The belief that millennials are fundamentally different from previous generations is all but accepted dogma across the business landscape. So it was not a surprise when ClickFox analyzed banking industry data and confirmed that intuition. You won’t be surprised to learn that millennials are, in fact, digitally driven and mobile first and that they want to avoid interacting with bankers and customer service personnel at all costs.
What does surprise us is the extent to which intuition is providing banks with their template for making the changes needed to serve this audience. And to be clear, banks are following intuition. Millennials desire digital-first banking, so financial service companies are enhancing online services. Millennials are glued to their smartphones, so banks are expanding mobile banking options and allowing customers to deposit checks and pay bills all from their phones.
The question that needs to be asked is whether businesses like banks, through these types of projects, are going to meet millennials where they want to be met. Are the broad strokes of a marketing persona really the right approach to addressing millennials, a demographic that is also frequently cited for individualism? This matters because the answer will ultimately dictate with which companies millennials conduct their business, banking or otherwise.
Previous generations grew up in a world where journeys were tailored to the individual at the retail and service tiers. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are accustomed to the idea that it is normal to have a face-to-face relationship with their banker. One can therefore market and interact effectively with Baby Boomers and Gen X through personas because the expectations of those groups have been attuned to a broad-based demographic approach that only sought to get them in the door, in person.
Millennials raised on the digital experiences of Amazon, Facebook, and Uber have different expectations. If you are a bank, a millennial may experience a thousand digital touchpoints with your business in a year. It is no wonder that we see banks being launched that are purely digital, with no branches anywhere on earth. More traditional banks are working hard to offer that type of digital-friendly experience, but doing so while carrying institutional momentum that might be one hundred years in the making.
If millennials don’t want to bank in a branch or interact with humans (whether that be face-to-face interactions or over the phone), how does the bank facilitate the best customer experience for them? To understand millennials and to fully address this up and coming cadre of breadwinning, investing consumers, one needs to understand the variety and multi-faceted nature of the journeys they take. For example, our bank study found that millennials are:
- Connected. They log in to their mobile banking app 1.4 times more than Gen X and 1.7 times more than Baby Boomers.
- Determined. They are 10-15% more likely to ultimately succeed at a failed digital transaction by trying again rather than reaching out to service reps.
- Branch-adverse. They visit branch locations less than any other segment: only 6.3 times per year.
- Informal complainers. They log formal complaints less than other groups, at just 16.4 complaints per 1000 customers vs. 20.4 among Gen X and 22.4 among Baby Boomers. But they certainly take to social media to voice their frustration when things don’t go smoothly
Visibility into the end-to-end consumer journey matters because the individual digital interactions millennials experience will affect how they bank. Journey insight enables businesses, like banks, to evolve from a traditional approach characterized by slow change to an approach that is agile and adaptable. A journey-centric picture about how millennials interact makes it possible for the business to make proactive decisions that drive everything from marketing opportunities to mortgage offers. It equips a business to be more adept at recognizing aberrations in specific digital journeys and provides the foundation for testing change and monitoring the results within the overall context of the customer’s banking journey.
If millennials’ banking expectations are purely digital, and they don’t have a personal relationship with a banker, then understanding their digital journey is the foundation for harnessing their loyalty. Their experience must be precisely tuned, efficient, and effortless — or they’re likely to jump at a better offer with the promise of a better digital experience. In a very real sense, it pays to listen to journey data.