Native Tongue: How Financial Institutions Can Speak the Language of Millennials

These digital natives have grown up around screens. Is your FI prepared to deliver the omnichannel experience they’re expecting?

We’ll see the Summer Olympics and the U.S. presidential election in 2016. But there’s something rather impressive happening this year – something that probably won’t get quite as much media buzz, but should cause some conversations among retail bankers and their organizations. According to the Pew Research Center, 2015 is the year that millennials overtake baby boomers in U.S. population size.

In a Q&A with ATM Marketplace, editor Suzanne Cluckey polled me on my thoughts about this emerging super group and the ways in which they’re approaching self-service devices differently from their predecessors.

What I find so interesting is that although millennials have access to more tools than their parents, and they’re more comfortable using them, at the end of the day even these tech-savvy consumers have an interest in cultivating a relationship with their bank, especially when it comes to financial literacy and advisory services. They’re conservative in their spending – these are the people driving the sharing economy (think Uber and Airbnb) – and they’re looking for an omnichannel experience that enables access not just to a bank account, but to an expert who can guide their financial choices.

In fact, according to a survey conducted by Forrester Research, Inc. for Diebold, millennials still visit bank branches almost as frequently as other consumers: last year, they averaged 2.1 trips per quarter, while overall U.S. consumers visited a branch three times in the given range. Simultaneously, they accessed their banks via mobile phone almost twice as frequently as the general population.

The key difference between these two major groups, then, isn’t their needs, per se. Instead, it’s in the demand for access to a wider array of engagement and delivery methods. In the Forrester study, 50% of the millennials polled stated that the range of services offered through a bank’s app or website was important to them.² Banks could take a cue from this stat and broaden the options and capabilities available through their mobile apps and online sites, realizing that by enabling deeper accessibility at one touch point, they’re creating stickier platforms that encourage loyalty.

In a previous series, I outlined a number of ways FIs can employ lessons from retail brands that are leading the market in exceptional consumer experience:

How are you speaking the language of millennials?  We want to know.

Source: Diebold