Every generation has made its mark as it’s entered the workforce and the adult population. The Silents (born between 1925 and 1946) for instance, are considered loyal, dedicated workers.

Their core values were shaped during the Great Depression, World War II, and the following boom years. Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) placed more emphasis on work than on their personal lives. They grew up during civil rights activism, Vietnam, and a period marked by inflation. Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1980) are often considered slackers by their superiors. This is due in great part to their willingness to question authority as well as demanding a work-life balance. Millennials (born between 1980 and 1994) are more aware of the world around them due in large part to growing up in an era of the Internet and global terrorism. This generation is open to diversity and inclusion. Generation Z (born in 1995) is still developing an identity that will distinguish it.

Since each generation has specific traits, it’s important for businesses to address these differences not only in the corporate setting but also as customers. After a drop in loyalty from younger generations, many organizations claimed that Millennials are killing loyalty and the brands themselves. But perhaps Millennials are simply open to a whole world of choices that previous generations never had access to. Through the Internet, brands from across the globe can access American consumers and may offer better prices, better products, and better customer service. Or they may just claim to. However, younger generations are much more likely to be skeptical of marketing ploys and will rely more on peer reviews than advertising claims.

Luckily, Millennials and Gen Z are open about what they want. They aren’t just sharing selfies and Instagram photos of lunch, they’re telling the world what they expect from businesses and what they want the future to hold. Companies and entrepreneurs who are willing to listen and adapt have the opportunity of winning over these new generations and seeing continued success.

When building a customer appreciation program, you can ensure that it meets the needs of Millennials and Gen Z members by thinking about the following points.

Are The Program Benefits Aimed At Millennials and Gen Z?

Younger generations are active on social media and open about their wants and needs. You should be able to ascertain if the benefits provided by your customer appreciation program will appeal to Millennials and Gen Z. While it’s impossible to pigeon-hole every individual into a specific stereotype, you can gather some ideas about the majority of your younger audience simply by listening, a process called social listening.

It’s important to note that almost 75 percent of Millennials are in debt, many of them burdened with large debts created by obtaining an education. This means that your customer appreciation program should not only offer value but also offer every discount and significant savings. Benefits that save money on purchases that they are already making are a definite attraction to younger generations, who are trying to cut corners on expenses.

Are My Social Efforts Effective?

Many companies are creating apps for their customer appreciation programs in an attempt to be accessible to their younger customers. However, even if your company has a smartphone app, it still may not be enough. Poorly made or difficult-to-use apps are often never used, and only 11 percent of Millenials actively use loyalty program apps.

Your social media presence should be strong, but be sure that you are focusing on the same platforms that your target audience uses. Consider the following options:

  • Facebook
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Also, be aware of which option is suitable for your loyalty program and your brand’s needs. Snapchat is popular for 18- to 24-year-olds, for instance. LinkedIn is best for professional organizations and business to business interactions. Twitter is an excellent customer service platform as long as you are prepared to immediately respond to interactions.

Am I Making Changes Based on Feedback?

You may be seeking loyalty from your customers, but you should understand that they are looking for something in return. Millennials and Gen Z tend to expect the business/consumer relationship to be reciprocal. Your business must show loyalty in return.

One way to show your customers that they are important is to listen to them. Ask for feedback and be open to making changes based on that input. While you will never be able to utilize every suggestion made by your customers, you certainly can involve them in decisions through polls and questionnaires.

Sometimes, the only response that young consumers need is to be acknowledged. You should be quick to respond to suggestions and provide personal responses to customers who interact with your brand on social media. Consumers prefer brands that are open and accessible. They are more likely to return for future purchases and may even give companies a second chance if they respond well to a complaint or bad experience.

Is My Company Making An Impact?

Younger generations are aware of the world around them thanks to exposure to the Internet from a very early age. Because of this global awareness, they are more likely to support organizations that are involved in environmental and social change.

While member benefits are usually exclusive perks and discounts, Millennials may prefer rewards that help change the world. They still use rewards that personally benefit them; however, younger generations also choose to help with conservation efforts, volunteer opportunities, and other means of making a positive influence on the world.

They also tend to be loyal to brands that are socially responsible. This involves:

  • A lower carbon footprint
  • Food sustainability
  • Political activism
  • Philanthropic giving

Even teenagers are actively choosing (or avoiding) brands based on their ethics. Your company, regardless of its size, should chose a relevant cause and support it in some manner.

Is My Customer Appreciation Program Effective?

Take time to review the benefits of your customer appreciation program. Are your rewards in line with the next generation of consumers?

Younger generations are making changes in how business is done, and in order to remain successful, your company must adapt. If your target audience includes Millennials and Gen Z consumers, you may need to adjust how you respond to customers and the rewards that your customer appreciation program provides. However, by doing so, you’ll see an increase in loyalty not only from Millennials and Gen Z but from the generations preceding them as well.