Step No. 4: Go mobile, where the users are
Creating an optimal user experience also means going where users are. For Millennials, that means the cell phone or smartphone-the device they interact with more than probably any other. Mobile is an emerging channel, currently used for balance refreshes and transfers.
In the near future, banks will need to provide secure mobile banking solutions that address consumers' wide-ranging needs and preferences through multiple modes (including text and browser as well as downloaded applications). For financial institutions, it's essential to aggressively move into the mobile channel where the next generation of users will be, as today's wireless devices evolve into tomorrow's wireless wallets.
Step No. 5: Personalize, personalize, personalize
Generation Y doesn't view personalization as intrusive-they expect it. Younger consumers don't just expect their bank to serve up personalized content based on their online behavior and account transactions, they expect to have some measure of control over preferences such as frequency and timing of alerts, as well as how their financial information is organized and presented on the online banking site.
For example, financial institutions could offer overdraft protection in sufficient time to help targeted consumers avoid a negative balance. Event-triggered campaign management tools could suggest on-the-spot loyalty rewards to consumers as incentives tied to certain online behaviors (such as paying bills or using bank-issued credit cards). Additionally, financial institutions could supply interactive calculators and widgets that serve as virtual financial mentors to help consumers save, invest and guide them through major financial decisions.
The future is personalized
Generation Y, like most consumers who bank online, want their online banks to do more than recognize and serve their basic needs. Increasingly, these consumers expect their banks to engage, educate and relate to them as individuals, not just as generic customers.
For financial institutions, realizing the promise of next-generation online banking will require gaining a greater understanding of their customers. Applying that deep insight to deliver online financial services that anticipate and satisfy customers' personalized needs is what will allow those institutions to thrive.
Shelby Hutcherson is vice president of the Innovative Solutions Group at Synovus Financial Corp., a $34 billion financial services holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ga. Synovus provides commercial and retail banking, as well as investment services, to customers through 32 banks, 440 ATMs and offices in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee. Shelbycan be reached at ShelbyHutcherson@synovus.com.