The impact of the millennial time bomb on your customer experience design
Inertia can be dangerous in customer experience management. Many companies argue that solid business models can be built on low costs and a minimum of effort, on the part of the brand and the customer. And whilst this approach can still deliver value to shareholders, it pays little attention to the ticking millennial time bomb, which, by 2020, will have drastically changed the world of customer experience design.
Simplicity through technology
Millennials are individuals who were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. Typically, they demand simple, transparent customer experiences that are fuelled by technological innovations but supported by human beings, so there is always a genuine person to guide them when problems arise. They do not, however, want to be presented with ‘product of the month’-type conversations, or to feel duped by hidden fees and penalty charges that are sometimes attributed to financial organisations. Millennials seek companies that understand their particular needs and lifestyles, and can cater for them with sincere passion and technological innovation. They want to use multiple media types to gain access to a brand, with the smartphone leading the way as the dominant platform. They desire tasks that can be accomplished at the click of the button, rather than through a 10 page process.
For many organisations, this will necessitate a radical change in how they approach their customer experience design. And they do not have long to achieve this, as it is predicted that Millennials will account for 30 per cent of all global spend by 2020.
This may be a bitter pill for some organisations to swallow, particularly those belonging to the financial services sector. The Millennial generation has been wounded by the recent financial crisis and subsequent recession, which came at a formative time for many people in this age group. In fact, a recent survey in the United States – the 2015 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient – showed that all the major banks are in a top 10 list of brands that Millennials dislike the most.
Success through innovation
Indeed, some organisations are already taking steps to address this issue. In the US, there is an app called Nimbl which enables customers in New York and San Francisco to withdraw cash using their smartphones and have it delivered to their desired location. It has just finished its Beta period, but hopes to be back in operation soon. Likewise, there are companies such as Lending Club, Proper, Robinhood and Affirm which are offering new ways to take out loans and apply for credit cards.
The latter organisation is particularly innovative; its mission statement is to “deliver honest financial products to improve lives,” as it believes “the financial industry desperately needs reinvention.” As Affirm explains: “We are using modern technology to re-imagine and re-build core components of financial infrastructure from the ground up. We’re focusing on improving the lives of everyday consumers with less expensive, more transparent financial products.”
And crucially for Millennials, the smartphone is at the forefront of these plans. Affirm acts as a means by which customers can pay for purchases, even over a period of time, if they wish. “Customers can check out instantly, no cumbersome credit card input needed,” the brand points out. “Affirm’s streamlined purchase experience is especially valuable for mobile visitors.”
If brands are to beat the millennial time bomb, therefore, they will need to look at companies such as Affirm and start to evolve their customer experience design. The generation’s voice is speaking loud and clear, and it lacks patience. If CX brands are to keep up, they will need to pay close attention to what these customers are saying, and discover new ways to simplify and innovate, in a manner that is both empathetic and sincere.
For more customer experience insight visit the KPMG Nunwood CEM blog.