It’s hard to go a day without reading an article covering Millennials. However, there’s a new consumer demographic that’s rapidly approaching the age of significant buying power that you need to be aware of. This group is referred to as Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2009. While many in this group are still very young, the older half is approaching an age where they will soon be on their own and moving into the communities you manage.

By 2020, Generation Z will be the largest consumer group globally, accounting for 40% of consumers in the United States. Since they have essentially been connected since birth, they have very different expectations about technology and communication than prior generations. Knowing this group will be coming into focus soon, it’s important that you start looking for solutions that will allow your property management company to properly serve their needs, rather than trying to play catch up. Here are some key things to take into consideration.

Digital Self-Service

While millennials are getting used to using their smartphones to do things that once required a phone call, this group has come to expect this capability with the brands and companies they interact with. They don’t know a life without digital connection, which has led to an expectation of seamless, on-demand connectivity that companies must be able to accommodate. For property management companies, that means that you must be able to offer convenient self-service capabilities through smartphone apps, as this group does not want to make a phone call. From booking amenities with ease to submitting work orders with a couple taps of their finger, you need to find a solution that brings digital convenience to their lives.

Straight-Forward Communication

Many people have joked about the short attention span of Millennials, which sits right around 12 seconds. Gen Z has them beat with an attention span of about eight seconds. Sure, many could attribute this to their inability to concentrate, but it’s more likely a result of being the most marketed-to generation of children. They have had to learn from a young age to block out the barrage of messaging bombarding them whether they’re clicking out of popup ads while playing iPad games or are browsing the web for a research project. This ability to block out noise has allowed them to seek out relevant content faster, which means you’ll need to:

  • Adjust your marketing efforts to be highly relevant, and lose the fluff
  • Adjust your community communications to be straight-to-the-point, meaning keeping your newsletters, bulletins, and text messages short

Since this group has been bombarded by marketing emails and spam, you’ll likely need to adjust how you reach your residents as well. There’s a good chance they might be quick to unsubscribe to emails if they’re sent too frequently, or simply ignore email all together. For important alerts, be sure to have a platform that allows for text messaging as SMS has been a way of life for this group.

Avoid Fees When Possible

According to Barclay’s, this group vividly remembers the 2008 financial crisis and the result of their older siblings and parents struggling to find work. This has helped them develop a sense of personal resilience, financial conservatism, and hard work. With that being said, this group is highly aware of unnecessary fees, so make sure your online dues payment tool offers options for them to make payments with low fees, no fees, or offer a free ACH option. Going back to our first point, this group demands the ability to make payments online. They’ve become accustomed to online payment tools and digital banking, and many will never own a checkbook in their lifetime. So even though a large percentage of your resident base might still be paying with paper checks, this is bound to change quickly once Gen Z’s start moving in.

For more information on the features your community management software should have to help you best serve this new demographic, download your free copy of our software checklist!

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