GenZ and their phone aversion!

Marketing, News,

A recent report on GenZ in The Times says that 25% of those aged 18-34 have never answered their phone. While most of us may have moved from buying ringtones to consistently having our phones on silent over the years, this is still a shocking statistic. The same people that appear to be constantly connected, flitting between Apps at speed and platforms such as TikTok, refuse to use the communication method that delivered so much computing power to their pockets…

What does that mean to the rest of us?

1. How else can we communicate with GenZ?

We may find we need to provide alternate ways for these potential customers to contact us and for us to contact them if they’re reluctant to take or make a call. Think about options such as LiveChat, WhatsApp, text etc. Speed may not be vital, given many of the current alternative to making a call can require emails to be submitted, reviewed and replied to.

Given GenZ’s clear preference for it’s own way of doing things, you may need to implement a combination of all of these options and, over time, more besides!

2. What constraints might we need to overcome?

Are there restraints for you around any of those alternate methods that you need to solve?

For example, we’re encouraged by our Association not to use WhatsApp, as there is no easily retained record of the messages, and screen shotting them all is counter productive for efficiency. 

Similarly, some businesses may find it difficult to service a LiveChat option internally. AI may be a solution here, but again, there will be a need for exploration and set-up for the outcome to be convincing.

3. Can we educate GenZ to limit the need for communication?

It may help to make enough information easily available on our websites, in a user-friendly format GenZ will use, to enable them to self-serve, if practical.

It may require time and effort to build a knowledge base that provides enough information in suitable bite-sized pieces that are suitably accessible, and you may need to add to your existing infrastructure or allow extra resources to do so. Video is obviously likely to be a winning format here, but they need to be interesting and relevant.

4. What are the likely implications to our own businesses?

Looking closer to home, what happens to your own business model if your team are that reluctant to make or receive calls? You’ll need to think about how can you work around it and still build and reinforce customer relationships? 

What will the training need be for your business if younger recruits aren’t as confident or able when using the phone as older recruits have been?

It’s easy for those of us who grew up tucking a phone under our chin to carry on with tasks while chatting on the phone to think this reluctance to use the phone for it’s intended purpose is a really odd thing, but 25% of this demographic is HUGE and we need to be aware of it. 

One size won’t fit all!

Many older members of the population actively prefer to call someone to resolve an issue, but Gen Z simply aren’t going to.

As business owners, we need to ensure that we’re making it possible for ALL members of our customer base, and potential customers, to feel comfortable to deal with us by putting ourselves in their shoes when designing our customer experiences.

Having numerous entry points and methods of communication can only be beneficial for the future.

It’d be easy to dismiss this report, saying ‘these are just kids’ but that age group aren’t any longer, so we’re going to need to consider how we adjust to accommodate their preferences.  

The full Times article is here.

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