KPIs & Metrics

What Role Do Customer Demographics, Including Generations, Play in Customer Service?

Should you have different service options when your customers are spread across demographics? Here are some factors to consider.

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As a brand’s customer base diversifies, one thing customer service leaders may need to consider doing is adapting customer service for different generations. Consider the case of one start-up that had historically served younger audiences. Its customer service reps provided support almost entirely online, through e-mail and chat and even on social media. Yet when the company launched a technology geared toward Baby Boomers aging in place, it began to experience an increased demand for phone-based support. The company’s leadership initially rejected this as too intensive but quickly learned that in order to secure the market, it had to offer the channel as an option. Here’s a closer look at how to determine whether changing customer demographics, such as generations, means a pivot is in store for your customer service delivery model.

Why generational generalizations are helpful—and not helpful at all: Broad generalizations that are based on age can help marketers better understand their audiences, with an important caveat. Take the case of married couples in their early 30s. In many instances, it’s safe to assume that these individuals are evaluating their family planning goals. However, many people are choosing to not have children or to have nontraditional family models. While generational context is helpful—for example, understanding that Gen Z customers tend to seek support online—it’s important to validate those generalizations with data from your own audience.

Base your decisions on data: The most important data to consider when shifting your customer service model are your own audience data. Trends in your own data can help you make key decisions. If you’re noticing an increase in demand for social media-based support, for example, the latest data from your audience can solidify whether that investment makes sense over the long term. Ask people what they want, but also explore how they’re accessing your service.

Focus on format and content: Different customer groups may want access to support in different formats. But they may also have different expectations of what service looks like. The eyewear retailer Warby Parker exemplifies this with its @WarbyParkerHelp Twitter account. The retailer provides consultations. Audiences who have grown accustomed to personalized experiences love this, and other customers are quick to get on board. By meeting the needs of one group, it pioneered a service that many love.

If you’re predominantly serving one customer group, expanding your reach may require diversification. As you grow your customer service delivery and options, you’ll continue to level up your customer experience for a wider audience.