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Understanding Gen Z as Customers and Employees

The Next Generation of Customer Experience

Shep Hyken interviews Jason Dorsey, leading generational researcher, speaker and author. They discuss his latest book, Zconomy, and talk about what Gen Z wants as customers from their favorite brands.

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Top Takeaways:

  • To understand Generation Z as consumers is to understand the future of your (and every) business. They are the fastest-growing generation in the workforce, the number one generation of consumer trendsetters (they even influence Baby Boomers!) and the most likely to write positive things online and recommend brands to others.
  • The oldest members of Gen Z are 25 and most of them do not remember 9/11.
  • While it’s important not to box people in by generation, knowing a customer’s generation can give you clues that help you better understand them. This, in turn, can help you faster connect, build trust and drive influence with those customers.
  • When making a purchase decision, Gen Z customers look for a few key things: low price, ease of purchase, ratings and reviews, ease of returns and if someone they know previously made that purchase.
  • Gen Z wants an experience before they buy something. When they do buy something, price (not the lowest price) is important to them and they always expect a good deal. They will pay more for an all-inclusive experience if they feel it is a better deal than the cheapest option.
  • Ease of purchase is all about asking yourself how simple you can make something so it just works. Often, this involves utilizing new tech—but be careful not to sacrifice the human connection!
  • Offering easy returns reduces the risk for online and first-time purchases, which consumers perceive to be very high-risk. Reducing risk helps overcome objection in the sales process.
  • Ratings and reviews are incredibly important to all consumers, not just Gen Z. Even more important is knowing someone personally who bought that product or service before. Family and friends’ opinions are the most trusted, even if their tastes do not match the purchaser’s.
  • To understand your consumer base better, create a generational snapshot and put it into a pie chart. Create practical urgency to bring in that next generation to ensure your business lasts.


“Generations are not boxes. Generations are powerful and predictive clues. If you know those clues, you can faster connect with, build trust and drive influence, which is ultimately what customers want.”

“Technology is only new if you remember it the way it was before.”

“Do not view Gen Z as a more extreme version of Millennials. They are completely different. Gen Z is the number one generation to write positive things online, to recommend brands and so forth. If you win them, you win them and their friends. It’s a huge opportunity.”


Jason Dorsey is the President and Co-Founder of The Center for Generational Kinetics as well as a leading generational researcher, speaker and author. His latest book is Zconomy: How Gen Z Will Change the Future of Business—and What to Do About It.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. What defines Gen Z?
  2. What does Gen Z want from their favorite brands?
  3. How can I attract Gen Z as customers?
  4. How can I attract Gen Z as employees?
  5. What matters most to Gen Z customers?
  6. How can I better understand my customers?

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