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Businesses are recognising that the post Baby Boomer shift, and the rise of Gen Z as a consumer force, will have a profound effect on the customer service industry.

A new YouGov online survey of more than 2,000 British consumers, commissioned by leading customer experience provider Webhelp, looks at how age-related differences impact consumer attitudes about customer experience.

Findings from the survey, plus exclusive content from age trends experts, sector leaders, academics and frontline employees in can be found in this white paper, part of Webhelp’s Disruptor series tackling customer experience industry challenges.

Unsurprisingly, traditional customer service methods are still heavily favoured by Baby Boomers, as many struggle with today’s impersonal nature of interacting with brands.

However, there is a clear preference for speed in customer service across the board. The most valued type of customer service is fast issue resolution (39%) followed by fast response (16%) and high availability of customer service advisors (12%).

The exception to this trend is the banking sector, where ease of contact is deemed very important by 67% of respondents, followed by insurance (55%) and utilities (54%).

Consumers are willing to pay a premium for speed, as nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents (and 69% amongst 18-24 year olds) would pay more if a company deals with issues and queries quickly.

Consumers are more likely to pay more for speed in customer service compared to community involvement (44%) or aligned values (55%).

In this age of high-profile data leaks, it is perhaps unsurprising that the most important aspect of customer service for companies to prioritise is protecting consumer data (53%).

Following this, but behind by some margin, is ensuring vulnerable people understand the terms and conditions of products and services they purchase (20%).

As expected, the evergreen telephone remains the preferred method of contact when getting in touch with a company at 32% – followed by email (29%). Webchat (14%) lags behind as does face-to-face (6%) and social media (1%).

Telephone also remains the most trusted when receiving information from brands (30%) especially compared to newer types of contact such as webchat (15%) and social media (8%).

Helen Murray, Webhelp’s Chief Solutions Officer, said:  “These findings stress the importance of a well-rounded customer service approach across all channels, taking into consideration both the priorities and preferences of the consumer. Customer experience impacts the emotional connection people have with brands, and even if some of the resulting behaviour is unconscious, this reinforces the upside of investing in the right mix of customer service.”