Financial services providers across the industry have seemingly begun to ramp up their commitment to investing in – and implementing more – innovation-oriented projects in an effort to keep up in a quickly evolving, technology-driven environment. As a proud member of Gen Y, I like to believe this need to innovate is due, in part at least, to my generation’s emergence as valuable customers with increasing dependence on technology and demand for convenience.
Based on a recent study led by Merrill Lynch, Generation Y (born during the 1980’s and the early 1990’s) has appeared to regain their collective confidence after that little economic hiccup in 2008 and, on average, are starting to save for retirement at age 22, nearly 13 years earlier than the average baby boomer started saving, at age 35.
As we continue to establish ourselves in our careers and build a solid fiscal footing, the financial services industry – from banks, to brokerages, to insurance providers – has taken notice of our current and potential value as customers, and it has started to adapt its offerings, marketing, and customer experience to meet our evolving needs and preferences as digital natives. As our needs increase in complexity, we will continue to compel our financial providers to be flexible in delivering what we want, where we want it, and when we want it.
These providers must continue to anticipate the changing needs of future generations and explore inventive opportunities to advance their operating models, including:
- Leveraging online sales capabilities traditionally seen in the retail space such as financial products customizable by the customer;
- Bringing best practices in effectively and genuinely interacting through social media while navigating complex regulatory requirements from the FFIEC; and
- Building tools that enhance the digital customer experience (i.e. co-browsing between customer and representative).
As a customer, it’s exciting to see the innovation curve steepen to create a more enjoyable and convenient customer experience. That being said, I can attest that client expectations adapt quickly and we will progressively expect our financial service providers to innovate to differentiate themselves from competing institutions.