5 Generations and Their CX Expectations: Exploring the Differences and Similarities

Stephanie Clarke | Tuesday, Jun 28th 2022
Smiling multi-generation family using wireless technology while relaxing at their penthouse.

Unless your business is targeting one particular age group, aiming your communication initiatives at one specific generation at the exclusion of the others is not ideal.

So how can you effectively communicate with multiple generations when each age group has a different comfort level with technology?

5 Generations and Their CX Expectations: Exploring the Differences and Similarities

Source: the ebook “Managing the CX Demands of 5 Generations”.

The solution is a hybrid physical/digital strategy.

Taking this approach will make interacting with your organization comfortable for every one of your target audiences because they will be engaged on their preferred channel.

But before you can develop your this strategy you need to know how each generation of your customer group is similar and different.

Here are a few key points to consider.

Preferred Method of Communication

Even though technology is widespread in today’s society, members of the Silent Generation still prefer to communicate with a company by speaking with a real person over the phone or face-to-face. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are happy to communicate these ways as well, although they are equally comfortable interacting with organizations via email too. According to a survey conducted by OpenMarket, Millennials would rather text to communicate with a business vs. a phone call or email. On the other hand, Campaign Monitor reported that the youngest of the target groups, Generation Z, prefer to communicate with brands in the following ways: social media, email, face-to-face, ads, chat and a company’s blog.

Tone and Manner of the Communication

As with the preferred method of communication, the expectations each of the generations have for the tone and manner of the communications they receive from organizations are wide and varied. The Silent Generation expect communications to be respectful and somewhat formal. Baby Boomers anticipate a polite and personable experience. Members of Generation X prefer communications to be streamlined and positive and if they’re not, they are quick to switch to a competitor. Millennials raise the stakes with their expectations being that communications should be fast and tailored to their individual preferences. Generation Z has grown up with technology. Consequently they are very self-sufficient. They don’t need to speak to your staff or require assistance. As a result, they expect any company communications to be simple, efficient and to the point.

5 Generations and Their CX Expectations: Exploring the Differences and Similarities

Source: https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/07/marketing-across-generations.html

Online Transactions

Don’t expect the Silent Generation to purchase anything from your company website. In a survey conducted by Deloitte, it was reported that 25% of the Silent Generation had never used online banking before and 44% had never used a mobile banking app. Baby Boomers have dipped their toe into the world of online financial transactions. Facebook research stated that approximately 30% shop online. Generation X is quite comfortable executing mobile payments and do so regularly. Millennials do, too, and many take it one step further employing mobile wallets and branded mobile payment apps to complete purchases. Of the five generations being profiled, Generation Z represents the largest group of mobile payment users.

Preferred CX Experience

When it comes to the type of CX experience each groups prefers, there’s an interesting range. The Silent Generation value a high-touch customer experience. They want to experience a sense of human connection. Baby boomers place priority on CX being solutions oriented. First and foremost, when they interact with a company or organization, they want to resolve their reason(s) for reaching out.

Generation X also appreciates a streamlined approach to CX, but one that also features the ability to complete transactions quickly and earn rewards. Millennials and Generation Zers are similar to the Silent Generation in that they want a high-touch experience too. The difference is in how it is delivered. They prefer to interact with companies digitally but when they do they want those interactions to be customized to their profile, location, previous interactions, shopping history, etc. 

Delve deeper into the similarities and differences between the groups that make up your target audience. Download the ebook “Managing the CX Demands of 5 Generations”.

5 Generations and Their CX Expectations: Exploring the Differences and Similarities