July 27, 2017

Millennials are changing the professional service industry – here’s what you need to know

Just last year, the millennial generation took over as the largest living population in the United States. As a professional service, your company should be anticipating how to handle an increase in millennial clients, who have behaviors and beliefs much different from previous generations. Although many are tackling student debt at this time, they stand to become one of the wealthiest generations, and companies should be investing in their millennial relationships now to reap the financial benefits in the future. Here, we observe four qualities of a millennial client and discuss the ways your business can use this insight to grow.

They are loyal, but…

Currently, around half of the millennial population is loyal to the professional service companies they do business with (Linkedin). However, that doesn’t mean a loyal millennial client is locked into their existing relationships forever. For this new generation, loyalty is rewarded to the business that can provide the best service, deals, and dedication. If something better comes along, the millennial client is quicker to jump ship than their Baby Boomer counterpart. But, if a business makes them feel important and meets their needs, they will be a consumer for life.

Advice: Understand what your millennial clients expect from businesses in your industry and do everything you can to meet those needs. Whether it’s incorporating the latest technology or creating an offer geared directly towards them, you should show that you’re not only interested, but invested in the millennial client.

They want a deeper understanding of your services.

Before a millennial client even speaks to one of your employees, more often than not they have gone online to collect information on your business, your services, and has probably even compared you to competitors. From reading reviews written by current clients to research on what specific types of services you offer, they want to know more about where they are putting their money. For them, this is how they reduce the risk of being tricked into services that they don’t need. This is a result of witnessing the older generation make such mistakes and hearing stories of hidden fees and companies failing to be transparent.

Advice: Place a priority on communication. Conduct seminars, speak at colleges, work with the press, or generate original online content via articles or videos to establish your brand as one that educates and helps their clients. Take advantage of the fact that this generation values transparency; disclose pricing structures up front and enjoy a loyal bond with your customer in return.

Your online visibility and reputation is important to them. .

In the past, you may have been able to rely on strong recommendations and word of mouth marketing, but with the rise of the internet and social media, your younger potential clients are interested in what you do online and what others have to say about you in reviews. Building yourself a strong, branded social media presence is essential to differentiate yourself from your competition. Millennials have made websites like their go-to source for reviews from actual clients to help form an opinion, and use other social media sources, such as Facebook, to gain an insight into your approach, methods and overall vibe. Expectations are high in the millennial generation, and when it comes to an online presence, they expect to get a sense of who you are before they even step into one of your locations or speak to an employee.

Advice: Create a presence on social media channels that is appropriate for your business, such as on Facebook or Linkedin. That will show your expertise, encourage client reviews, and appeal to the millennial generation. Ask current and satisfied clients to leave honest reviews on these channels, perhaps in exchange for a small promotion.

They want the latest technology.

Millennial clients want more than emails, they want convenience in the form of mobile applications, paperwork that can be filled online or on the phone, and 24/7 options for customer service. For millennials, a company’s use of the latest technology shows how well the company is equipped to handle their needs, whether it’s resolving a frozen debit card at 2am or offering a mobile app so they can reserve their space in line at the walk-in clinic. In other words, millennials don’t want to wait and they don’t want to waste time, so they will go to the businesses that have the most up to date technology. Greater convenience in the form of advanced tech options are also a powerful reason for them to make referrals, telling their communities about a great service they have discovered. While this is a hard requirement to  achieve for some smaller businesses, investing in the latest technology is essential in proving to emerging adults that you understand their needs and are willing to make investments for them. Whereas older generations might prefer face to face conversations, the millennial generation is content with a majority of interactions occurring over mobile or web applications.

Advice: Find ways to make any of your forms or information accessible online and on mobile apps, train employees to handle client relationships over email along with in person or on the phone, develop a user-friendly app, and update your technology to match the latest and best of today.

The key to the millennial client is meeting their needs and qualities with a genuine approach, rather than doing something because it’s a “trend.” To attract the younger generation, it’s best to start building your brand around what you do better than everyone else. Get started with our latest and free e-book, “Building a Professional Brand that Stands Out.”