ServiceNow: Bridging Australia’s Customer Service Generation Gap

All age groups demand speed, transparency and a personalized approach when it comes to resolving customer issues. But a new study from ServiceNow reveals a big gap between how older and younger populations in Australia want problems solved.

Tech-savvy millennials want to communicate through chatbots, email, and direct messages. Baby boomers prefer talking to an operator to solve a problem. Other generations fall somewhere in between. Post-pandemic, many will opt for self-service but will be just as happy to talk to someone, as long as their issue is handled quickly and transparently.

The generation gap creates a conundrum for companies trying to develop a post-COVID-19 customer service mix that works for everyone.

Are you abandoning phone calls to resolve disputes in favor of automation? This can reduce costs, but potentially alienate older segments of your customer base. What about millennials, who want to connect and instantly solve a problem? And how do you connect these different systems so that each team or department can resolve issues quickly?

The answer lies in a streamlined hybrid model where efficiency comes first and customers have real-time visibility into when and how their issue will be resolved.

Something for everyone

The data require a diversified approach. Research shows that 71% of baby boomers prefer talking to a person to solve a problem. That’s nearly four times more than Gen Z (18%) and more than double Gen Y (31%).

The pandemic has led to an overall increase in the number of customers resorting to self-service options when they have problems, with a quarter of survey respondents (including a large proportion of Gen Z) using self-service systems. service. Across all channels, the top priorities are resolving issues quickly (51%) and dealing with one person (44%).

Across all industries, the need to improve customer service comes at a time of rising expectations and demands. More than a third of survey respondents (36%) said their expectations for customer service had increased following the pandemic. One in four said they contacted customer service teams more, causing businesses to take action or risk losing customers.

Find common ground

Different generations are also divided on who is ahead and behind when it comes to resolving customer complaints. Although everyone agrees that the telecommunications industry and government departments are the worst, Gen Z and Millennials believe the food and beverage industry needs to step up its efforts to solve customer problems .

Perhaps this divide is directly related to what constitutes good customer service. For Gen Z, it’s about resolving issues quickly and receiving compensation or special offers to fix issues. Older generations think it’s about customer service agents knowing their contact details while still being able to talk to someone based in the country.

Despite the differences, there is one thing the generations agree on: no one likes to wait. Yet Australians have recorded 89.5 million hours lost on hold over the past 18 months. And a third of people (31%) say wait times are getting worse. Now is the time for businesses to overhaul their customer service departments.

A roadmap for the future

In 2022, customer experience will continue to be critical to business success, forcing organizations to streamline their complaint resolution processes for a smooth, fast, and foolproof approach. Success will be built around customer satisfaction. The quality of complaint resolution is integral to a positive customer experience, directly influencing where consumers spend their money and their loyalty to your brand.

To find a solution that satisfies all age groups, organizations must rethink their mix of service models while ensuring transparency at every step of the process, so customers know exactly what is happening and when.

Many organizations will look to a hybrid model that prioritizes scanning but provides the ability to talk to team members, while simultaneously reducing wait times. Ensuring front, middle and back office teams are connected will avoid bottlenecks and enable automation to increase speed, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Whatever the solution, the focus should be on delivery: an efficient and authentic experience that makes customers feel valued.

To learn more, read our ebook: Evolving Customer Experiences and Expectations in Australia.

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