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Tagged: banking

What Baby Boomer & Millennial Banking Customers Have in Common

July 30, 2015

Though born decades apart and into very different circumstances, Baby Boomer (born 1946-1964) and Millennial (born 1980-2000) customers show a surprising amount of overlap in their preferences and priorities for the customer experience at their banks.

Baby Boomers are Aging Youthfully

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Baby Boomers came of age during the wild 1960s and 70s, and while they might not be able to rock’n’roll all night and party every day anymore, they’re not ready to resign to their rocking chairs just yet.

Here you can begin to see some of the commonalities between Boomers and Millennials. Both generations entered adulthood against the backdrop of oversea war, economic depression, and social unrest. The 2008 recession hit their wallets hard: Boomers watched their retirement funds wither, and Millennials worry if they’ll earn enough to pay off their immense student loans. To varying degrees, both groups know the value of doing more with less and balancing their desire to make purchases against the risks of running out.

It’s Not Just About Retirement

Sure, retirement is a pressing issue for Boomers exiting the workforce and preparing for a new phase of life, but it’s not the only thing they’re doing with their money.

Despite the setbacks of the recession, Baby Boomers earn about 47% of all income in the United States, totaling $4 trillion. [Source] With their adult children leaving home and establishing their own families, instead of settling in, Boomers are active and adventurous. They want to be able to keep up with their grandkids and are using their spending power to catch up with all the dreams they may have put off during their parenting years.

That might mean new car purchases, home renovations or relocations, or even starting a business – all things they’ll be looking to their banks to help them finance and navigate. These products aren’t just the territory of young adults getting established.

As we’ve reported previously, Millennials, too, are entrepreneurial adventurers who tend to value experiences over material goods. So while they may be renting a while longer before they purchase a house and putting off traditional milestones like marriage and child-rearing, they see that as freeing up capital to pursue their dreams while they still have youth on their side.

They’ve also absorbed their parents’ concerns about funding their retirements and, according to the Transamerica Retirement Survey, 74% of Millennials have begun saving for retirement a full 13 years earlier in life than Baby Boomers.

This knowledge should lead banks to carefully consider how and to whom they are promoting their small business, retirement, and home equity products and services.

Linked In with Technology

A major slice of shared territory between these two generations can be found online, and in particular, on mobile.

Millennials and Boomers alike are early adopters of new tech products and are comfortable navigating the world through the lens of their smartphone or tablet. 71% of Boomers bank online at least once per week, and their use of mobile is expected grow exponentially over the next few years.

So by prioritizing a streamlined, personalized, and mobile-optimized experience, banks can satisfy both sets of customers.

Where they differ, though, is in their concern about the security of their financial information. Millennials, who have largely grown up with tech, tend to be more trusting; Boomers are willing to adapt and learn, but remain suspicious about the trustworthiness of devices, networks, and data banks.

61% of Boomers believe the risk of their financial data being compromised will rise within the next three years, compared to 45% of Millennials. [Source] Adults who are not already using online banking options are even more suspicious and unlikely to be converted, no matter how slick the user experience. Nothing will send customers of any age on the hunt for a new bank like finding that their personal information is at risk, for which they unforgivingly hold the institution responsible.

With data breaches making headlines on a regular basis, banks who want to promote their online and mobile services must communicate a strong message of security, not just convenience.

Want to know more about the demands of different demographics within your target market? CSP can deliver all the intelligence you need and offer solutions to meet your specific goals. Contact us today with your questions and concerns.

Welcoming the Era of the Universal Banker

January 14, 2015

Innovations in mobile and digital platforms have influenced significant paradigm changes in how bank and credit union customers interact with their institutions in the virtual space. Now that wave of change is bleeding over into the physical world, with the invention and adoption of the universal banker.

The future and function of the brick-and-mortar branch continues to be a subject of debate, especially as digital solutions have taken their toll on teller transactions and branch foot traffic. Universal bankers are one response to this, with the potential to not only affect the customer experience, but address some of the challenges of staffing and workforce management across bank networks.

The title “Universal Banker” first started catching the industry’s attention in 2015. That year, BAI named increased implementation of universal bankers as one of the most anticipated trends in retail banking. Job listings seeking universal bankers spread rapidly across online platforms among banks big and small.

