Globally, 86% of young internet users in developed countries are digital natives. That number is set to double over the next five years.
These consumers have new expectations in terms of their interactions with companies – whether they’re buying clothes, eating out, or securing childcare.
So whatever your business model, here are five steps to help you cater to those new expectations – without alienating your existing customers or doing a total business overhaul.
- Solicit active feedback
- Create focus groups
- Improve your customer experience
- Ramp up self-service support
- Create personalised digital content
Solicit active feedback
Digital native consumers aren’t passive information receptors. Most consumers expect conversation. They value the opportunity to interact with your brand.
And in the digital age, every consumer is a potential reviewer – with a potentially global reach. This can work for you or against you. It’s great when the reviews are positive and inspire uptake from other digital natives. It’s bad when frustrated voices take to social media to vent.
The fact consumer feedback can be so volatile might persuade you to shut down consumer engagement altogether. Avoid that impulse.
Instead, proactively invite conversation. Channel engagement through the right touchpoints, so you harness positive sentiment but mitigate negativity before it becomes public.
How your company can deal with feedback
Solicit regular feedback through private channels so you can raise (and handle) any issues before consumers vent publicly. Email is classic but mobile messaging is also fantastic because it allows you to invite feedback in real-time, when it’s most relevant.
Encourage consumers who leave positive feedback to extend their feedback to a public forum, like social media or online review sites, where they’ll help build your credibility amongst other digital native consumers.
Create focus groups
To tap into digital native markets, seek constructive input from those same markets. Embedding digital native perspectives into your business helps you understand how you can better align with those consumers.
Perhaps you could tap into a hot new product trend. Or maybe you could repackage your services in a more appealing way. Or you could uncover a new social media platform.
How you can leverage focus groups
Build focus groups that include voices from digital natives. They could help develop your product or service offering, for instance. Or they could suggest ideas for a compelling branding refresh.
Online surveys are a fantastic option as well. Offering incentives – like a promo code or exclusive access – helps encourage participation and shows you value your audience’s time.
Improve your customer experience
Customer experience is vital for digital natives. These consumers have grown up with technology. They expect fast, seamless, intuitive experiences, to achieve what they need without friction.
How to boost your customers’ experience
Map your complete customer journey to spot any potential potholes, so you can work out how to resolve them. Also assess possible shortcuts to help customers get from A to B more easily.
Ask questions like:
- How many steps does it take for your customer to buy something?
- How long does it take for customer support to reply to queries?
- Are your different channels consistent in voice and tone?
- Are you conveying information in an engaging way?
- How well do you keep customer data safe?
- How long does your website take to load?
Investment in the right places can work wonders for your customer experience. Digital natives are typically intolerant of any speed restriction, hurdle or frustration when dealing with you.
Consider this checklist:
- Embed chat technology so you can answer customer questions 24/7
- Increase customer service headcount to decrease service wait times
- Modernise your website back-end to improve load times
- Secure support from UX professionals to ensure your site is optimally designed
Also consider the channels you use. Digital native audiences expect powerful, engaging digital content, especially video. YouTube watch-times are growing by 60% year-on-year across the MENA region.
Ramp up self-service support
Digital natives expect digital self-service support – that is, support they can access without any direct interaction from your team. So they can solve their problem themselves, without having to talk to anyone or waste time.
- Globally 70% of consumers expect a company website to include a self-service application.
- Globally 40% of consumers prefer self-service contact to human contact overall.
This applies pre-sales and during sales, not just to customer support. To attract digital natives , you need to empower them to find what they need independently.
How to give your customers the right support
FAQs are crucial. Work with your support team to brainstorm questions that customers could have – and then write comprehensive answers. Embed multi-media such as videos and pictures to make your support resources more useful and engaging. Consider instructional or how-to-assemble videos.
If you’ve got the budget, you could use AI tools that use natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis. These create an engaging, human-like experience – but through an anytime- anywhere chat interface.
Create personalised digital content
Digital natives are exposed to marketing content constantly. They’ve typically become adept at filtering out the advertising ‘noise’.
One way around this challenge is creating personalised content that is attuned to consumers’ unique needs. The more relevant your content, the more interesting it’s likely to be to your (current and future) customers. And the more likely you’ll cut through the noise to gain their attention.
Personalisation is a tactic suited to every business – regardless of sector, business model, or budget. There’s a huge spectrum of approaches on offer, from simple email field personalisation to comprehensive account-based marketing.
How to personalise content for your customers
Email personalisation technology is a basic requirement, so you can reach a huge audience with the illusion of writing one-to-one. “Dear customer” emails are long since ineffective.
Also evaluate your email segmentation policies. How well you segment your customers dictates how well you can personalise content. Collect data like location, device and interests so you can build customised offers that are more likely to resonate with certain segments.
Right now, non-digital native consumers likely represent a significant portion of your customer base. That’s changing, and it’s changing fast. So it makes sense that as the sources of spending powder change, your business needs to adapt – or risk becoming obsolete.