Credit Union Member Services Addressing Member Needs by Understanding Their Generation


Addressing Member Needs by Understanding Their Generation

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Exceptional credit union member services is one major attribute that sets credit unions apart from banks. The importance of providing members with services that exceed their expectations and anticipate their needs is critical to The Credit Union Difference. However, member services are not a one size fits solution... it's much more complex. How can your credit union ensure you're providing the best service to all your members? Taking a look at what makes a member different from the rest is a great first step. Address the needs of every member by first understanding what they expect. 

Baby Boomers (born between the years 1946 - 1964).

Baby boomers are true loyalists to the branch office. They prefer to make their financial decisions or transactions at their local, trusted branch. While this generation has smart phones and uses them regularly, they don't often pay bills or transfer money with them out of fear of possible mistakes, either on the part of the technology or their use of the technology. So when it comes to addressing the needs of your baby boomer members, acknowledge what they continue to value. Be sure that every interaction they have at the branch office is convenient and consistent. If your credit union is making strides to upgrade features digitally, be sure to keep your boomers in mind and create a strategy to get them involved with the updates in a way they will be comfortable and confident. This generation has a specific interest in healthcare and wealth management, so cater features to to address these needs. 

Generation X (born between the years 1961 - 1978) 

Generation X members have lived through the evolution of digital services, but are the children to the branch loyalists. Their trust lies in online or desktop banking but they haven't fully adopted the concept of mobile banking apps or features. They expect their credit union to have a seamless bill pay process online and web pages that are easy to navigate. Many Gen Xer's are "heads of the family" with some having adult children dependents. They're highly concerned about their kids' college funds and their own retirement. When creating resources for Gen Xer's keep in mind that they still prefer to consume their information online but are less likely to come to the branch office to sit down with a mortgage officer for basic questions. 

Side Note: Xennials (micro generation born between the years 1977-1983)
This micro generation may be categorized as Gen X or Millennial, but as mentioned recently in our CUInsight article, Behind the Flannels, they share traits with both generations. They are eager to adopt technologies like mobile banking, but aren’t afraid to make an actual phone call to speak to an MSR if there are issues or questions like many Millennials are. In other words, they want the personal member services that Gen Xers want to support the technology that Millennials demand. For more info on this generation, read the full article Behind the flannels: Why the grunge generation is prime for credit unions.

Millennials (born between the years 1979 - 1999) 

Millennials have been the center of financial conversations for years because they may be the most difficult to serve. Millennials have been determined as the least trusting generation when it comes to any financial institution. Millennials are easily frustrated when a credit union fails to solve their problem or meet their needs, and are the most vocal generation about these situations. Millennials are quick to share their experiences, good or bad, on social media and to friends and family. While they may be deemed as difficult, credit unions simply can't ignore this generation. Millennials demand new and innovative digital services from their credit union because this is their preferred way of interacting with their money. Millennials love and appreciate the convenience of their mobile apps, but insist that they work properly and seamlessly. They are interested in services related to loans - auto, home, or student - because this generation currently has more unemployement and student debt than any other generation. Millennials are interested in resources related to saving for homes or establishing good credit. Read another FLEX blog to better understand how Millennials respond to marketing.

In order to offer exceptional service to all your members, your credit union must first understand the expectations each generation has when interacting with their financial institution. 

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Preston Packer

Written By: Preston Packer

Executive Vice President | CMO at FLEX Credit Union Technology
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