The digital transformation has starkly affected consumer and employer behavior. This is not new. Consumers expect more from their machines and devices. And if there’s a glitch, they expect quick solutions. And the younger employees become, the more they expect to have digitized processes. Companies are scrambling to upgrade their field service processes in order to accommodate these shifting consumer and employee expectations.
There is, however, one thing many overlook. Not all consumers and employees are created equally. A father shopping with his teenage son has a very different vantage point about what companies owe him than his son does. This is a result of socioeconomic circumstances that shaped how different generations view technology, accessibility and brand loyalty. And that son, a future member of the labor force, will also have very different ideas about the workplace and technology’s integral role in work processes. So, who are Generation X, Y and Z and how might your field service business be affected by their habits?
Born in the 60s and 70s, this generation has concrete memories of life without technology. Rotary phones and library card catalogues were a real fact of life, not the stuff of movies. Because of that, they have a greater appreciation for technology and how it has ushered in an age of convenience and comfort. Service technicians born during this generation witnessed the transition from paper to mobile and digital processes. As a result, they still marvel at new advancements and are less likely to take IoT and its pursuant host of applications for granted.
Generation Y (Millennials)
Born between the 80s and the 90s, this generation had access to technology at a very young age. Because of that, it became an integral part of their lives. So integral in fact, that the boundaries between work and play got blurred. Technology for them is a round-the-clock all pervasive fact. This constant state of being connected has made the Internet their go-to source for information. Price comparisons and peer reviews of products are a click away. And millennials rely on these tools, and not brand loyalty, when making purchase decisions. And it is not just the consumers that are digital savvy. Service technicians from this generation see mobile devices as a key component of their work. If their employers rely on outdated modes for providing field services, they seem old-fashioned at best and completely lacking in innovation at worst.
This generation supersedes Generation Y and does not yet have an endpoint. They are all digital natives and as the term suggests, these young people grew up on technology. For them, it’s matter-of-fact. They don’t know life any other way. For that reason, their expectations for what technology should do for them are far greater than those of Generation X. They are less swayed by brand loyalty and more interested in what a brand will offer them. If they don’t feel that a company is meeting their needs and desires, they will be quick to find a new company that will. The same goes for this next generation of service technician employees. They have high expectations from their employers. They want the structured freedom to work how and when they want. This is what the digital age has afforded them and they expect to be able to perform their jobs with the same level of mobility and flexibility that their devices permit. If they find that your company can not offer this, they will look for an employer that can.
So what does all this mean for companies looking to attract the customers and personnel of the next generations? Basically that the consumer demographic and the labor sector are less concerned with brand loyalty and more interested in satisfying a new set of expectations that have arisen through our digital transformation. This is especially significant as the percentage of Generation Yers and Zers outnumbers Generation Xers. Companies are faced with a growing cross-section of customers and potential employees that is increasingly demanding and less likely to remain faithful to a brand.