Your Customer’s Age

Your “customer” may not be as old as you think.  It is true that a larger percentage SeniorComputerof those over 65 are not as computer savvy as those under 65.  If your target customer is a senior citizen, its not important to have a Facebook business page or use Twitter.  In fact, I’d tell you those tools are a waste of time and resources.

However, that doesn’t mean you can – or should – turn your back on technology as a way to both better serve your customer and improve your bottom line.

March 1, 2013 the Social Security Administration is moving to 100% electronic benefit payments. This move will drag millions of seniors into the modern age of banking and will soon change what they come to expect from YOU.

Senior_writing_a_checkDo you currently offer e-billing and electronic payments? Arthritic hands and failing eyesight make writing physical checks more difficult. As seniors become comfortable with electronic deposits and banks continue to increase service charges for processing checks, even these non-techie customers will look for businesses to “keep up”.

Also, as seniors age, many rely on family members to help with the bill paying process. Often those family members do not live close – maybe even in other states which makes gathering physical bills challenging. Recently we went through this with a family member. We built a Gmail address for bills to come to electronically and set up the free ebill option offered by the bank. In this way we are able to see bills that are due and insure they are paid in a timely manner.

There were only 2 services that did not currently offer e-billing. When it became clear through phone conversations that they” didn’t see the need” we went about shopping for and moving to more progressive service providers.

There may be some costs associated with getting set up to offer e-billing but its an investment worth making. As postage rates increase yet again, the cost of mailing a physical bill just increased as well. Even a very small business can save some money by offering to email a PDF invoice rather than printing and mailing a physical one. It also shortens the payment window when you don’t have to factor in mail time improving your cash flow.

USBankElectronic bill pay is offered as a free service by most banks now. The cost savings and ease of access even via smartphones will only fuel the increase in consumer use going forward.

Don’t let the current age of your customer serve as an excuse to not begin to offer computer based services and communication. These customers-and their younger, more tech savvy family members-are going to come to expect these options sooner than you think. Two businesses lost a long standing customer for this reason alone – don’t let it happen to YOU!

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