Like other generations, Gen Z can’t help but be products of and respond to their environment. In the US, they have and are coming of age in a time period of threats and insecurity as well as a time in which everything is at their finger-tips. The challenges Gen Zs face include finding authentic, real information and products and increasing personalized experiences while maintaining security and privacy.
Where B2C companies are focusing on the Gen Z customer experience from a purchasing standpoint, B2B companies should place equal priority on the employee experience. The oldest of Generation Z are now or soon entering the labor market and, where they may not have much influence over B2B purchasing at the moment, they will in the near future and they are already impacting the recruiting, hiring and employee experience. So, what can you do to ensure your B2B Employee Experience (EX) and Customer Experience (CX) is up to the standards of Gen Zs?
Build Trust with Authentic & Secure Experiences:
Given the vast amount of information, media and products available to Generation Zs, they can quickly decipher between that which is real and fake. They do not waste their time on schemes. Instead, Gen Zs seek authentic and secure transactions and interactions.
To win-over Gen Z, B2B companies should evaluate and adapt their recruiting, marketing and sales approaches to connect with them in a genuine way that is also secure. Build Trustpoints into the Customer Journey and make it clear to Gen Z customers that the business’ products are reliable and will keep their personal information secure. Break-down complex messaging, processes and product offerings into bite-sized pieces to enhance transparency and appeal to Gen Zs. And, don’t just appear authentic, be authentic by developing and executing on company values. Gen Zs can quickly spot false intentions.
Gen Zs want an experience that is tailored to their own likes and dislikes (Huffington Post, 2017). Further, they are looking for more than just functionality, they are looking for an emotional experience (EY, 2016). Generation Z refuse to be put into a target audience group and will challenge mass market approaches, pushing companies to individualize interactions and offerings.
Personalized experiences must be dynamic – otherwise, they are not personalized. For EX, consider supporting flatter organizational structures, personalized benefits, dynamic work spaces such as open office, meeting rooms, private rooms, working off-site – even the dreaded cubicle – and more. For CX, without invading privacy and getting too personal of course, consider how your business can learn more about individual customers and create tailored personas to help develop personalized offerings. Going beyond empathetic CX by listening and caring about individual outcomes can yield positive business results.
Offer Convenience and Instant Gratification:
Gen Zs want immediate results at all times and across channels. For example, they don’t want to wait for 2-day shipping. Thirty-nine percent of Gen Zs want one-hour delivery by drone. (American Experss, 2016)
To meet the Gen Z demand for convenience, B2B companies will need to design and provide on-demand, seamless and phygital experiences both for EX and CX. Use products that facilitate work-flows such as MS Cortana, touch projectors or white boards, 3D tables, holographic lenses and more. Offer personalized support when and where it is relevant to team members and customers. Further, ensure that your efforts yield immediate results. For B2B, offering immediate results does not necessarily mean that there is an instant resolution, but at a minimum an instant response and indication of timely action toward a resolution must be given.
Make Them Feel Appreciated:
Generation Zs expect to be rewarded for their efforts at work and for their patronage.
In the work force, Gen Zs are self-reliant and competitive. Many of them lived through the economic recession of the housing crisis and were impacted by the experience, whether directly or indirectly. Gen Zs expect a level of independence and will work hard, but expect to be rewarded for their efforts. Rewards, for Generation Z, are not always tied to tangible or financial gain and should be personalized in order to be valuable.
As customers, they want to earn rewards, especially those that are individualized and make them feel like part of an elite club. In B2B contexts, this could mean customizing product or service pricing or membership plans based on usage and/or contribution to the greater community of customers as well as personalized recognition.
For Generation Z, it’s all about the experience. Over time, will Gen Z’s behaviors look more like Millennials’ behaviors now? At this point, it is difficult to determine, but these behaviors may change as the generation ages, enters the work force, incurs debt and begins spending more of their own money. Still, with Generation Z entering the labor market and inching toward 40% of the total consumer market, it is essential that companies continue to evaluate and adapt their experience strategies.