We’re already two weeks into 2018. With it now being 18 years since the turn of the millennium, Gen Zs – those born since that momentous date – are reaching maturity. Very different from their millennial (Gen Y) and Gen X predecessors, financial services companies need to adopt digital banking solutions that take into account the needs, desires and behaviors of this next generation of adults.
When Gen Zs were born, the digital world was growing fast. The world wide web, for instance, was already well established, while Sergey Brin and Larry Page had registered the Google domain two years earlier, in 1998. Internet Explorer, which Microsoft first introduced in 1995, was reaching version 5.
True digital multitaskers
The number and variety of digital devices available has been growing throughout this generation’s lives, and they’re adept at multitasking across diverse gadgets, with their real and digital worlds merged seamlessly together. You might find them writing a document on their laptop while doing some research on their smartphone, taking notes on a notepad and ‘FaceTiming’ with a friend in front of their smart TV.
Digital banking solutions need to be truly multi-channel to work for this generation. There’s no point letting them start a loan application on their smartphone on the train on the way home from college if they can’t finish it off on their laptop once they’ve dug out all the details they need from their tablet.
In fact, multi-channel banking solutions need to not only work well on today’s smartphones, tablets and smartwatches, while integrating with Google Home, Alexa and other smart assistants – they also need to be ready to integrate any other new gadgets that may emerge. And as they mature, Gen Zs will expect their banking services to be connected to their first car, their first home, and whatever other connected ‘things’ come down the line.
Keen learners, but easily distracted
Gen Zs know they can find things out for themselves. Forget learning from books or online documents – YouTube is their main go-to for unearthing know-how. Short clips from their peers give them the knowledge and ideas they need.
When it comes to the times when they do need to absorb information, if that information isn’t shared in an interesting video clip that keeps their attention, they may well be distracted by a ping from Snapchat, WhatsApp or Instagram. As such, video may well be the best approach for sharing information with them about new digital banking products or services, guiding them when they encounter an unfamiliar digital customer journey, or even ensuring their cybersecurity is where it needs to be.
Digital banking platforms also need to ensure that Gen Zs read the small print before signing on the bottom line for a new account, loan or another financial service. Doing this may be challenging, especially with their multitasking. While a video probably wouldn’t be practical, presenting them with smaller, more easily digestible pieces of information like they’re used to seeing in their social lives may work better.
Gen Zs have learnt that not everything you read is true; they understand the concepts of fake news and phishing. As independent thinkers accustomed to questioning the information they receive online, they’re less likely to be drawn in by brand messages, the way their Gen Y predecessors were, and are less loyal than Gen X.
Financial service providers will not only need to earn Gen Zs’ business, they will also need to fight to keep it. If a fintech startup or tech giant can offer them something that really works for their combined real and virtual lives, that’s where they’ll turn. And with PSD2 just around the corner – opening up valuable customer insight held by traditional banks to new market players – traditional banks need to act, and act fast. Digital banking solutions will be invaluable.
Have you explored what role digital banking solutions will play in supporting your customers through the next wave of change?