Not long ago I was having a conversation with a friend who is 63 years old and a retired teacher. She was telling me that the night before, having dinner with her husband and two more couples was taken aback when she realized that she was the only one at the table who used homebanking. I was surprised too.
These are all college educated people, 60 to 70 years old, professionals, university teachers, creatives, cultured people, some with managerial positions. They constitute the perfect example for discussing Age Agnosticism: they remain active in their professions, they want to contribute to society, take care of their health, travel as much as they can.
The new kind of mature consumers that no longer have a passive attitude towards aging.
The last Euromonitor International report on the Top 10 Global Consumers Trends for 2019 points Age Agnostic as a main trend, so I was very interested in trying to understand why this people, who are comfortable with using their credit cards online, making purchases from home supplies to flight tickets or even getting Airbnb reservations in foreign countries from a small device, still doesn't feel comfortable using homebanking.
Passwords: too many, too confusing
Everyone of them had at least once tried to use homebanking and at some point got frustrated. According to my friend this was mainly related to the security process provided by the bank and the many stages they have to go through to enable their homebanking user. Very frequently the reason they give up on homebanking is that they make a mistake related to the password.
The many nomenclatures related to passwords confuses them: personal identification key, password for access to the ATM, key for virtual banking, alphabetic key... Then, when they try to recover the password, the system asks questions that are bound to make their memory fail. At this point of the conversation my friend laughed: “These are people in their 70s! Our memory fails!”
While we were having this conversation my friend’s husband was actually at the bank waiting in line to deposit the salary for his employees. He is 75 years old and overweight. My friend, of course, tried time and again to get him a homebanking account.
Why people who need this service the most are reluctant to homebanking?
- They don't realize how useful it is. They don't learn to use due to a lack of capacity, but rather to a difficulty in appreciating its usefulness.
- The effort invested, the time it takes to get the homebanking user (given the number of steps to be met) does not seem convenient.
- They have the feeling that it is just a fad that they still fail to find meaningful (because of the limited and cumbersome experience they had). They choose waiting in line and filling paperwork as the most pragmatic solution within their known options. Once again, what they fail to see are the many advantages.
- In the end, the experience frustrates them and they feel excluded.
- Some ads and e-mails are made with informal language and older audience tend to start feeling excluded. Not to mention that this also happens for promotions and special offers with products or services.
A vicious circle
The fewer virtual operations performed by these people, the less they become aware of the benefits or the positive impact that a service such as homebanking could have on their quality of life and so they don’t get to see the many benefits of doing things online.
Older people who dare to give homebanking an opportunity do so with a constant fear of making a mistake that would return them to the bank queue for getting it solved. This means that they reduce as little as possible online interactions to the essential basics and only in exceptional situations.
In this way the vicious circle is formed, never reaching the point of gaining the necessary experience, training and losing their fear. Older people who are not familiar with homebanking think that the less they use it, the less risk they will have of making mistakes, of going wrong and having to generate a new key. What happens is that the less they use it, the more likely they are to confuse the keys and the more likely it is to fail.
The age agnostic challenge for bank marketers
The challenge for bank marketers regarding aging generations is transmitting the idea, which is ultimately a reality, that homebanking makes seniors more independent. Independence, inevitably, makes older people feel young and empowered.
The question for bank marketers is: How can we create a universal homebanking design across generations? As well as asking themselves how to create a more age agnostic communication to target Millenials, GenZ and the Babyboomers, all together?
If you're considering the automation of the digital marketing in your financial institution, contact us!