The forgotten generation: driving digital adoption with older customers
Often when we think of digital banking, we picture millennials glued to their smartphones. But with all this focus on millennials, are banks forgetting about their most loyal customers – the 50+ generation? Theodora Lau, founder of Unconventional Ventures, says yes – but with an understandable reason.
“There is less incentive to do something above and beyond,” says Lau. “Consumers typically do not switch their primary financial institutions – especially after [they] have been banking there for years.”
As a result, she says many financial institutions assume their older customers aren’t going anywhere. Instead, they put their focus on millennial customers, who tend to be less loyal. “With over $30 trillion at stake when assets are transferred from the older generation to the millennials, who often times are less loyal to the incumbent banks compared to the prior generations, it is no wonder that banks are trying hard to court them.”
But it’s a mistake to assume that older customers don’t like or want digital banking options. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. “While there will be those who are less comfortable with technology, many 50-plus consumers are not only early adopters of technology; they are the inventors. Take Bill Gates and Steve Case for example, as well as Steve Jobs. These are tech pioneers who help shape our digital world as we know it.”
Migrating older customers to digital channels holds some clear benefits for financial institutions – not only in cost-savings for simple transactions, but in improving the customer experience as those customers get older and their needs change.
So what can banks do to help migrate their older customers to digital channels?
One solution is to improve the onboarding process for new tech. Often this process is designed for a younger demographic – not a broad spectrum of users. Older customers have different needs that need to be addressed during the onboarding process. But once that learning curve is met older customers adopt technology rapidly.
“There’s a learning curve, but once it’s addressed then seniors can use these products just fine.”
Joe Angelelli, gerontologist
To improve their onboarding processes, a few banks have made staff available in-branch to show customers how to use new technology. This change can help increase older customers’ confidence using a product, and ensure they don’t give up when they’re unsure of what to do.
Thoughtful consideration of different demographics during the design process can also have a significant impact on adoption rates among older customers. New technology, like voice assistants, can make sites and apps more comfortable to navigate for older customers.
As Theo puts it, “everyone – regardless of their age, would like a good user experience. I believe if you make the technology easy and intuitive enough, consumers will adopt it regardless of their age.”
By Nicole Titus, marketer at Launchfire
Launchfire is a digital engagement shop that helps financial institutions change employee and customer behaviour and promote their digital products