John M. Trice, market president of Frost National Bank in Corpus Christi, Texas, lays out a number steps banks can take to reach Baby Boomers in this month’s issue of ABA Banking Journal that is sound advice for mutual fund companies looking to win their business, as well.
Besides urging banks to offer products, services and education to help Boomers invest for their retirement and have adequate income, Trice makes the astute and seldom-heard point that Boomers don’t want to be treated as if they are old. Financial services institutions must approach this group with respect.
Secondly, Boomers have no patience for automated phone systems that preclude them from speaking with a live financial services representative. As Trice puts it, “Boomers may be the last generation of customers that really want to talk to us without immediately defaulting to e-mail. Put every customer contact person’s phone number on your website. Talk to Boomers if you want to keep an edge.”
By the same token, Boomers are web-savvy. While young people are busy posting questionable pictures and videos on MySpace, Boomers will appreciate personalized home pages that consolidate all of their financial holdings—banking, investment and insurance—securely and that include “meaningful links to financial advice, health and retirement issues,” Trice says. Enable them to videoconference with a trusted adviser over the web.
Finally, because Boomers are going to live a longer retirement than many of their forebears, it’s likely that many of them are going to start small businesses, so banks and other financial services firms that are equipped to address the needs of small business owners will come out ahead.