As differences between Gen Y and Gen Z continue to shape products and services and create new customer interactions and experiences, American Express is evolving how it relates to consumers by joining Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem. The Amex/Amazon partnership will serve American Express members with Alexa devices as a new skill for eligible U.S. consumer and OPEN Card Members.
— American Express (@AmericanExpress) May 11, 2017
The two cohorts, Gen Y (ages 23 to 37) and Gen Z (ages 16 to 22) are both sweet spots for brands and this latest American Express launch is the first credit card-related financial skill for the connected home via Alexa.
By linking an online American Express account to the Amex skill, consumers with an Alexa-enabled device can check account balances, review recent charges, make a payment and get more information through voice commands. The Amex skill also links to the Amex Offers ecosystem, where card members can peruse limited-time offers and add them to their cards to activate.
American Express SVP of Enterprise Digital Luke Gebb commented on bringing the Amex brand to the Internet of Things with Amazon that “Our Card Members are redefining how they engage with our brand across the digital platforms of their choice, and we want them to have great experiences wherever they are.”
American Express first partnered with Amazon in 2010 making Membership Rewards available Amazon purchases. Now it’s exploring the new world of payments in a secure proven setting with a trusted partner.
Rob Pulciani, Director of Amazon Alexa said in the release, “American Express is known for innovating on behalf of customers and providing top-notch service, values we share at Amazon. With the Amex skill for Alexa, Card Members are just a question away from getting account information, offers, and more.”
The news of the Amex skill launch comes with a new study into Gen Z consumers by American Express conducted by Forrester Consulting, “Raising the Bar: How Gen Z Expectations Are Reshaping Brand Experiences.”
The data shows Gen Z’s unprecedented expectation of brands regarding engagement and customer service. Already an empowered and mobile-first cohort, 81% of Gen Z’s make purchases on their own, with 59% having made a purchase via mobile app in the last year, while 46% said data security and privacy are must-haves to keep their business.
The research surveyed 1,027 North American Gen Y and Gen Z consumers and findings were shared at American Express’ Innovation showcase yesterday in a panel discussion including partners Amazon, Delta and Facebook.
“Over the past few years we’ve modernized our approach to service and increased our investment in mobile technology to best serve our Card Members, including the always-on, always-connected Gen Y,” said Amex’s Luke Gebb.
“Our research shows that Gen Z is two steps ahead when it comes to interest in payments solutions and technology and their expectations of brands. We’re focused on meeting our customers where they are as we continue to reinvent how we deliver an exceptional service experience.”
Gen Z and Gen Y have similar expectations when it comes to trust and service. Compared to Gen Y, Gen Z cares more deeply about the reputation and brand image of the brands they use (50% vs. 42%). Gen Z was twice as likely as Gen Y to stop using a product, brand or service due to responsiveness on social media (21% vs. 9%).
According to the study:
• Gen Z is 22% more likely than Gen Y to prefer in-app notifications to receive offers, incentives and sales notifications.
• 23% more likely than Gen Y to prefer interacting via social media to receive offers, incentives and sales notifications.
• 100% more likely than Gen Y to prefer interacting via online chat technology.
• 81% of Gen Z survey reported they make purchases on their own, with 77% keeping track of finances and 72% have a checking/savings account.
• 43% have used a card branded checkout solution in the last three months, compared to only 29% of Gen Y.
• 33% have used a device specific mobile wallet in the last three months, compared to only 22% of Gen Y.
• Twice as many Gen Z consumers ranked using text/SMS messaging, searching online resources and talking over the phone with an automated system as their top three preferred customer service channels to solve a problem.
• Gen Y was twice as likely to want to use chat messaging on a company’s website and 25% more likely to resolve an issue via phone.
• Gen Z is twice as interested as Gen Y in features that enable instant gratification: one-hour drone delivery, purchasing products or services via chat apps or social media, personalized experiences via bots and AI and the ability to pay via a watch or other wearable device.
American Express also just announced the launch of an updated Amex bot for Facebook Messenger, enhanced by AI and servicing technology. It’s a brave new world for next-generation financial services and customer experience indeed.