But older customers more likely to punish poor user experience
A new study from technology specialist Ricoh Europe has highlighted generational differences in customer service expectations. Older age groups are revealed as being less forgiving to brands, while younger customers expect far more information at the consideration stage and deep post-sales interaction to build lasting relationships with brands.
The research found that 62% of over 55s would walk away from brands with laborious sales processes, compared to 43% of 16-24 year olds. Of all age groups, 55% of customers would abandon the opportunity to purchase if they found the process difficult.
However, younger age groups value far more developed brand interactions than their older peers. Added services, such as the inclusion of third-party reviews and recommendations, are vastly more important to younger consumers. 43% of 16-24 year olds rated this as the factor that impressed them most when choosing to buy from a brand, compared to only 20% of over 55s.
Older customers were also revealed as being less interested in loyalty programmes and incentives for frequent purchases. Only 19% felt this was an impressive factor, compared to 38% of 16-24 year olds.
Javier Diez-Aguirre, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, CSR & Environment, Ricoh Europe, said: “Our research highlights a core challenge facing brands today – how they can navigate a varied set of preferences from customers across generations. Brands must make sure their customer-facing processes, platforms and technology are on-point with regular reviews set to ensure ongoing suitability and optimal impact. For those that get it right the rewards are there for the taking, with 57% of customers spending more with brands that made them feel valued.”
Ricoh’s research also found that customers are increasingly going to great lengths to access information pre-purchase. Besides a desire for third-party reviews, 33% of 16-24 year olds and 37% of 25-34 year olds use Facebook to interact with a brand prior to purchase. Younger consumers are also more frustrated by not being able to interact with a brand via social media, with 50% of 16-24 year olds agreeing compared with 26% of over 55s.
A survey of 3,600 consumers across 23 countries in Europe and South Africa was conducted by Censuswide and sponsored by Ricoh. The study used quantitative and qualitative techniques to provide insight into how consumers want brands to interact with them at each stage of the customer journey. Ricoh has given ‘Triple R status’ to those brands European consumers see as going above and beyond at each stage.
Ricoh is empowering digital workplaces using innovative technologies and services enabling individuals to work smarter. For more than 80 years, Ricoh has been driving innovation and is a leading provider of document management solutions, IT services, commercial and industrial printing, digital cameras, and industrial systems.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in approximately 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ended March 2017, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,028 billion yen (approx. 18.2 billion USD).