The “Enjoyability” Genderation Gap

In a recent comment to my posting on NetPromoter vs. Satisfaction (which is a topic that often evolves into almost a religious debate), someone mentioned generational differences in how consumers interact (younger consumers are more likely to “recommend” than are older consumers). A lot of my research deals with consumer behavior — looking at topics like this — so I thought it might be good to include some elements of my research in that area on this blog. Rather than dealing with the “recommend” topic (we’ll let that discussion continue in the comments), I’ll dig into some of the differences in “Enjoyability.”

In a Forrester report called “Gen X Males Crave More Enjoyment” I analyzed survey responses from more than 5,000 consumers — examining how they enjoy doing business with 14 different types of companies. There’s a lot of data in that report, but let me highlight a few key findings:

  • Male Gen Xers want a lot more enjoyment. When it comes to every category of business except airlines, Gen X males were at or near the top in their willingness to switch providers for a more enjoyable experience.
  • Seniors aren’t looking for more enjoyment. Female Seniors was one of the groups least likely to leave its current provider for a better experience – except when it came to the group’s dealings with general department stores. Male Seniors felt the same disinterest in moving business away from six of the different types of companies.
  • Female Gen Yers have more enjoyment than their male peers. Young consumers are split down gender lines when it comes to enjoyability. Gen Y males give some of the lowest marks to seven firms while Gen Y females give some of the highest marks to four of the firms.

There are significant differences in both generations and genders (we sometimes refer to this analysis as a look at “genderations” — a shout out to Eric Dolan, a researcher at Forrester, for creating that term). So your strategy had better be clear on what you want to accomplish with each of these genderations. 

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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