Consumer expectations are rising, as is the importance of shared brand values, according to the latest data from market research provider Qualtrics.
To glean some insight into the shifting state of customer expectations, Qualtrics surveyed 9,000 consumers, across a breadth of age brackets, to measure the variance in importance on a range of measures between Gen Z, Baby Boomers and everything in between.
The findings highlight some key considerations for all brands – first off, the data indicates that Gen Z is the most likely to be upset by a negative interaction with a company.
“Gen Z is the generation least likely to report being happy with their customer experience (on a scale of upset to delighted). Gen Z was the most upset by their interactions with federal agencies (only 13% gave a positive rating), followed by investment firms and airlines. Gen Z gave the highest ratings to social media and retail stores.”
Gen Z consumers have grown up with social media and eCommerce, and they increasingly expect brands to cater to their specific needs, while they also know that they have both the means to publicly criticize a company due to negative interactions, and the capacity to easily switch, with a simple online search providing a range of competitor brands.
That’s increased their expectations around customer service and response, and it’s important for brands to consider this in their engagement and actions.
Younger consumers also value public health response, with Gen Z respondents twice as likely as Baby Boomers to stop purchasing from a brand because they felt their safety measures were insufficient. Which also works the opposite way too.
Gen Z consumers also put more emphasis on brand values - potentially a side effect of the social media era - with younger shoppers almost three times as likely as Baby Boomers to say that they were very familiar with the brand values of the products they choose.
With brands now able to communicate more about their business online, that’s opened up more capacity for consumers to also get an understanding of their stances and approach, and that expanded capability to connect with a brand on a deeper level can be a very powerful draw to generate stronger bonds and business.
Indeed, for Gen Z consumers, maintaining a social media presence was the second-highest ranked way for brands to maintain relevance. No other generation ranked social media presence in the top three.
If that insight doesn’t underline the importance of building and maintaining a social media presence, I’m not sure what will – younger consumers want to feel more connected with every business that they buy from, and social media is the key linkage that facilitates such for this group.
There’s a range of additional insights in the full report from Qualtrics, which you can check out here. Some key considerations for marketers, especially those looking to connect with younger audiences.