The future of retail banking: Gen Z demand the latest tech alongside traditional support

Dylan Brown
by Dylan Brown

Millennials are passionate about new technology in the same way Baby Boomers enjoy discussing how high mortgage interest rates used to be. We all have our flaws! 

But behind Millennial’s passion for digital innovation is a deeply-held desire to save time – to avoid the lines, to not be put on hold for hours on end, or to get their hands on something new without trekking for miles into the city to pick it up. If this means sacrificing the benefits of traditional forms of customer service, then so be it.  

When it comes to retail banking, Gen Zers want a speedy service alongside the latest tech – but they also want access to helpful reps, quality phone support, and the ability to visit branches to receive face-to-face advice, the Qudini 2020 Retail Banking Survey, which interviewed over 2,000 respondents of all different age brackets throughout the US. 

Consulting firm BridgeWorks estimates that Gen Z accounts for 61 million people in the US – a number that’s already larger than Gen X and two-thirds the size of Baby Boomers – and a large proportion of that number have already entered the workforce. 

Here are the demands Gen Zers have that retail banks can’t afford to ignore:

Tried, tested and traditional forms of support are a must

The retail banking industry has been inundated with new technology in the last decade and a half – and it has impacted almost every aspect of the customer experience. 

And while Millennials, and Gen Xers to a lesser extent, are more likely to prefer digital forms of communication and services, Gen Zers are still firm believers in the more traditional channels.

For instance, our survey found that 56% of Gen Zers rely on telephone support to interact with their bank, compared to 44% of Millennials and 45% overall. An additional 29% believe good phone support is the most important overall experience of their current bank – the generational average is only 16%. 

Gen Zers also want support with their financial needs, with 43% saying the ability to easily speak to helpful reps when they need to is the most important overall experience of their current bank. Being able to talk with one person about all their banking needs was also deemed important, with 22% of Gen Zers stating this to be the most important factor. 

Four fifths of Generation Z want their bank to offer a face-to-face service, with 81% stating this was important or extremely important. They’re also highly likely to make a visit to a branch, with 22% visiting a bank branch once a week and 25% going once every two to three weeks.

Time, too, is of the essence for Gen Zers

Despite their demand for more traditional forms of support, Gen Zers are just as eager for a speedy in-branch service offering as older generations. 

Self-service kiosks were high on the list of must-haves for Gen Zers, with 82% wanting this technology for quick services like cashing cheques.

Just like their Millennial predecessors, Gen Zers also lack the patience for lines. Three quarters of Gen Zers said the option to pre-book an appointment time for a telephone or video conference to receive financial support is important or extremely important.

Gen Z want banks to invest in their branch-of-the-future concepts

Don’t let Generation Z’s old school demands for fool you into thinking that they’re not invested in the future – our survey also revealed a strong demand for modern, customer-centric and environmentally-conscious branches-of-the-future.

When asked what initiatives were most important to them, Gen Z respondents wanted banks to invest in their branch design and layout, set aside space where they could work, have in-branch cafes or coffee available, and host regular events to support their personal or business’ financial needs. They also voiced a strong demand for phone charging units, tablet devices and free wifi.   

Reducing their environmental impact with more sustainable processes and materials was also high on the agenda, with 78% of Gen Zers saying this is important or very important to them – 67% also said it was important for banks to give back a percentage of their profits to help people in need.

Beware of their wrath – Gen Zers aren’t afraid to complain 

Gen Zers have high expectations when it comes to their banks – but what’s higher is the price banks could pay if they fail to meet these demands. 

With the 60 million or so Gen Zers expected to enter the workforce in the not-too-distant future, this expectations of this generation will have a profound impact on the future of retail banking – and, it’s worth noting, this generation is not adverse to voicing their opinions.

In fact, Gen Zers are far more likely to complain about a poor customer experience than any other generation, with 66% saying they’ve complained about a brand before (the generational average is 56%). 

However, unlike their Baby Boomers counterparts, Gen Zers are far more likely to complain to friends and family in conversation or by text/email than to a store associate or manager. A significant 40% of Gen Zers said they’ve complained to friends and family in conversation or by text/email (the generational average is 27%), while a further 17% said they’ve posted about their negative experiences on social media (the generational average is 10%).

Younger consumers want all the bells and whistles from their bank! A face-to-face service and the ability to speak to one person about all their needs is incredibly important to Gen Zers, however, they’re equally as eager for omni-channel support such as telephone, mobile, email and webchat communication. 

To meet this ever-growing list of demands, retail banks will need to think carefully about what their branches will consist of in the years to come. 

Retail banking is in a revolution and branches are transforming into brand interaction hubs that improve profitability and brand relevance. Qudini helps retail banks meet the demands of modern consumers with our in-branch Retail Choreography software solutions – Appointment Scheduling, Queue Management, Task Management and Event Bookings. Find out more about our solutions here.

For more insights into the US retail banking market, join our upcoming webinar here.

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