Las Vegas, NV—NICE inContact revealed findings from its global research study exploring the impact of millennials and generation Z on digital-first omnichannel customer experiences.
The third annual NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark details how understanding the younger generations’ use of and expectations around next-generation solutions is fundamental to building best-in-class customer experiences. The solutions include the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital channels, such as private social messaging.
Millennials & Generation Z: Dominant Consumers
Millennials and generation Z are becoming dominant consumer groups. Generation Z purchasing has already reached an estimated $100 billion, according to research conducted by Barkley. As a result, their comfort level and familiarity with multiple digital channels, including social messaging and chatbots, means organizations, no matter their size, must provide digital-first omnichannel experiences to meet consumer expectations and effectively compete in the experience economy, asserted NICE.
Among the key findings: almost 60% of generation Z and millennials have used private social messaging for customer service. In contrast, 38% of gen X, 19% of baby boomers and 16% of the silent generation have done so. Generation Z and millennials also want companies to allow them to interact with customer service using private social messaging apps; (72% and 69%, respectively).
47% of Consumers Agree Companies Should Offer Private Social Messaging Apps for Customer Service
In addition, the study found that consumers are using AI more and feeling more positive about chatbots over time. “Half of all consumers have used AI for any purpose (50%), compared to 2018 (45%). This is attributed to a significant increase in the use of an automated assistant/chatbot online (34%, up from 25% in 2018).”
Moreover, generation Z/millennials are more likely to agree chatbots make it easier and quicker for issues to get resolved. They’re also the most likely generations to use all forms of AI for any purpose, and for customer service.
Consumers Prefer to Interact with Live Agents More Than Chatbots and Want to Know Immediately If They Are Communicating with a Chatbot
Notably, however, NICE revealed that half of consumers who start with AI are transferred to a live agent; age is also a significant factor when it comes to AI and the importance of the human touch. While chatbot usage and performance are improving—and preferences and attitudes are changing—most consumers want to know if they are using a chatbot (92%) and 91% of all consumers prefer a live agent.
According to the research, this preference follows a downward trend generationally: 98% of the silent generation; 96% of baby boomers; 91% of generation X; 86% of millennials; and 83% of generation Z say they prefer a live agent.
All in all, NICE believes “seamless digital-first omnichannel experiences are vital to positive customer experiences.”
Most consumers (93%) want seamless omnichannel experiences; however, they are increasingly giving companies a poor rating on seamlessly switching between channels: 73% give companies a poor rating, up from 67% in 2018.
Consumers Expect to Be Directed to Quick Resolutions, Seamless Access to Live Agents, and Seamless Experiences between Methods
The company asserts this is especially important for meeting and exceeding the expectations of millennials and generation Z. They are the most likely to have experienced omnichannel customer service (16% and 21%, respectively).
“Understanding the nuances of what consumers expect, and how they actually engage with brands via a myriad of digital channels, and integrating these in-demand channels seamlessly to deliver digital-first omnichannel experiences, is key to sustainable growth,” said Paul Jarman, NICE inContact CEO.
“The NICE inContact CX Benchmark looks beyond education around demographic customer service trends; it gets to the root of what makes new channel options attractive. Millennials and generation Z are bellwethers of what consumers expect; they are increasingly likely to recommend a company on social media based on personal experiences. The influence they wield is tremendous.”
Jarman believes that key findings of the NICE inContact CX Transformation Benchmark demonstrate that as consumer preferences evolve and the types and numbers of digital service channels continue to proliferate, companies must look to improve the channels they have in place while expanding the ways customers are able to reach them. The research demonstrates that a seamless digital-first omnichannel approach is crucial to win in today’s experience economy.
2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark
NICE inContact surveyed more than 2,550 consumers across the globe. It asked about their most recent customer service experiences across 13 different channels. They included both agent-assisted and self-service.
NICE is a provider of both cloud and on-premises enterprise software solutions. It is the company’s mission to “empower organizations to make smarter decisions based on advanced analytics of structured and unstructured data.”
Moreover, it helps organizations deliver better customer service, ensure compliance, combat fraud and safeguard citizens.