Mobiquity Inc.

Oct 9, 2019

4 min read

Is Contacting Your Bank More or Less Fun Than Going to the Dentist?

By: Amy Kleppinger, Director of Marketing, Mobiquity

US Financial services institutions want Baby Boomers as customers. Why? Because Boomers are the wealthiest generation in the United States and are poised to stay that way until at least 2030. But creating services that are appealing to Boomers, as well as the generations that follow, can be challenging.

In an earlier post, we introduced a fictional family with members from four generations — Baby Boomer, Generation X, Millennial, and Generation Z. Each brought a distinct perspective on how they like to interact with their financial institutions, illustrating the challenges facing banks and credit unions as they work to remain relevant with today’s diverse customer base. In this post, we take a closer look at Baby Boomers — banking customers born between 1946 and 1964.

Is Interacting with a Bank like Getting Teeth Pulled for Boomers?

Our deep dive into this generation led us to one conclusion: Boomers cannot be ignored. Why? Consider these facts:

  • According to Gallup, half of Boomers report over $100,000 in investable personal assets versus 37% of Gen Xers and 14% of Millennials.
  • Nearly one in five Boomers are even more affluent, with north of $500,000 in investable assets.
  • 37% of this generation report having $50,000+ tucked away at their bank.

And yet, Boomers have low involvement with their financial institutions. Gallup’s study of customer engagement found that just one in three Boomers are fully engaged — meaning, they have an emotional connection — with their primary banking providers. Add to that two in 10 baby boomers are actively disengaged, and almost half are just indifferent.

A customer experience study found that Boomers are the least forgiving generation: 44% would walk away from a company after just one bad experience. (FYI: Gen Z was the most forgiving, with just 22% saying they’d bail after one negative encounter.) What’s more, the same study found that one-third of Baby Boomers equate contacting customer service to stubbing their toe or going to the dentist.


The Time to Enhance Engagement is Now

A 2019 Pew Research Center study found that 68% of Boomers own a smartphone (up from just 25% in 2011). It would seem that Baby Boomers (like Grandma Flo) are more than willing to embrace new technologies. But many can be impatient and inflexible when it comes to customer service. Thus, institutions seeking to woo Boomers would be wise to focus on improving customer service delivery. To drive higher engagement with Boomers, consider the following:

  • Tailor your digital experience to Boomers’ needs. The Pew Research makes it clear: Don’t assume that these customers will reject digital channels. Don’t expect them to behave like digital natives, either. Consider involving Boomers in usability tests to address any age-related factors on your website and/or mobile app. Also, think about how voice options might be beneficial to customers with challenges seeing small print or executing complicated keystrokes on a computer or mobile device.
  • Give them options for contacting you when they have a problem. While some tech-savvy Boomers may feel comfortable tweeting about their issue, others will prefer to call and talk to a live person. Make sure you consider every channel as a potential point of feedback and empower your staff to quickly resolve complaints.
  • Consider banking needs unique to this phase of life. This may include online bill pay to enable traveling Boomers to stay on top of their account management, simple tools that help manage retirement funds, and incentives to consolidate accounts so it’s easier to see their full financial picture.
  • Be sure to consider the branch experience. While more Boomers are using digital tools every day, they are still the most likely to visit a physical branch. Make sure you are staffed appropriately to keep wait times to a minimum and give tellers and other personnel the time to build the types of one-to-one relationships that drive customer loyalty.

Make Your Customers’ Banking Experience More Fun than Going to the Dentist

Mobiquity can help you navigate the design and delivery of mobile and online self-service — enabling Boomer customers to handle issues that would otherwise require a call. That’s good for them and for your organization. It leads to fewer calls for your staff to field. And with all due respect to dentists, it helps ensure that customers never lump their banking experience with a six-month cleaning or root canal.

In the next post, we’ll take a closer look at Generation X, share some industry research on their preferences and behaviors, and consider how those trends could shape an effective mobile strategy.

Want to talk to Mobiquity about your digital strategy? Contact us to get started.

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