Millennials have come of age during a time of technological change, giving them a different set of behaviours and experiences than their parents.
They are the first generation of digital natives, and their affinity for technology helps shape how they shop. They are accustomed to instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews. They have shorter attention spans, are better at multi-tasking, and get bored more easily. Technology has changed the way they think. While Millennials would not dream of coming into your office for multiple face-to-face meetings, they will be happy to sit down in front of their computers and go over the same information in order to make a decision.
This is one of the most influential generations in decades and have an impact on everything, from new technology to cultural touchstones. According to Deloitte, Millennials will become 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. As such, banks have a big stake in being relevant to this selfie-loving generation.
Transparency and authenticity are a big deal to this generation that is on social media 24/7. This allows millennials to be able to access to more information and choices more than ever. They trust their friends and not big businesses. However, Millennials really aren’t that different from their parents; they are just better at figuring out what’s authentic and what’s not, and are still seeking guidance for financial decisions.
Rather than trying to impress, be impressive. Millennials don’t want you to talk like them; they are unlikely to take your word for it anyway. Don’t appear innovative, just innovate. Don’t talk about your values, do valuable things. The key takeaway here is show, and not tell.
A great example is Barclays Bank, which has received over 500,000 ‘likes’ on its Facebook page. It delivers customer service through Facebook, responding to comments and posts from customers. It also uses the page as a promotional tool, advertising competitions, promoting its services and products and pushing other campaigns. When Barclays launched Your Bank, its new website for customers to share their ideas on how Barclays can improve everyday banking, it ran live discussions on Facebook every day for a week. This was a great way to launch the new customer feedback website, as it engaged with customers and enabled people to join in a live discussion with senior Barclays personnel around topics of interest to them.
Millennials only consume what speaks to them and expect access to information they need on their own terms. A no-nonsense resource available 24/7 on a bank’s website, mobile app or even a feature-rich Facebook page that entices them to share personal information, is the key to winning the trust of this generation of consumers. Simple interactive tools, like the ones by The Co-operative Bank, that can help them analyse their spending habits and strengthen their money management skills, would prove extremely valuable in understanding and being there for them.
Today’s digital banking services must effectively meet the needs and desires of the Millennial consumer. Banks must undergo an important shift in perspective; it is no longer sufficient to solely focus on competitive product characteristics that consumers will value. To up their game, banks should also focus on the experiences these customers want to have. One such example would be Zapp, the UK mobile payments startup formed by payments infrastructure operator VocaLink, due to launch in Autumn 2015. Its Pay by Bank service will integrate with existing mobile banking apps from Barclays, HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank, to cater to both online payments and in-store payments based on NFC. It is extremely effective in giving consumers the confidence that their mobile payment is backed by their trusted banks, while offering a truly mobile lifestyle.
Millennials are no different from every other generation – one size does not fit all. This is a group that grew up in an expanding world of options for everything, from smartphones to cuisine. As a result, their path to purchase isn’t a straight line, so banks need to keep this in mind and pay extra attention to their specific needs, and ensure the right product mix and customisation of messages stay relevant to those needs. They see limitless possibilities to forge their own identity and own the relationship they have with big businesses.
The banks and credit unions that do it right will earn Millennial loyalty over the long-haul, winning over one of the largest generations history has seen.