A statue in a business suit, holding a hand looking at a message on a smartphone.

The new generation of consumers are reshaping customer experience like never before. Digitization has launched a new era where brands must be available whenever and wherever to customers, and elevate the level of service they provide.

To learn more about changing consumer habits and expectations, Kustomer surveyed more than 3,000 global consumers of varying ages. The report uncovers the state of channel popularity, new customer journeys and the building blocks for providing exceptional experiences.

Right Here, Right Now

Consumers have access to a quickly growing number of service channels, and the patience that they have for long lines and lengthy resolution times has eroded. The report also found that while older consumers still are satisfied to use voice channels for customer service, Millennial and Gen Z (ages 18-24) consumers are adopting digital-first channels at a higher rate.

Consumers specifically pointed to social messaging (46%), Whatsapp (38%) and SMS or text messaging (39%) as channels they think they will be more likely to use to communicate with brands in the next five years.

Making Modern Messaging Stick

By 2025, it’s predicted that 376.4 billion emails will be sent daily worldwide, up by nearly 23% over five years. The sheer volume of emails consumers must sort through may create “inbox fatigue” and hinder the ability to conduct efficient business conversations, making email a less appealing choice for brands who want to stand out.

The study found that only 39% of consumers respond to emails multiple times a day. On the other hand, 52% respond to text messages multiple times a day. In addition, 52% of Gen Z consumers said they check their social media notifications multiple times a day, which was more than any other age range. This makes channels such as text messaging and social media a stronger choice for generating engagement with consumers and making your brand messaging stick.

Social-First Commerce

The channels that consumers use to make purchases and connect with brands are now blurring. In particular, social media is becoming a popular way for younger consumers to interact with the brands they know and love. According to the survey, consumers between the ages of 18 to 34 follow an average of four to six different brands on social media, while those over 55 follow none. Younger individuals were also more likely to prefer brands that are active on social media.

Brands also have the opportunity to use social media to drive business. While email remained the most popular way to receive discounts and offers for all age groups, 79% of consumers report they would appreciate receiving a discount code from a brand they’ve interacted with on social media.

New CX Priorities

To succeed at omnichannel support, brands need to focus on building long-lasting relationships with customers through every channel they’re active on. To do this at scale, Kustomer’s report recommends prioritizing the following:

  1. Convenience: 89% of consumers currently think customer service should be easier and more convenient than it is. With CX teams already facing high workloads, businesses must leverage technology tools and artificial intelligence to eliminate time spent on menial, repetitive tasks.
  2. Connection: In a digital-first world, it’s essential that CX teams act as the human face of a brand. 83% of consumers expect agents to reflect the brand’s ethos and values, and 82% appreciate when businesses communicate with them in a friendly, conversational manner.
  3. Continuous conversations: Ticket-based systems that prioritize positive metrics over relationships are no longer cutting it. Eighty-one percent of consumers said they appreciate proactive support, and 73% appreciate follow up after the fact. A modern-day CX platform can provide agents with a more comprehensive view of their customers, giving them the ability to better serve their needs.

Conclusion

To win customers over, brands need to show up for them. Building a true omnichannel presence provides customers with a consistent, seamless experience on their terms, a key ability in an environment where more than 50% of consumers say they stop doing business with a brand if they are not on the channel of their choice. It also empowers agents to solve issues more effectively and build real, ongoing relationships with customers who were once viewed through a transactional lens. These types of actions will prepare companies to serve the next generation of consumers.

To learn more about modern CX messaging, download the full report from Kustomer here.