Why do older generations find it harder to go digital?

5 years ago by Becky Dempsey

I am not just talking about the Silent Generation (born between 1925 and 1945) I am including Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964) and Generation Xer’s (1965-1979) too.

Most embraced the technology revolution – their lofts are dusty with Gameboys, VCR’s and tape recorders.

So why are they being left behind with the latest digital technologies?

Fear. Faced with the unknown and unsure of what to do, they choose to do nothing – to opt out.

Think of a time when you thought about trying something new? It may have been to bungee jump from Clifton Suspension Bridge or to try a new recipe from Jamie’s latest cookbook. Either experience created a sense of uncertainty. The first because you have no foundation of what you are going to expect and might die. The second because of the possible embarrassment of an inedible dish and hungry friends.

Our fears can stop us trying even if we don’t particularly like what we currently have. And often when we know there are other choices available to us.

A recent quote on MoneySavingExpert found that around two-thirds of the big six customers are still on expensive standard tariffs – even though customers knew there were better deals to be had.

But are they too old to learn new tricks?

Absolutely not! Most are more than capable of learning new skills. They just don’t want to spend hours ‘intuiting’ what they are supposed to do.

In fact, recent studies have shown using a computer for research, engaging in social activities and playing games keeps the brain stimulated and may reduce our risk of developing memory and thinking problems. So, no excuses.

How then can brands tempt them to try something new?
Welcome them in – remember many of your customers may be infrequent visitors which means each time they come back to your website or service it is as if it was for the first time.

Offer a guided journey, consider on-boarding for new or infrequent customers. On-boarding highlights the key attributes and services you provide, helping customers to understand what they are supposed to do and step by step support to complete tasks.

Make it feel familiar – If you want to add new services or new ways of doing things, run them alongside your existing services. Highlight the new services to customers each time they visit, with options to try them out. Give them time to get used to the new solutions before asking which they prefer. Remember to offer them choice, you can’t force them to change.

Reward them for taking the challenge – these cautious creatures have just tried something new and are hopefully feeling good about it. Make sure they know they have done well. Acknowledge any sign up/purchase or other interaction with appropriate messages onscreen and by email or text.

Overall, make the experience enjoyable – if your customers love what they find they will grow in confidence and will want to

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