Posted June 1, 2016
Customer service leaders today know the importance of catering to Millennials in order to retain their business. Nowhere is this more evident than in the financial services industry.
According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn and Ipsos MediaCT, less than half of Millennials (46%) plan to stay with their current financial services company over the next few years. What’s more, two out of three (67%) are open to products and services from non-financial brands.
Millennials are used to being early adopters of new technology and are attracted to products that are mobile, social and as “on-demand” as possible. They’re also more skeptical towards the traditional financial services industry.
Financial technology (fintech) companies are using this information to their advantage to turn out some of the best marketing material targeted at Millennials. An advertisement by low-cost stock trading app RobinHood, for example, showcases the simplicity and modern design of the mobile application, along with a retro-electronic soundtrack that caters perfectly to Millennials’ sensibility.
But what about customer service? Are fintech companies doing everything they can, not just to earn, but to keep the business of Millennial customers? We spoke with experts in fintech, Millennials and customer service to determine four keys to retaining Millennial customers.
1. Find a partner with product launch and finance experience
Lindsey Groepper is the president of BlastMedia, and is responsible for helping companies get the most out of their product launches. She shared her perspective on choosing the right partner:
- Look for curiosity – “Look for a partner who is willing to look under the hood of your business first before any strategy is developed or tactic is executed. Without understanding the current space, your company’s specific challenges and emerging trends in the industry at large, it will be very difficult to formulate the right launch strategy. In the initial meeting, a good partner will ask a lot of questions and do more listening than talking.”
- Seek Millennial-specific experience – “Millennial = mobile. If your partners are focused on traditional marketing and messaging, they are not the right partners. Millennials are not influenced by traditional news or design, they want communication and a user experience that is specifically tailored to their need for simplicity and speed. One common trait in Millennials is their desire to be a part of something. Whether it is a job or a volunteer opportunity, Millennials want to feel connected to the larger mission at hand. For this reason, they are a valuable group to involve in product design and message testing. They are more likely to purchase a product if they feel like they’ve been a part of it from the beginning.”
- Find a partner with finance experience -“It helps if the partner has experience or knowledge about working in a regulated space. This does not necessarily have to be in finance, but a similar industry that is highly regulated and requires a certain level of due diligence and detail.”
2. Make sure your staff understands Millennials
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, CEO of Due and an expert in Millennials and technology. Here’s what he had to say on making sure your customer service staff understands Millennials:
- Millennials want everything now – “ Millennials are the first generation to be raised on their cell phones, and are used to everything being ‘on-demand’ whether it be social media, entertainment or customer service.”
- Patience is a virtue – “Millennials tend to expect highly personalized service and to be catered to. This requires that your call center staff be especially patient when resolving service issues with Millennials. They won’t hesitate to complain or voice their opinions about a poor experience via social media, so your call center staff needs to have the ability to take whatever time is necessary to work through issues with Millennials to prevent them from voicing their displeasure via Yelp, Facebook etc.”
- Hire Millennials – “One of the best strategies for providing Millennials with great customer service and retention outcomes is to hire Millennials onto your customer service staff. They understand their own generation, especially the fact that Millennials don’t really like speaking to customer support agents unless they really have to. And especially in the realm of fintech and financial services, they expect service to be quick, easy and frictionless.”
3. Incorporate social media into your service strategy
Brad Cleveland is known globally as one of today’s foremost experts in customer strategy, management, and omnichannel services. These are his keys to incorporating social media into customer service – a must for any fintech company serving Millennials:
- Join the conversation – “By listening to and learning from conversations across social sites, you can determine where you’ll be most effective. As you get better at identifying and handling interactions, you will be positioned to evolve into a more sophisticated approach, geared around criteria such as a customer’s influence, root cause analysis, and marketplace opportunities. In short, the first step is to get in the game!”
- Harness the contact center’s potential – “Many organizations start out by treating social channels as a part of marketing, publicity, or corporate communication efforts. But the sooner you are ready to pull the full range of interactions and channels into your customer service operations, the sooner you will be able to scale resources and respond as opportunities unfold.”
- Social doesn’t replace traditional – “Social service does not replace traditional customer service channels. In fact, if you have poor phone service levels and unanswered customer email, viewing social service as a substitute would be sorely misguided. Rather, it will become an increasingly important part of your organization’s overall approach to communicating with and serving customers.”
4. Allow Millennials to use customer self-service
A study by Aspect Software reports that 69% of Millennials feel good about themselves and the company if they’re able to resolve an issue without talking to support. According to Brad Cleveland, self-service designed for Millennials should fit in with a broader customer access strategy:
- Use self-service to reshape your access strategy – “Contact centers are, in ﬁts and starts, increasingly becoming the engine organizations use to listen to, interact with and capture insight from social channels. Reshaping your customer access strategy goes beyond social media to other potential access points, such as self-service.”
- Self-service is part of an alternative access plan – “Identify traditional communication channels (e.g. telephone, email, chat) as well as new alternatives you want to join or create, for listening to and engaging with customers, such as blogs, rating sites, peer-to-peer communities, and key social sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter).”
- The benefits of self-service – “Consider the impact when your contact center enables the organization to improve self-service capabilities. This lowers the costs of providing customer service, and can also boost customer satisfaction and ensure that the center has the capacity to focus on issues that really require or benefit from agent involvement.”
The main challenge both fintech and traditional financial institutions face is building trust with a generation that’s skeptical of financial services. By internalizing these four keys to retaining Millennial customers, fintech companies will be well positioned to take advantage of this unique generational market opportunity.