Millennials Prioritize the Customer Experience in Banking: Here’s How to Improve It

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Today’s banks understand that they need buy-in from the Millennial generation to survive, but accomplishing this can be a challenge. Even though Millennials need the financial support and services that banks offer, this generation generally has an aversion to big banks, and just 27% have sought professional financial advice in the past five years.

The good news is that getting the attention of this group isn’t a lost cause for banks. It simply requires a different approach. Here is some evidence regarding Millennials’ attitudes towards banking, as well as how banks can prioritize the customer experience to attract this customer base.

Millennial Attitudes Towards Banks

The general consensus among Millennials is that dealing with banks ranks somewhere below getting a tooth cleaning or a filling. According to a statistic published by the American Bankers Association, 71% of Millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to what a bank has to say. And 53% don’t believe that their bank offers anything unique.

In a recent survey by Scratch, a subsidiary of Viacom, 75% of Millennials say they’d be more excited about banking with Apple, Google, Square or PayPal than their traditional bank. These attitudes may seem difficult to overcome, but they exist because this group views the customer experience differently.

Two young adults meeting with a financial professional.

Millennials place greater emphasis on the customer experience with their banking partner. 

Millennials Prioritize the Customer Experience in Banking

Instead of just looking at the products and services offered by a bank, Millennials are more likely to place emphasis on their experience when they visit a branch. This is a group that interacts with brands much differently than other generations.

A recent survey of Millennials by Deloitte found that 60% of participants had partial or little confidence in their ability to achieve financial goals, but only 35% said they needed help. Of those who did need help, only one-third expressed a willingness to work with banks for support. Most (80%) prefer personal connections and recommendations, which can mean working with family, friends or a financial advisor that “gets them.”

Happy young adult woman typing on a laptop.

Capital One bank is appealing to Millennials with its new cafés that offer free services.

How Banks Can Prioritize the Customer Experience for Millennials

When considering financial decisions, Millennials are less inclined to focus on a bank’s products and more likely to focus on satisfying their needs. While some banks are beginning to understand the importance of the customer journey, many still place too much emphasis on banking products as opposed to helping customers.

When banks connect with Millennial customers, there are several ways that they can prioritize the customer experience.

  • Stay out of the way. Banks should remain in the background and avoid overstepping unless there is a need or a customer asks for help.
  • Address a pain point. Understand the customer journey and use data to determine when customized solutions should be offered.
  • Get mobile. This generation wants to be able to accomplish most things on a mobile device, including making payments, transferring cash and filling out mortgage applications.
  • Embrace big tech. In addition to mobile apps, banks should give customers access to financial modeling and tracking data that they can use on their own. This might include tools to track spending, their FICO score, retirement savings or a loan payoff.
  • Reinvent the branch. Millennials appreciate experiences tied to banking. Capital One has accomplished with its series of cafés around the country that offer free Wi-Fi, local food and coffee and complimentary financial coaching. HSBC has a humanoid robot named Pepper that offers customers an AI solution to waiting in line.
  • Help guide the journey. Guide Millennials through major events, such as buying a home, with information, walkthroughs and benchmarks to help them better understand their decisions.

Unfortunately, Millennial customers are less loyal to their banks than other generations, meaning they are willing to switch to get better service or additional perks. Your bank’s online reputation can not only help attract new clients but also retain your current ones.

This is also a barometer of how you are doing with regards to delivering an exceptional customer experience, as measured by online reviews, social media, activity and your Reputation Score. (Download our free guide to How We Calculate Your Reputation Score.) This real-time data can give you the information you need to continue improving the customer experience and your bottom line results.

Download our ebook 2019 Retail Banking Reputation Report for more information.