Listen up banks, as institutions that’ll handle millennials’ money, you better believe we will Google you and read all the reviews we can before deciding to switch to your institution and do business with you. Additionally, like any other brand, there are bound to be both positive and negative interactions/reactions to your service. However, don’t feel too mortified about the negative reviews. Those of us who do extensive research take into account both the positive and negative reviews, and especially how well they balance each other out. After all, if your institution has only raving reviews, we may wonder if they’re staged and become suspicious of their and your authenticity. If you’ve received a negative review, your best option is to show that you’ve addressed it and attempted to mitigate the situation rather than simply deleting or ignoring it all together. Handling negative reviews shows us how you would potentially handle our situation if something goes awry. Of course, we understand that everyone makes mistakes; yet it’s how you handle those mistakes that will earn our respect in addition to our business. For millennials brand experience is everything, it is the quintessential factor that will determine whether we choose your bank or not. So, if I were to make a list and send it to all banks nationwide, this is what I imagine many millennials would look for in their banks.

Mobile Friendly Options

Your app isn’t user friendly and doesn’t scan checks? Sorry, we’re deleting it. As I’m downloading new apps on a regular basis, I’m also deleting useless ones just as quickly. It takes me about 5 minutes to decide whether I’m going to use this newly downloaded app or not. So despite the industry’s rush to “adopt mobile,” it’s also equally as important to get it right. We’re used to a quick glance at a dashboard in personal financial management apps and the ease of Apple Pay, it’s time to realize that creating a bank app is not simply about showing a list of transactions and checking account balances.

Personal And Customized Experience

Despite the tech dependency of many millennials, I find that many are increasingly craving that personal touch and connection to a brand. That makes that in-person interaction that much more important when it does happen. It takes a lot to earn our trust, but once you’ve proven yourself, we’re more likely to come back and ask for advice later. The truth is many of us are entering a stage in our lives where major financial decisions are being made. We may or may not have family members to give us sound financial advice, so we’re craving for that personal attention that fits our financial needs. Do us a favor: be that person by being patient, not pushy and genuine.

Traditional Advertising Is Dead – Engaging Brand Content Is In

Those thousands of dollars brands spend on website advertising and billboards? We may see it. We probably won’t. You’ll never find out anyway. But we probably will see a sponsored event on Facebook that our friends are going to or that awesome filtered Instagram photo of those delicious cookies in your lobby. Not only do we not trust and quickly shut down traditional advertising (pop-up ads, who does that anymore?), we increasingly buy into people we trust. And the people we trust are our friends and loved ones. That’s why word of mouth, social media and influencers/brand advocates are increasingly taking center stage in 2016.

Hassle Free And Easy To Understand Products

It’s true we don’t like bank fees and will fight you tooth and nail to refund them. But in banking, free checking is not free. It’s important to educate when accounts are first opened and give yourself a chance to explain why certain things cost money. I still don’t think many of us understand overdraft fees unless you explain to us that it’s essentially a small loan to hold us over until our account balance clears. Educating and walking through many of these account caveats will lessen the blow when it does happen and it feels like a “gotcha” moment to us. All industries are squeezing consumers like crazy; can you get any smaller with those airline seats? That’s why it’s important to explain the quality and value behind the dollars and cents before it feels like you’re nickel and diming us.

Ask Us How You Can Do Better

Finally, if you’re curious about your service quality – just ask us. Don’t wait until that moment when you mess up and then we’re blasting about it on social media. At every step of the way, millennials love offering their opinions. If you’re a personal banker, ask how you can assist further, how life is going, treat us like a friend and give us the best way to contact you. That way, the lines of communications are open so that when things do go wrong, it’s easier to address them quickly and efficiently. Millennials want to bank with a person. If they’re constantly seeing a different face and having to re-explain things, it’s just that much colder of a relationship. After the financial crisis, brand loyalty in banking is increasingly on icy waters. Keep the relationship warm; remember our names, our life goals and then offer solutions on how you can help us get there.

In light of these 5 essentials to doing business with millennials, the one thing that ties them all together and the most important factor to keep in mind is that user experience is everything. We will not hesitate to delete your app, we will glance over your billboard like it was never there, but we will always value someone – not something – that values our opinion and overall banking experience.


Are there any other essentials geared towards millennials at your FI? Let us know!