‘Generation Z’ has proven themselves to be a difficult group for businesses and marketers to understand. However, their methods and reasoning are not nearly as complicated as it may appear.
Really, all you need is a shift in perspective. Generation Z is the first to grow up where the internet is ubiquitous. They are also deeply integrated into the philosophies of open-source and community sharing. That said, they have over $44 billion in spending power and they’re not afraid to use it! By looking at their open-source mindset, you can learn how to better connect with them.
In this article, we will introduce you to a few key philosophies that Generation Z grew up with, and show you how they relate back to your business goals.
Generation Z likes readily available self-service help
The open-source philosophy for problem solving is to bring it online and get feedback, contributing to or creating solutions of your own when possible. For example, you can see this carried out on user-question oriented sites such as Yahoo! Answers or Quora. This style of problem solving has lead to a wealth of online documentation and tutorials – some from peers, and some from official sources.
An impressive 31 percent of Generation Z prefers to use the internet to solve their problems, compared to only 18 percent of Millennials. In a nutshell, they like having the option to find an answer themselves, rather than relying on someone to hand it to them.
This can be implemented initially through a dedicated online self-service platform. To quickly sum up the steps:
- Create a subsection of your site for support-related questions and answers.
- Start with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about your products and services.
- Organize these FAQs into easy-to-understand categories.
- Offer a search option to help the user find a specific answer quickly.
- Use these public links to provide instant help on platforms such as social media.
Of course, there’s not just FAQs to consider. Providing multiple delivery methods such as thorough online documentation, self-serve solutions, and even group-sourced answers enables Generation Z to exhaust every self-help opportunity before having to pick up the phone and call you for an answer.
Contributing value is a key consideration
The open-source philosophy on consumerism is to work on the core issues openly and together, offering specializations and products that make it simpler to drive the marketplace. The economy of WordPress is a good example. The software itself is open-source and available at WordPress.org. Meanwhile, digital experience platforms like WP Engine offer a hosted version of the same software, but customized to take the setup hassle away from users.
Structures like this have made baseline quality available for free or incredibly cheap. Extra value (such as training, convenience, or expertise) comes at an increased cost. As such, Generation Z is aware of both the free and premium options, and is accustomed to paying for unique additional value rather than having basic needs met.
In fact, 21 percent of Generation Z respondents said poor features or social media non-responsiveness would likely make them stop using a product, service, or brand – more than double that of Millennials. In other words, quality and value-based pricing is important to the point that it affects whether Generation Z will continue using a service.
To better manage customer expectations, you can follow these steps throughout your marketing campaigns:
- Illustrate the complexity of the problem you’re solving by listing the number of solutions available.
- Be transparent by explaining your approach.
- Be optimistic and realistic, explaining what they can expect without overselling it.
Once you’ve made the sale, you’ll also want to make sure your business is easy to get in touch with – especially on social media.
They see communication as a two-way street
The open-source philosophy on work style and communication is to be ultra-connected, working as a unit while respecting the talents of the contributors. This extends to the users of open-source software, letting them leave reviews and report bugs directly to the developers. In short, everyone gets a voice.
In much the same way, Generation Z wants to be informed, given the chance to respond, and have their issues heard and acknowledged. They want to be able to show a business how a product should be improved, and see a direct effort to resolve it.
Ultimately, Generation Z is looking to get in touch with you online – in fact, they were 100 percent more likely to prefer online chatting than Millennials! The takeaway is that Generation Z wants to speak with brands where they’re most comfortable: in online forums and social media.
One way you can be proactive with regard to this is to do customer outreach through online surveys:
- Research the topics customers are most often contacting your business about.
- Draft between five to ten questions, preferably not asking for simple “Yes” or “No” answers.
- Offer an incentive for completing the survey.
- Create your survey using a platform such as TellForm.
- Publicize your survey through email and social media.
Again, this isn’t the only way you can get onboard. Don’t be afraid to revisit the way you’ve built your customer support platform, and explore other methods such as live chat. The key point to remember is that by posting to social media about your results and the actions you’re taking to address them, you’re speaking directly to Generation Z, which could provide a boost to your fortunes.
Generation Z is the first to grow up in a world where internet has always existed, perhaps making them the first true digital natives. As such, they have been shaped by many prevalent philosophies that have become more pervasive with the rise of the internet, such as open-source technology.
To recap, there are three major ways this can help you better connect with Generation Z:
- Provide readily available self-service help.
- Prove your company is based on contribution of value.
- Make communication a two-way street.