In 2019 there are five generations in the credit marketplace and they all have unique tendencies when it comes to obtaining and repaying credit. In this two-part blog we will explore these five generations: Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z, and how to deal with each one when recovering overdue accounts. The Silent Generation and Baby Boomers will be the focus of Part I.
The Silent Generation
Preferred Communication: Telephone/Letter Mail
Willingness to Acquire Credit: Low
Banking Tendencies: In Person
Those that make up the Silent Generation were born prior to 1945 and grew up during The Great Depression and the Second World War. Considering the time period they grew up in it is not hard to understand their credit goals. The time period they grew up in shaped their values, two of which are; if they could not afford to buy something they did not buy it, and to pay back money owed quickly. Many members of this generation are on fixed incomes and The Silent Generation are at a point in their life where obtaining credit is not a priority. There are cases that arise from this where you may end up with an overdue account on someone from The Silent Generation. The question then becomes how do you collect from them?
The answer lies in long-established business practices; they want to communicate with you via telephone or in-person and conduct business at your office or shop. While many members of this generation are online a lot of them are not comfortable conducting their business there. Tried and tested methods usually work best such as the telephone, letter mail, or in person. It’s also important to remember the formal nature of the business era they were most present in as politeness and using titles of respect such as Mrs. or Mr. go a long way in serving them. Fixed incomes may limit the amount of money they can put on their overdue account, but for the most part, a member of the Silent Generation will work with you to get it paid off. They appreciate your respect and understanding.
Preferred Communication: Telephone/e-Mail
Willingness to Acquire Credit: Low
Banking Tendencies: More Flexible
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and lived through the Cold War, The 1960’s counter culture, and the emergence of the digital age. They have seen a lot. Children of The Silent Generation, share many of the same values as their parents did. This is especially true of their tendencies toward acquiring and using credit. They are also better suited to adapt to the digital market place because of their children (Generation X and Millennials). Though the biggest shake-up that Baby Boomers experienced when it comes to credit was the introduction of credit cards. Today many of them use credit cards, a sharp contrast to their parents’ generation. While they have credit cards, Boomers are entering a stage of their lives where many are transitioning into retirement and are less and less likely to be seeking credit out.
There will be occasions where you will need to collect an overdue account from a member of this generation, so what should you know? Boomers are almost a hybrid of their parents’ generation and the generation of their children in that while they share their parents’ values they also share their children’s affinity to new technology. Members of this generation are used to using both telephone and e-mail as communication methods and are more flexible in their banking needs. Like The Silent Generation, Baby Boomer’s value professionalism and respect in communication, be sure to keep this in mind when sending a letter/e-mail or making a phone call to collect an overdue account.
The Silent Generation and Baby Boomers both present unique challenges when attempting to recover an overdue account. Both value politeness and professionalism in communication, but where they differ is how they will pay. Where they differ is how they pay. Baby Boomers are more flexible and prefer options to pay an overdue account, but The Silent Generation prefers to stick to methods they know and trust: mailing cheques or by coming down to see you in person. In Part II of this blog series, we will look at the three generations that follow: Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z.