serving customers

I was born in 1995 and got my first PC in 2002 with Windows 95 on it. I’ve been browsing the web since then. As a [close] representative of the notorious Gen Z, which now controls $45 billion in annual spending, I’ve seen cardinal changes happening in the financial services industry. Given the high expectations towards services we consume, and the examples of Netflix, Amazon and many others, it’s time to look at what some of these customer journeys look like today and where they are headed.

Julia Carreon from Wells Fargo put it nicely in the article: “Gen Z members over the next decade will grow up to be the most demanding consumer the world has ever known”. The demand for interactive and personalized digital experiences has already begun and it’s only going to increase. Moreover, a recent Gartner study found that by 2025, 40% of customer service engagements will be handled in the first contact through self-service or assisted service. Having analyzed hundreds if not thousands of online applications and web flows—from small community banks and credit unions to Fortune 500 banks—I’d like to offer my insights into what is still lacking and what can be improved.

It’s difficult to get Gen Z’s attention with traditional methods like online ads, especially since most of them use ad blockers. In addition, the human attention span is now shorter than ever when we think about scrolling through social media, news, or online stores. As the Head of Digital Transformation Analysis of Swedbank said at a Nordic Banking Conference when the younger generation is Googling an issue and it takes more than three seconds to load a page they’re very likely to just click on the next one and move on. Regardless of network speed or web design, the idea is that you only have a few moments to create that impactful first impression.

Sadly, some of these websites and web flows seem to be still stuck in early 2000s which doesn’t help the case. What could be a potential customer journey for a Gen Zer looking to open an account or apply for a new product? 

  1. Peer references – As Deloitte’s customer experience in retail banking study found, 90% of customers trust peer references. When my friend joined a challenger bank a few years ago I didn’t really know much about them. He kept on talking about how great they are. Now not only me but five of my other friends and family members are using their mobile-only platform. 
  2. Email or physical (street) ad – Even though we think most of the selling to younger generations happens on social media these days, a report by UNiDays found that email and seeing an ad on the street still works with Gen Z (40% and 21% accordingly). Thinking about standing in a train station, walking on a street and passing a witty ad with a meme-like message can really draw younger generations’ attention.
  3. Social media -, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn are just a few examples of social media channels where the younger generation spends the majority of their “online” time. 26% of Gen Z representatives learn about finances on social media. Reach them through an influencer sharing your hilarious ad, a funny video that your marketing team has produced, or a compelling blog post that helps them manage their finances. 

They Reached Your Site, Now What?

Although above are some main ways to get Gen Z’s attention to land on your website, what happens next and how it translates to digital experience is just as important. As was stated in one of the AmericanBanker 2020 banking trends articles: “if you’re a traditional bank then your best bet is probably making those partnerships with fintechs possible, investing in digital experiences and together with them provide better, and faster, digital lending options to consumers”.

This can really pave the way for better online experiences for all generations through modern customer servicing solutions and easy-to-use online applications that don’t overburden your IT and Digital departments. In a future post, I’ll touch upon what happens when the younger generation arrives on your web properties.