Angry shoppers

Seems like the kids are impatient. In a blunt analysis of human behavior, advertising analytics firm Marchex said it found that “Generation Z surpassed Millennials as the consumer group with the shortest attention spans who are the fastest to hang up while on hold and the quickest to curse at customer service agents.”

The company developed the analysis from 2.3 million consumer phone calls to U.S. businesses this past year. Aside from the seemingly short fuses and shorter attention spans, Marchex said the Generation Z cohort “also has a much higher tendency to make old-fashioned phone calls to businesses they’ve found online than any other age group.”

Why? Because their smartphones are readily available. Marchex said that Generation Z are 2.6 times “more likely to actually call a wireless company” than other cohorts — but it frequently occurs after they texted the wireless company first, Marchex researchers said. With cable companies, they are 2.5 times more likely to make a call compared to other cohorts, and with hotels they are 1.6 times more likely to call.

The study was conducted by analysts from the Marchex Institute, which is the “research and insights arm” at the company.

Sabrina Gravlee, analytics manager at the Marchex Institute, said “businesses tend to arrive late to the party when it comes to understanding young adult customers. Gen Z is fast-emerging behind Millennials with new needs and preferences, and this data shatters the stereotype that Gen Z-ers tend to avoid talking to businesses. The truth is Gen Z places a premium on connecting in real-time over the phone.”

Researchers there said the insight culled from the study can help businesses that are “eager to develop marketing and customer service strategies for today’s youngest group of adults. The study homed in on consumers between the ages of 18 and 24, which Marchex described as “the oldest tier of Gen Z who are now entering the workforce and starting to gain purchasing power.”

The analysts noted that Generation Z are digital natives who were grew up digesting information quickly and across various platforms and sources. And they are consumers who “seek both online and offline options to reach businesses through texts, phone calls, social media, e-mails and even in-store visits.”

Some of the key findings of the study include that Generation Z consumers are 60 percent “more likely than the average consumer” to hang up on a service call if the “phone is not answered within 45 seconds.” Marchex said the lesson here for businesses is that Generation Z values fast and responsive customer service as compared to other demographic cohorts. The researchers also found they are 30 percent more likely to curse over the phone on a service call when they feel that their needs are not being met by the service operator.

And the analysts noted that this generation does not prefer a digital only transaction on a service call. The research revealed that Generation Z is the “most likely of any age group to click-to-call a business from a mobile phone after searching for that business online.”

Gravlee encouraged businesses to key into Generation Z’s “digital fluency on various devices and platforms.”

“Most Gen Z consumers call immediately after a digital interaction — such as after searching for a business on their smartphones — which illustrates the high level of comfort this demographic has in combining online and offline actions during a purchasing process,” the researchers said in the report.

“Gen Z consumers can be speaking to a customer agent, research everything that agent is saying and simultaneously tweet about how great or awful their experience is,” Gravlee explained. “The faster businesses can understand the patterns and preferences of Gen Z, the faster they can gain footing with this next wave of consumer growth and ensure their own success.”

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