Banking on the Ultimate Millennial Experience

Millennials are entering an important life stage for banks as this segment of the population is starting to build wealth while driving potential sales growth in financial products and services. As Millennials provide banks with continued growth opportunities, banks must understand their needs and expectations in order to create a strong affinity with these future wealth generators. However, financial institutions also need to identify the needs of its banks and brand in order for them to prosper and grow in the marketplace.

Millennials expect a seamless and coherent personal experience where they have access, on their terms, to timely advice and proactive services that reflect their values and lifestyle needs. Create the ideal Millennial branded experience by building on their priorities while meeting the needs of your business. By treating Millennials with respect and by reducing their confusion and anxiety towards financial services, you will turn them into advocates for your institution. Here’s how to create the ultimate Millennial experience.


Address needs that align with some of the challenges facing the industry:

  • Increase relevancy among Millennials of both the bank and its branch network
  • Identify efficiencies that would drive lower margin and cost services to online experiences while incurring higher customer engagement
  • Overcome negative perceptions of financial institutions
  • Provide a cost effective approach to delivering personalized services
  • Improve conflict resolution scores as this is one of the key drivers for brand switching


Create strategic imperatives to overcome the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities. For the banking industry to drive growth among the Millennial cohort, it must address the following priorities:

  • Adapt the current delivery system and channel strategy to appeal to Millennials (ATM, mobile, online, branches)
  • Provide more transparency and authenticity (greater disclosure of loan terms and community involvement)
  • Create efficiencies within the system while driving one-to-one interaction to drive higher margin transactions and sales
  • Position banks as the trusted and reliable platform to access funds and investments

Similar to the customer side of the equation, these factors identify the criteria required for the brand experience to succeed from an organizational and company perspective. The Millennial experience needs to match the company growth requirements while also matching the engagement to the organizational brand value.

Seamless, coherent and efficient experience where the bank derives the greatest amount of affinity and revenue from Millennials while creating significant differentiation from other FIs and disruptive financial offerings

The alignment of the company and the Millennial brand experience is created through joining the factors for the given cohort and the company branded experiences. These experiences are filtered through a lens that leverages a company’s context, environment, position and identity. Ultimately, the ideal omni-experience identifies the value the physical experience delivers to both the consumer and the organization. In order to make the value proposition actionable, tactics are grouped around our three levers of engagement: message, structure and process.


The ideal Millennial experience platform will need to speak to the specific needs of Millennials to minimize switching and increase brand advocacy.

  • Understand that although Millennials have been categorized as one group, they represent two distinct segments: those between the ages of 18 to 24 who are starting out; and those that are 25 to 34 who are starting a career, a family and building equity
  • Mirror their aspirational needs to contribute to society and their community
  • Share their values in being empowered and knowledgeable to make the right decisions
  • Messaging needs to reinforce transparency with all costs clearly identified
  • Personal customer interaction and attention, specifically to fee waivers, overdrafts and authorization
  • Proactive analytics to avoid potential conflict issues such as authorizations and overdrafts
  • Coherence and seamlessness across the various online, mobile and physical platforms, while leveraging offers and messages that appeal to their specific needs
  • Provide insights and knowledge to allow Millennials to feel confident in their financial decisions
  • Communicate more effectively on mobile app capabilities


Create an inclusive community experience that supports Millennials’ priorities for feeling confident in their decisions, while receiving personalized services as part of offline and online channels.

  • Marketing needs to fully leverage social media, television ads and word-of-mouth recommendations as these are preferred communication channels
  • Develop an integrated and easy-to-use mobile (including texting) and online banking experience
  • Target key offerings and services around life events such as changing jobs, getting married, moving, buying a home or car, or starting a small business
  • Create more intimate and convenient branch experiences that provide access to the latest in technology and more personal/private banking experiences, like the branch design we created for China Zheshang Bank
  • Locate branches within Millennials’ communities, primarily urban in focus
  • Provide a multi-tiered channel strategy with a greater number of easily accessible self-serve ATMs, video ATMS and drive-thru, in addition to smaller, more convenient branches


Create a seamless and coherent experience that allows for a tiered level of engagement and convenient access to knowledge.

  • Increase branch service, specifically reducing wait times to four minutes or less and being offered additional assistance
  • Provide a higher degree of personalized service, such as greeting and recognizing the customer upon entering, knowing the customer by name, and thanking them for banking
  • Paperless and digital banking transaction experience to reduce the number of required visits to a branch for loan approvals, opening new accounts, and bill payment
  • Stronger use of Universal Bankers to manage all parts of Millennials’ financial requirements
  • A higher degree of privacy throughout the branch experience
  • Proactive and analytically-based approval systems that speed up service while reducing the complexity of opening an account, a loan, and credit card approvals
  • Stronger service system and culture for conflict resolutions

As Millennials become advocates and provide banks with continued growth, this segment is open to allowing banks to migrate lower margin transactions to mobile and online platforms. Create the ultimate Millennial experience strategy to build a strong affinity with Millennials while satisfying the needs and priorities of your customers and financial institution.