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Picture this: Family members from four generations – Baby Boomer, Generation X, Millennial and Generation Z – gather around the table for a meal. As they enjoy their dinner, Grandma Flo, a Baby Boomer, proudly announces her mastery of her credit union’s mobile app, which she now uses to check her balances and transfer money between her checking and savings accounts. Another Baby Boomer expresses relief that his bank still maintains a brick-and-mortar branch near his home, making it easy to pop in whenever he needs to make a deposit or ask a question. (Plus, he’s spent years torturing his favorite teller with his corny jokes!)
The Gen Xers at the table chuckle at the idea of visiting a branch – they started using online and mobile banking YEARS ago – but voice some trepidation about the electronic payment platforms their Gen Z kids have been adopting. To Gen Zers, anything mobile is just part of life. But their Gen X parents have some nagging doubts.
“Are these payment platforms really safe?” one of the parents wonders aloud.
Meanwhile, the Millennials at the table shake their heads at both older generations. They tried Mom and Dad’s credit union but ultimately decided they needed an institution with better digital self-service. Checking balances, transferring funds and paying bills online are the basics; the Millennials want the ability to perform more complex tasks – including applying for loans – without speaking to another human, much less visiting a branch.
“Who wants to actually talk to a customer service rep, anyway?” the Millennials wonder silently.
This fictional family accurately illustrates the breadth of financial services consumer behaviors and preferences. How can financial institutions meet such diverse expectations? How can they feed some customers’ appetites for in-person, high-touch service – while still delivering convenient, personalized self-service experiences that Millennials and up-and-coming Gen Z customers demand?
These are pressing questions, with Gartner predicting that digitalization will make most heritage financial firms irrelevant by 2030. Equally jarring is another survey that found more than half of potential switchers are open to using alternate providers, such as Amazon, Facebook, Apple or Google, as their primary financial institution. That finding held true across generational boundaries, not just among younger consumers.
In short, now is the time to set the table for real change – starting with a fresh approach to mobile experience. In reimagining their mobile experience, banks and credit unions must think about multi-generational customer expectations and balance the urgent requirements of today with the need to build a strong yet flexible foundation for the future.
If you don't yet have a mobile app, launching one is a great first step. If you have mobile banking capabilities, dig into what you could do to improve your user experience. And if you're already a mobile banking pro, how else can you offer Gen Y and Gen Z what they're looking for digitally? Have you tried using voice to make it easier to find branch locations, check balances and make payments?
In upcoming posts, we’ll take a closer look at each of the four generations, share some industry research on their preferences and behaviors, and explore how those trends might inform an effective digital banking strategy.
Give us your information below to start the conversation.