How to Encourage Senior Members to Use Text Messaging

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There is a common misconception suggesting that senior citizens don’t want to use Text Messaging. The truth is, those more than 65 years old do already Text Message; however, the key is giving them motivation to text in non-social situations.

An AARP study found that among those ages 50 to 69, Text Messaging is more popular than email as the preferred tech channel used to stay connected. Much of that is driven by a desire to communicate regularly with friends and relatives. So how can financial institutions such as Credit Unions encourage Text Messaging with their older members?

Tell Them Why

Credit Unions must present a compelling reason for seniors to want to respond to offers and information. Personalized messages, geared toward older adults who have worked hard for what they have, can be successful at starting a conversation that will nurture the member relationship. 

For example, seniors may be interested in funding a family vacation or buying a second home or a boat. There are also different types of accounts that let certain seniors earn more interest – or offer more flexibility for withdrawing their funds. A review of the types of accounts held by those over 65 years of age can provide information about what might be appropriate products: An RV loan rather than a car loan, for example. A focused marketing message to this demographic can often incite a response. 

The Question of Security

One hurdle Credit Unions must overcome is a fear by some seniors that Text Messaging may be unsafe. 

According to the AARP’s study, while older Americans are embracing technology to enhance their lives, most don’t completely trust companies to keep their data secure. The organization found that respondents have more confidence in financial institutions and health care organizations and less trust toward the media, social media sites, and membership organizations. 

Credit Unions can build on the foundation of trust that older adults have in financial institutions by offering resources on keeping their money safe. That might include texting a link to seniors offering educational YouTube videos on asset protection, such as, “How to spot a financial scam” or “Ways to secure your financial data.” 

Such education is necessary: Every year, millions of older Americans fall victim to fraud. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that seniors lose $2.9 billion to financial exploitation annually. Providing necessary and desired educational resources establishes and fosters trust between seniors and Credit Unions. 

Learning senior members’ likes (and dislikes) can provide the proper context to conversing more regularly with this group. Most people enjoy communication that is relevant and beneficial. 

As Credit Unions continue to focus on “people helping people,” associates who offer seniors such types of welcoming information are likely to see increased engagement. 

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