Challenges delivering and performing service in the 21st century

In the evening of the 21st of September I was hanging around on Facebook where someone pointed out a story about Emma who had been at the local hamburger restaurant Hesburger in Kuopio earlier at the same day with her friend.

She noticed an older man who dropped his meal while taking ketchup and two staff members laughing at him. The man cleaned up the dropped meal from the floor while no one offered to help him. Emma noticed that the man was putting on his coat and she offered to buy him a new meal.

This story had over 40 000 likes in Facebook by the next morning! Here you can find the story told by MTV news site.


And this is just one example among many others. Nowadays, when customers of Generation Z have a bad experience with a company, they don´t keep it to themselves. Z teens are not afraid to be truthful and vocal about a terrible customer service experience, like the previous case shows. And they have tools and the culture of sharing. The default behavior is information sharing, not only do they have the right to speak, but also to be heard. 5 years ago when I would have witnessed the similar situation I would only told few friends about it. Difference from few to 40.000 is quite huge!


As you can see, Generation Z is engaged to laptop, Internet, smart phone, tablet, TV and different gaming devices with the familiarity to interact with others. Everything is constantly available for them through these smart devices. That’s why Gen Z also expects things NOW and if you screw up with your customer service you’ll pay for it on social media. It can end up in the best or should I say the worst case scenario even for a song, like it did when United Airline broke a guitar:

This is a big challenge, especially when you are growing your business. The power of social media means you don’t lose just one customer; you lose many. Not to mention about your brand value and positive word of mouth. Are you ready to take the risk, or whether it would be time to think about the customer service in your company?

Tienari and Piekkari are telling in their book Z ja epäjohtaminen, that people are still managed and controlled in Finnish companies like machines. New working generation wants openness, freedom, entertainment, playfulness and also the opportunity to interact with others at work.

How to lead different generations at the same time, and even more so that it responds to the 21st century’s customer service challenges? What do you think? Would management coaching be the right way?

– Saara & Tuija

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One Response to Challenges delivering and performing service in the 21st century

  1. piberic says:

    I also read about that event in Hesburger Kuopio and I was very proud of this girls actions and happy that it got a lot of attention in social media. It’s a good message for all that laughing to somebody’s misfortune is cruel and doing nothing to help is indifference. Although I saw this event to have more social message, it was also pointing clearly how much more people working in the customer interface, need training to gain customer service skills and mindset.

    What comes with these generations, please don’t forget that current technical solutions and medias were developed mainly by x-generation – as well as raised up the z-generation – so I don’t believe that there is so huge gap between these two regarding customer service challenges. But I do believe that the management needs training and coaching to manage the impact of social media regarding the company reputation and also to put a lot of efforts to customer service skills trainings and follow up.

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