What is a universal banker?
universal banker

In a nutshell, the universal banker role is a hybrid of the traditional teller and the personal banker. Their specialty is being unspecialized – or, maybe more accurately, specializing in everything – and they can be found everywhere on the sales floor, rather than chained to a desk or booth.

Universal bankers take staff roles out of their silos to function across multiple tasks: basic transactions, new accounts, loan applications, and general customer service, to name a few. The degree of universal function will likely vary from bank to bank, but cross-training is the common theme.

How does a universal banker make a difference to customers?

No one likes being given the run-around, whether it’s for a simple transaction or a more complex situation. Handing off a customer from one specialized-but-limited employee to another is not only frustrating for the customer, but has implications for productivity and resource utilization behind the desk.

Universal bankers can handle a customer request from start to finish. Certain sensitive or complex tasks, like mortgages and business loans, may eventually require involving someone higher up the chain, but the average customer can expect a universal banker to take them all the way through the interaction.

In a way, you might consider the universal banker as an accessible middle ground between the convenience and flexibility of automation and the nuance and additional context of personal customer service.

What are some of the challenges of introducing the universal banker?

The universal banker may be agile and adaptable, but that doesn’t mean this model will be appropriate to every institution and every branch.

Implementing universal bankers is not a silver bullet to increase branch traffic, but rather serves to better meet the needs of those customers already coming through those doors. Banks considering this model will need to closely examine just how appropriate it is for each branch.

The other major hurdle is getting employee buy-in. The daily routine at the branch may not be so routine anymore. Training programs and resources will need to be updated, most likely on an ongoing basis, to accommodate this role and its demands. Some long-standing employees may feel threatened by this new breed of coworker.

This isn’t just another position at the bank; it’s a paradigm shift within both customer experience and employee qualifications. The implications for the internal culture cannot be downplayed or dismissed.

What will be the impact of universal bankers?

As banks begin experimenting with universal bankers, ongoing measurement of their internal and external impact will be critical.

That’s why this new trend in retail banking interests us at CSP – we’re passionate about improving the customer experience, and the first step to that improvement is measurement. Voice of the Customer programs like ours can be customized and optimized to capture insights into the effectiveness of universal bankers.

For more information on our VoC and Customer Intelligence solutions, explore our website or contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter@csprofiles – for regular updates and insights on customer experience management.

As banking paradigms shift, voice of the customer insights are critical

June 23, 2014

A significant shift is underway in how banks across the country are relating to and responding to their customers’ needs and expectations.

Spurred on by emerging technologies that put more control in customers’ hands – most notably, mobile banking – and a decrease in branch foot traffic in the last decade, some banks have begun experimenting with new customer service models to reshape the customer experience.

The June edition of American Banker magazine highlighted some of the initiatives being tested in select branches and markets, such as PNC’s “universal bankers,” employees who can handle tasks from a simple cash withdrawal to account and small business services. Read the full centerpiece article here.

The Battle for Branch Relevancy
It’s a trend that’s already disrupting other industries and has bled over to banking: Automated and self-service options have made today’s customer less reliant on branches and tellers, prompting speculation about the future of brick-and-mortar locations.

Yet, as the article points out, people are not yet ready to abandon personal interaction with their institutions, preferring to at least have the option of a human face or voice, even if their first stop is an app or ATM.

The shared goal behind these new models of customer service is seamlessness.

Branches may become extensions of a bank’s digital presence, and vice versa. Customers may still prefer to handle certain interactions in person, but they expect the person they’re dealing with to be more knowledgeable and flexible about transactions, products and services, and less roped off from one another (literally).

Temperature-Testing
It’s still early to tell whether and how quickly this integrated, flexible approach to banking service and sales will catch on – that growth will largely depend on how the concept is rolled out to market and how much change customers are willing to navigate at once.

To stay nimble, banks will need to make sure the voice of the customer does not get lost among the shuffle of new ideas and experiments. CSP will be watching, and more importantly, listening with great interest as customers encounter and evaluate the next generation of experiences crafted to exceed their expectations.