So there’s opportunity to deliver engaging digital experiences, even while paper communications persist.

2. Predictive analytics and preference management

Nearly half of all Gen Z respondents said they’d be willing to share personal information to enhance the customer experience. That’s promising because true personalization in marketing requires both data and the capability to easily access and employ that data to inform your next customer interaction.

To that end, it’s advantageous to invest in predictive analytics and preference management. Available platforms enable marketing teams to automate omni-channel communications based on customer behavior, delivery preferences and expressed interests (measured by various metrics including clicks, dwell time, account data, past purchases, etc.).

By aggregating and analyzing all existing customer data, predictive analytics will help make informed decisions about what this generation – across a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences – needs or wants next. Along with a deeper understanding of their individual preferences, you can establish next-best-action logic to automatically trigger the appropriate communication.

Whether you aim to cross sell, increase engagement, boost loyalty or make an account stickier, the key – as always – is to nail timing and relevance. An analytics engine tied to your communications platform can help make it happen.

3. Customizable digital documents

With Gen Z moving to mobile to pay bills and interact with companies more than any other generation, ensuring digital documents are customizable and tailored is imperative. When it comes to bills, statements, and other transactional communications, it’s important to think beyond static PDFs. Static PDFs are limited for several reasons. First, they don’t render well on mobile screens. Second, you can’t interact with them. Customers are forced to stay passive consumers of generic information.

This generation wants to see interactive bills and statements, providing them with the ability to choose which information to hide, view and further explore. This also means providing easy access to customer support should they need it.

Importantly, it’s not just Gen Zers who want this. In fact, 67% of all survey respondents said they’d like to see companies implement digital interactive documents with customizable sections.

Although some companies have been able to wow Gen Zers with innovative experiences, the majority continue to offer experiences designed more than a decade ago. The need to innovate is imminent. Many organizations still rely on complex legacy systems for creating and managing communications, which limits their ability to customize and personalize the experience.

The good news is that there are communications platforms designed to make it easier than ever to catch up. Gen Zers are moving quicker than many companies. Organizations that don’t invest in the latest technologies risk missing out on understanding and capturing this critical group of digital natives in years to come.

Matt Swain is managing director for Broadridge Communications and CX Consulting.

For more on The New Customer Experience Economy, check out The Drum’s latest Deep Dive.

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