In Part 1 of our understanding Millennial’s, we discussed some high level demographic info and how important it is to win their business.
In Part 2, we will discuss what Millennial’s want and how to speak to them! This is sort of lengthy but is jam packed with food for thought!
What do Millennial’s want?
This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone! Patience is no longer considered a virtue among this generation. Waiting is more of an annoyance than anything. From their food, entertainment and general way of life, everything is fast!
With limitless amounts of information instantaneously available at their fingertips, waiting is for old people. It is necessary for you to analyze every interaction, every touch point and make it as convenient as possible. Convenience and our next discussion point have a number of crossover characteristics. Keep that in mind as we continue.
From communication, finance/banking, shopping, Etc., Millennials want options! In a world where you can do nearly everything from your phone, this generation demands flexibility.
How many ways can you think of to make instant contact with someone? If you could only come up with 4 or fewer, you might need to hire some Millennial’s to give you a crash course.
Let’s see… You can call, face-time, email, text, DM (Direct Message), Skype, message, chat and there is even something called a snap!
Think about this in context of your clients ability to connect with you or your staff. If the only method for communicating with your clients is your main office line, you are going to have challenges meeting the expectations of this generation.
Why has DIY tax preparation taken off? Well, it nails the top two “wants” of this segment! They can “do” their taxes when they want, from where they want, at their own pace and without any sort of wait.
So, what is our collective response to this? 1. We developed a brandable mobile app (TaxesToGo) that is integrated with the software! 2. A client portal! Neither of these solutions are a silver bullet but they do provide your taxpayer additional options other than coming into to the office and also checks the convenience box!
3. Budget Friendly
There has been much written about Millennials and their spending habits. There are some concerning statistics about their spending vs. saving habits but with regard to doing their taxes, it appears much of the decision comes down to a simple cost benefit analysis.
What is the difference in cost of doing my taxes myself (DIY) vs. getting them done professionally and what is my net benefit? It is our job to “reframe” the conversation or shift this way of thinking.
The tax professional value proposition has to be greater than, “let me help you check this off your list”, you need them to see you as a trusted adviser. The customer perception must be that you are proactively looking at ways to help them achieve their unique goals. Whether that goal is the purchase of their first home, getting out of debt or ways to reduce their tax liability. It is imperative we ask questions, actively listen and provide a simple step by step approach to making those goals a reality.
4. Experiences – Big Topic!
Millennials want an experience, not a transaction. Your company culture, your brand and your marketing must become one that is focused on the customer experience. This customer experience is a sum total of each touch point that you or your staff have with your client. You might say, “we have great customer service”. Awesome, that is one important component of an experience but doesn’t get you all the way to the finish line.
So, how do you make tax preparation an experience? It’s surprisingly simple but requires a conscious commitment and an ongoing willingness to look at the data, simplify processes, solicit customer input as well as act on employee feedback.
A. What is your vision of the ideal customer experience?
Is it written down? Are your employees trained on this? Is it followed religiously?
Customer Experience is more of a process than anything else. Everything has to be working in concert to establish and reinforce the desired experience. Your website, office color choice, posters, client folders, phone greeting, in person greeting, expectation setting, client questionnaire and everything in between.
B. Know your client!
Unless you have perfect recall (highly unlikely), knowing/remembering all of your clients is virtually impossible. In a general sense, you should know/understand the makeup of your customer base and what is important to each client segment. Something that many marketing companies do by creating generic client Persona(s).
A client Persona is, a semi-fictional representation of your customer, based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your client persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. Whether you know it or not, you possess the “Holy Grail” of client data. A person’s tax return tells you almost everything you could want to know about someone and what you don’t have, you can plug in with demographic data!
Let’s see, what all do you have? You have their age, marital status, with or without children, income, if they own a house, employment status and a number of other telling pieces of data. Within the Millennial group you could create multiple persona types to help you zero in on your ideal client. Identifying this sort of “bulls eye” client will help you shape your overall marketing strategy.
For example, you would create Persona(s) to include Professional Single W/O Kids, HOH Low Income, DINK (Dual Income No Kids) or DI (Dual Income) W/Kids Persona. You would then want to identify the percentage of each Persona and gear your marketing to speak to the largest segment of this population. Let’s say your largest millennial persona is a DI W/Kids (65%), your marketing would be geared towards items related to saving for college, preserving/creating generational wealth, tax law changes that may affect them or whatever you identify as meaningful to that segment.
You would also want to identify key discussion points or standardized questions to ask when meeting with this client type. Especially for returning clients, between software notes, prior year questionnaire and their prior year tax return, you should have enough information to create a set of engaging/meaningful questions. Which segues perfectly into the next section.
C. Create an emotional connection.
You may have heard it said, “people buy emotionally and then later they justify it logically”. People like to believe they make their decisions based on carefully considered objective factors but the data shows quite the opposite. Every car, beverage, clothing or restaurant brand has a clear set of ingrained adjectives associated with them! For instance, the name Mercedes is associated with luxury and people driving them are perceived to have higher social status. In reality, luxury cars or sports car of any kind are completely impractical by every objective measure. However, that fact is irrelevant because owning and driving the vehicle elicits some significant emotional response from the owner.
If you pay attention, commercials speak very little of the products features or functions but more so a projection of an identity. Watch this little VIDEO to see this illustrated in Beer Commercials.
The intention is to create an emotional connection with the brand as opposed to purchasing decision based on objective facts. Your job is to define your brand and reinforce/project through every interaction the desired emotional response from your client. Does your client have an emotional connection with your brand? Do you have a brand?
D. Get your customer to tell you how you are doing.
Everyone wants to be heard and feedback is incredibly powerful data! Ask your customer to tell you what they thought of their experience. It’s easy, fast, gives you valuable information and provides your client the opportunity to tell you what you have done well or how you could better meet their needs. Asking for this sort of input also shows that you care and helps you create that all important emotional connection.
Getting this information could be an informal post return Q and A, a short survey card or if you want to be a little more sophisticated, you could use a tool like survey monkey. Whatever you do, get feedback!
As is the case with anyone, millennials seek belonging above all else. They want to fit in and will do whatever it takes to connect with people and causes. Make sure your brand projects the “everyone is doing it” or “people just like you” come here because we specialize in what’s important to you!
Millennials have developed a highly developed 6th sense. This sense is a the ability to discern the authentic from the inauthentic. What do we mean by that? Simply, they can tell from a mile away when someone is sincere or insincere. As soon as they detect the slightest bit of insincerity, that brand or whatever has very little likelihood of receiving repeat business.
So, how can you ensure you and your business are perceived as authentic?
The most powerful tool any of us have at our disposal is the power of story. The Millennial loves stories, for that matter, everyone loves stories. You may or may not recognize it, but you have amazing stories to share. You have your personal stories and you have customer stories. Why are these stories so powerful? They are relatable and intentionally or unintentionally they are conveyed with genuine emotion. Make sure you are sharing stories with your clients of how you reached a particular goal or what you did for a client in a similar position. These stories will resonate as authentic and inadvertently create a deeper emotional connection with you and your brand.
Millennial’s Part 3 Coming soon!