There Is a New Online User to Support…And It’s Not Who You Think

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Stay at home orders and social distancing measures have forced a generation of customers who previously only interacted with you IRL (In Real Life) to now transact digitally. According to a Colloquy study, 84% of Baby Boomers, people born between 1946 to 1964, prefer to shop in-person and are particularly affected at this time. This means a signification portion of your customers are likely using digital channels to interact with you for the first time.

Boomers tend to face a steeper learning curve with technology compared to digital-native Millennials and Generation Z. One-third of adults aged 65 and older say they’ve never used the internet. Half of them don’t have internet access at home and of those that do, 34% say they have little to no confidence in their ability to use electronic devices to perform online tasks.

Pause for a moment and reflect on how a generation of customers, not used to online experiences, would interact digitally with you. Will they be able to complete their purchase? Or sign up for an account? Or track their order? Is the customer experience of your website created with only digital natives in mind?

Baby Boomers’ higher than average spending habits coupled with this generation’s increased likelihood to stay at home while safety measures are in place means ignoring them digitally could spell peril for your company. Over 60% of Boomers say they are not reducing their spend in preparation for a greater COVID-19 spread. As this generation turns to your websites, apps, and social media (maybe for the first time), use these five tips to optimize the experience for this previously digitally divided audience:

1. Welcome and greet these new users
Put yourself in the shoes of these new users. Those that are just now learning to Zoom on iPads because they miss their grandkids. Or those who may not “trust” phone banking let alone online banking. Showcasing clear benefits can help capture this demographic’s attention and lead them through the decision-making process.

According to FirstInsight, 23% of Boomers (compared to 8% of customers overall) are shopping more online during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you welcome these newer guests, it can set the stage for how they digitally interact with your business. You can proactively share a welcome message that includes COVID-19 impacts or directs them to your preferred channel of support whether it’s chat or email. At Moxie, our research shows investing in digital engagement provides increased revenue, with a 200% shopping cart uplift.

2. Reduce customer effort by providing intuitive self-service
Depending on your industry, your customers are quite predictable. Many questions this generation might have can be answered proactively. Examples of such questions are:

For retail:
• How long will my return and refund take to process?
• I paid for 2-day shipping, but my order hasn’t arrived. When can I expect my order?
• I cannot return my purchase because of COVID-19. Can I get an extension?

For banking:
• The ATM near me is not working. Will you waive out-of-network ATM fees?
• I am living off my credit card due to COVID-19. Will my credit limit be increased?
• I have missed a payment due to COVID-19. Will this affect my credit score?

For insurance:
• How can I make special payment arrangements on auto and property insurance premiums?
• What are the specific steps I need to take to file an online claim?
• How can I download the insurance app; how can the app help me?

By proactively serving up the answers to these questions, not only will customers help themseleves, you will also divert contacts from more costly channels like phone or chat and save those channels for when they are really needed.

3. Proactively guide customers
Proactive guidance is critical for eliminating friction points throughout your digital buying journey for all customers, and it is especially important for the influx of Baby Boomer’s now transacting with you online. When you combine functionality with guidance, you gain the ability to anticipate customer need and offer answers to questions when and where they arise. Digital guidance allows you to tailor an online journey that is frictionless for all users regardless of their experience with digital channels and transactions, resulting in lower contact rates, saved sales, and improved conversion rates.

Bringing the quality of the in-person customer experience to your digital channels allows you to intelligently engage customers of all generations, offer useful information to help them successfully complete their purchase, and offer real-time, real-life assistance.

4. Don’t assume everyone is familiar with the digital check out process
Less-experienced digital users may not be familiar with a standard cart experience or account sign up process. Consider gently nudging users along the way with proactive tips or hints when you see hesitation or struggle.

For example, be sure to define digital-specific terms or instructions. Think about using a video to walk your customers through common struggles in the buying process. Videos that focus on one concept at a time can help users quickly digest information and decide on a path forward. This type of digital guidance can play a crucial role in deflecting the most common points of struggle.

5. Optimize for preferred devices with an older demographic in mind
Take the time to optimize your customer experience for all of the devices your customers might be using. According to Nielsen, 57% of Boomers use tablets compared to 35% of Millennials. Optimizing for all devices means using responsive design, understanding how this generation of customers is finding you and asking for customer feedback to ensure you are on the right track. Be sure to test your purchase experience on multiple devices to check design responsiveness and load times. When it comes to providing guidance across devices, be sure any pop-ups, hint boxes and 1:1 interactions are designed for all devices regardless of screen size.

Ensuring your customers of all generations have the information they need, where and when they need it is vital for your success in this new normal. Not only do Baby Boomers have greater disposable income, they also have more free time to use new technology. And with 74% of them reporting the pandemic is impacting how often they go out in public, it is worth investing in serving them online—and serving them well.

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