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Customer service in retail: Why millennials and Generation Z have to take precedence

Customer service in retail: Why millennials and Generation Z have to take precedence

Millennials and Generation Z will soon make up roughly two thirds of the global population. It’s time to adjust to their customer service needs.

Over the last ten years, companies have had to grapple with a number of changes. The millennials and their changing requirements have probably received the most attention: countless columns, conferences and commentaries have sought to answer the question of how these better-informed, connected and demanding customers have changed the ways in which companies can make contact with their audience. But the next generation is already standing by. And they are poised to have an even greater impact than their predecessors.

Customer service for Generation Z

The members of Generation Z — currently between 4 and 23 years old — are the first “digital natives,” raised in the age of the internet and with little memory of life before the smartphone. The forecast delivered by the cultural strategists at Cassandra suggests that, by 2020, Generation Z will be the largest consumer group and will spend between 29 and 143 billion dollars every year.

Companies will therefore have to cater to the expectations of these new consumers. But what are Generation Z’s expectations?

The challenges

In a nutshell, Generation Z has little patience and high expectations. They have always lived in a society in which more or less anything is on offer around the clock. Nothing less than an extraordinary degree of customer service must be provided for them in a channel designed specifically for them, as and when they want it. This involves taking into account not just channels like WhatsApp or Instagram but also new technologies such as speech-controlled devices or Smart Homes.

Companies therefore require a platform which consolidates all of these channels for the customer service provider, and provides them with a complete customer history including all interactions and information. This platform makes it possible to provide personalized service, to recommend next best actions or to give suggestions specially designed for the individual needs of the customer.

In this way, companies can earn ambassadors and fans for their brand — if they get it right. If they get it wrong, the very same customers who would normally give a good review will be just as likely to take to Twitter to complain. A UK study carried out by Arvato CRM Solutions revealed that 95% of customers would discuss a bad experience with a friend. And 54% would tell more than five people about it.

Effective customer service when something goes wrong

When problems arise, customer service personnel are often the first who can try to maintain the relationship between customer and brand. Good training and an equally good understanding of the customer journey help them to be sympathetic and constructive when dealing with frustrated customers.

Some companies are going even further and rethinking their whole approach to customer service. Recently, T-Mobile announced the introduction of a new program in America called “Team of Experts.” The program gives customers a dedicated team of specialists who can be contacted by phone or email to answer questions or solve problems. This should reduce the need to call back and, most importantly, improve the perception of the company’s customer service.


The desires and needs of the millennials and Generation Z will soon be a driving force in customer-relationship management. If companies meet these demands, they will be able to tap into great potential. If they do not, they risk losing valuable customers forever.



Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.
Image: © zinkevych – AdobeStock

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