Generation D represents a promising, multi-trillion-dollar business opportunity based on the actions of a committed, information-hungry, risk-averse, and very digitally-driven group of investors. How do you capture that opportunity? While the obvious answer might be, “Beef up the online resources,” there’s more to it than that.

In my previous post, I shared why understanding and appealing to the Gen D customer segment is so important to the financial services industry. In this post, I’m going to share how you can better prepare your company and your workforce to serve these valuable customers. I’ll also touch on how to mine the untapped resource of Gen D employees you may already have within your current employee base.

Providing a seamless customer experience

It is very true that digital is an integral part of the Generation D value chain. From the Millennials who were practically born with iPads in their hands to the Baby Boomers who’ve learned to love their computers out of necessity, Generation D as a whole heavily relies on digital resources to inform and execute their investment decisions. But investing is about emotions and relationship as well.

Financial services firms must find ways to bridge the disconnect and build trust between themselves and this valuable group of investors. While improving online resources can help build this bridge simply by reaching out to these investors through their preferred channels, those resources must be provided within the larger context of a seamless customer experience that meets this audience’s spectrum of needs.

If you are going to take advantage of all the benefits doing business with Generation D offers, your firm must focus its efforts in the following areas:

  • Actively seeking out, acquiring, and keeping Gen D customers
  • Designing the customer experience around Gen D’s expectations, behaviors, and preferences—now, and as they evolve over time
  • Redefining the financial advisor role to be relevant in the digital age

The first step in these efforts is to recognise Gen D is a cohesive and yet diversified group of investors with both shared and distinct needs. Here are some specific ways you can effectively address this group’s needs through your offerings:

  • Because Gen D values a variety of opinions and seeks well-rounded investment-related information, you should create opportunities for online thought leadership, education, and information-sharing to help this group of investors get unbiased investment advice—rather than just a pitch for your products. Link these opportunities to easy-to-use channels into your firm for investment choices and execution.
  • Financial advisors as a whole tend to view the investing audience as somewhat aggressive risk takers who are confident in what they’re doing. Not so with this group. Make sure you’re featuring products and services that appeal to Gen D’s conservative and long term investment preferences, and give them as much information as possible.
  • Because much of Gen D is wary of financial advisors, but there is still a portion of this group that values a personal touch, be sure to offer tiered service levels so investors can choose the advisory style they are most comfortable with.
  • Create products that support an investment style that will transition over time—for example, helping Boomers pass their wealth to their heirs and helping Millennials plan for life stages that are a long way off as well as for the wealth they are soon to inherit.

Here are some specific ways to prepare your workforce to serve this audience:

  • Mimic the structure of your work teams to represent this cross-generational segment (part Millennial, part Gen X, part Boomer), then tap their knowledge, experience, and perspectives. If you don’t have a good generational cross section of employees, take steps to create a more balanced workforce. Admittedly, this can be challenging—especially in terms of recruiting Millennials (who don’t view financial services as a very attractive career choice—the topic of a future discussion on this blog) or Boomers (who want to continue working, but primarily for enjoyment and with a flexible schedule). However, it is worth the effort.
  • Establish mentoring programmes to ensure cross-generational wisdom and opinions are shared.
  • Educate your workforce about this important group of investors and their special characteristics and needs.

Gen D is a microcosm

Gen D and its impacts are a microcosm of what’s taking place in the broader workplace and market environment. Multi-generational influences have always and will continue to play an important role in financial services. Savvy companies are those that recognise generational influences, then tailor their offerings and approach to take advantage of those influences—rather than ignoring them. Multi-generational sensitivity must be a core competency, and you play a critical role in developing that competency within your business.

For more information, please see:

Generation D: An emerging and important investor segment

Trend two in the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2016 report – Liquid Workforce: Building the workforce for today’s digital demands

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