Optimizing CX for the Everything Customer
A few years back, Gartner coined the phrase the ‘Everything Customer’ describing how CX expectations have expanded to go beyond omni-channel to multi-experience. Multi-experience refers to generating consistent and seamless CX on different digital channels, not just having customer journey touchpoints on different platforms.
As companies seek to understand more about their customers in order to serve up better customer experiences (CX), there’s the realization that they may have embarked on an impossible task. Especially when it comes to meeting the expectations of digital natives such as Gen Z. They’re connected, informed, navigate digital channels at the speed of light, and want everything: accurate and evolving personalization, ethically sourced products, authentic service, value and affordability, convenience and availability, connectedness, and improved privacy. Delivering a multi-experience CX is yet another layer of complexity to add to the already high expectations of digital natives.
As much as marketers might like to dismiss the younger generation as idealistic activists that’ll eventually grow up, the reality is these are the generations entering the workforce in greater numbers. They aren’t easily enticed or influenced by advertising. Rather they’re looking for authenticity and connection that plays out in the experiences they have with a brand.
Why Customer Experience Is Important to Gen Z
Gen Z knows how to use digital channels to get what they want, whether it’s comparing products, finding recommendations and reviews, or locating the best deal. It’s the accepted norm for technology and trends to be constantly changing and upgrading. They also realize their power as customers and aren’t shy about engaging on social media to voice their opinions. They’re a generation that is so used to being constantly connected and online that to be removed from that creates a lot of stress for them. But what does this mean for companies looking to optimize CX to engage with this generation of potential customers?
Companies need to get real, in more ways than one. Authenticity matters, real-time interaction matters, experience matters. Some industry leaders reflect that because Gen Z has grown up with hyper-convenience and hyper-personalization, it’s become the expected norm. To delight and engage Gen Z customers, companies need to do much more. Is it even possible? It is if you leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to ideate and optimize the customer experience.
AI-Driven Optimization for Better CX
To serve up the relevant, contextual and personalized experiences that Gen Z expects, the starting point is having up-to-date customer data. The way to do this is to optimize in real time using live website visitors. The most relevant data becomes available when visitors respond to specific ideas as they browse a website. Being able to track those responses and see how visitors progress through the online customer journey provides a wealth of information. But that is just the starting point.
With ideation at AI-scale, optimizations can include hundreds of ideas in millions of variations and combinations. This means that it becomes possible to identify winning ideas for thousands of unique website visitors quickly and meet the need for speed and relevance that Gen Z are looking for.
Generating relevant CX also means optimizing across multiple devices and platforms. For Gen Z, the go-to device is their mobile phone because it is always on hand and it’s their connection to the world around them. Browsing on mobile is a very different experience compared to desktop and requires a different approach. The display is smaller, scrolling is harder and there’s a limit on how much information can be shared. This makes it critical to be able to find what the winning ideas and combinations are in order to convert customers.
AI-driven optimization is able to adapt optimization elements for mobile and track how each of these ideas perform until the best performing variations emerge. The winning ideas can then be added to or changed to generate even better performance. It becomes possible to meet the Gen Z expectation of unique relevant experiences through AI-driven optimization.
The Everything Customer Wants Privacy Too
While Gen Z may live on social media, they’re becoming increasingly aware of the importance of privacy. Industry trends show that Gen Z is more likely to block cookies or ignore ads, and would rather interact one-on-one on chat than make a phone call. This is where being able to leverage first-party data becomes increasingly important especially with regards to customer retention. It can help generate more personalized experiences by accessing past transactions and interactions. For new customers, it generates insights on what they’re responding to rather than third-party intent or demographic data traditionally provided by cookies. Because the experiences are more relevant and personalized it helps reduce anxieties Gen Z may have regarding privacy.
There’s no doubt that Gen Z is raising the bar in terms of delivering better CX, however, it’s not without challenges and complexities. The good news is that AI is able to navigate these complexities, and even use them to it’s advantage to generate and identify which ideas improve CX. This innovative approach is what’s needed to meet the high CX expectations of Gen Z.