What do Millennials expect of your company?
There was a time when eyes rolled that grandma didn’t have a VHS player at her house, then later when she didn’t have an email address, but time and technology changed both of those scenarios, and here we are today. Some people catch up, others don’t, but the youngest generation is typically the fastest to catch on to new technologies, simply because they grew up with them instead of having to learn them and change behaviors later.
Billtrust marketing manager, Chrissy Werner observes that there are some substantial generational differences. “We have 696 Facebook friends on average, we love indie music, and we don’t even know where the TV remote is. We’re the millennial generation. And we’re remaking the status quo in hundreds of ways. One of those ways is how we pay for things.”
Werner notes that, “As the first generation born into the digital revolution, we millennials spend a great deal of our waking lives online. We communicate, we buy, we learn, we create, we play, and we impact the culture, all through the Internet. So in order to attract, satisfy and retain millennials as customers, companies need to begin looking at the billing process the way 18-30 year olds do.”
In her own words below are three phrases that sum up the millennial attitude toward receiving and paying bills:
1. “We don’t do mailboxes.”
Millennials don’t go to the mailbox every day. We’re lucky if we check it once or twice a week. It’s not where we expect to find things that are important to us.
Our low involvement with traditional mail means it’s likely to take 10 days before a mailed paper bill actually reaches our hands, and even longer for the sender to receive payment. To serve millennials in a way that’s natural to us—and to get us to make payments quickly—digital alternatives such as online bill delivery, banks, email, website or mobile technology are essential.
2. “What’s a filing cabinet?”
Millennials don’t just prefer to handle their finances online—they expect it. In fact, any kind of paper is seen as both archaic and wasteful.
This generation doesn’t file paper. It doesn’t own a filing cabinet. It already assumes that the institution archives every bill it sends out online. It also assumes that there will be easy self-service tools on the institution’s website to answer any billing question.
3. “Checks? Yeah right.”
Smartphones and tablets are the ways we manage our lives. We’re very comfortable with electronic payments. We are quick to sign up for automatic payments and even prefer that electronic delivery and payment be the default option.
There isn’t a person under the age of 35 who would prefer to write a check. With online services like Manilla, Mint and eBill Connect around to help us coordinate and pay our bills, we’d be perfectly happy if we never saw our checkbooks again.
Where company focus should be
“Of course, we’re not the only generation companies have to serve,” Werner asserts. “The focus should be on offering a range of ways people can receive and pay bills. That way customers can choose the method they’re comfortable with. (Word to the wise: if you’re offering both printed and online bills, make sure they look the same. No customer, young or old, wants to be confused about where to look for line items, totals and other important information.)”
Werner concludes, “Electronic billing and payment lowers operating costs, reduces DSO (Days Sales Outstanding), decreases the number of customer service calls, and increases customer satisfaction. Most importantly, however, it makes winning new customers (most likely millennials) easier. So don’t wait for your customers to demand it—push your organization to bill in the way that matches today’s lifestyles. Otherwise, millennials will find someone else who does.”