Younger generations are more likely to start their self-serve journeys outside company-owned channels. According to Gartner, 52% of millennials and 44% of Gen Z customers have as much confidence in noncompany guidance as in customer service guidance.
A Gartner survey of more than 4,500 customers conducted in December 2020 revealed that most millennials (62%) and Gen Z customers (75%) report they would use noncompany guidance (such as a subreddit, Google search or YouTube video) to self-resolve their issues either all or most of the time, even when they have the option of contacting customer service.
This is a significant difference from the 19% of baby boomers and 43% of Gen X customers who report they would do the same.
“This tendency among younger generations to rely on noncompany channels should not be viewed as a problem for customer service and support leaders. In fact, service leaders should embrace this trend as it helps to increase customer loyalty,” said Deborah Alvord, senior director analyst in the Gartner Customer Service and Support Practice.
She revealed that customers who use noncompany channels report high levels of satisfaction, some even higher than customers who began their journeys on other channels.
Gartner research shows that net promoter scores (NPS) and value enhancement scores (VES) are higher among customers who begin their issue resolution journeys outside the company’s service and support channels.
The bad news: this trend will not disappear anytime soon.
“Service and support leaders need to expand the scope of their voice of the customer programs to better reflect customer behaviour that includes the more frequent use of noncompany channels by younger customers,” said Alvord.
Action items for CS&S leaders:
- Audit the entire customer service journey by researching the most common service issues solved in popular search engines.
- Ensure company-owned webpages dominate the first page of search engine results by investing in search engine optimization (SEO).
- Dedicate a portion of employees to reviewing third-party content to enable customer service representatives to confidently dispel misleading or incorrect information in their service interactions with customers.
- Enable service and support employees to create issue resolution content on the third-party site's customers most frequently visit so they can have credible information to resolve issues themselves.