Digital Rising: Preparing Your Organization for Generation Z

Digital Rising: Preparing Your Organization for Generation Z


Prior to taking the stage at December’s Chief Customer Officer Exchange, Justin Reilly, Head of Customer Experience Innovation of Verizon Fios shares his thoughts on preparing your organization for the next generation of consumers. In this Q&A, Justin discusses key differences between Millennials and Generation Z, the necessary changes in tactics to create strong levels of consumer engagement, what it takes to shift focus to the digital customer experience effectively, and what he is looking forward to about the Exchange.

What do you feel are some of the biggest differences between Generation Z and Millennial consumers? 

At their core, millennial consumers are digital immigrants. They remember a time where the world was offline and grew up with a remedial digital landscape. When you think about the mid-nineties, millennial’s converged in a new world where AOL and Oregon Trail were some of the most popular online experiences at the time. In 2016, the next generation of consumers should be considered digital natives. An offline world is something they simply cannot fathom. Gen Z consumers view their data as currency and expect equitable utility in return. Gen Z is inherently attracted to features and experiences that are unique to a given platform, where millennial’s are used to dealing with multiple platforms with differentiated experiences. In both cases, the screen powers their life and that will only continue to be true.

Do you feel that these differences will require entirely different tactics to create strong levels of consumer engagement?

It is a mindset shift in the way we view relationships with our customers. Brand loyalty is directly tied to experience expectations. Truthfully, most brands are already behind in building for Gen Z, a generation that is abandoning traditional websites in favor of native experiences.  If you don’t get the experience right, they’ll kill the app within minutes. An agile approach to compensating for trends only gets you so far. Brands need to be hyper mobile and hyper native to ensure relevancy and that these moments do not pass them by.

What do you feel are some of the biggest pieces that organizations tend to miss when shifting their focus to the digital customer experience? 

The biggest thing that organizations miss may seemingly be one of the most obvious. We often talk right past our customers and directly to ourselves, getting caught in a circle where our message never reaches the people that matter. We don’t respect the severity and speed of trends and are often too late to the dance. Organizations need to co-create and drift beyond their comfort zones. Transformation isn’t fast enough and that’s really because we’re often hesitant when it comes to stopping things that are going well incrementally, in service of efforts that may yield us 10x return. By that I mean the biggest pitfall of business driven design is the ability to create user experiences that are impactful. We vastly underestimate how much data we have and how hard it is to use it. We have to be better at harnessing the data we have in order to talk to our consumers human-to-human and create truly real time, delightful experiences.

What are some of the best ways to make this transition effective? 


Listen to your customers and completely challenge everything that you're doing. Following trends means companies should be changing processes every 3 months rather than 3 years. Respect the fact that your customer doesn't want to do business with you simply because you are you, but rather how you fundamentally impact their lives. Ultimately, you are competing against their last best experience. 

What are you most looking forward to about Chief Customer Officer Exchange?



Join Justin on day 2 for his inspiring session, The Age of the Digital Transformation: Building Positive Customer Experiences Across Channels and Touch Points.


View full session details and event itinerary in the agenda