11 Mar How To Serve Next-Gen Clients
Most Millennials have fairly straightforward finances now, but that’s poised to change. As Baby Boomers retire at the rate of 10,000 per day, members of younger generations are stepping forward to succeed them. More than one-third of the U.S. labor force is composed of Millennials, who recently eclipsed Gen Xers to become the largest generational group in the workplace.
As Millennials mature and advance in their careers, their wealth will grow through income and an influx of inherited wealth. The United States will see a $68 trillion transfer of wealth over the next 25 years, and much of that money will pass into the hands of younger generations. How do we as CPA’s and Financial Planners help them benefit from our services?
WHAT DO NEXT-GEN CLIENTS WANT FROM A CPA?
Be a proactive adviser
Younger clients are often new to the financial situations they’re encountering, which means they appreciate education and advice. They may not know which services they need or what’s available to them. It is our responsibility to educate them on a full range of topics, especially if they are self-employed now or planning to become so in the near future.
Young clients’ choice of advice provider is not always about who’s the cheapest. It’s about who can allay their fears and help them with their advice.
Provide a streamlined experience
Younger clients expect most services to be as seamless and convenient as online shopping or ride-sharing apps. CPA offices might take this as a queue to streamline and innovate their office procedures. Instead of contacting clients for missing information and waiting for them to mail it, drop it off, or fax it, they could seamlessly use secure email.
Review your processes around client interaction and think about how you can take something from 60 clicks down to five clicks, adopt technologies that can make working with you more convenient for your clients, such as instant messaging, returns in PDF format, and electronic signatures.
Adopt a less-formal manner
Millennial clients may relate better to younger staff members, who’ll typically be more familiar with the technology younger clients are using, and tend to speak less formally than their older counterparts. In addition to updating your office and technology procedures, take a look at your dress code and office decore, maybe it’s time to refresh in general and reflect your firm’s updated knowledge of tax and finance aesthetically. Be prepared to offer medium and light roast coffee too.
Younger clients don’t care as much about the “office experience” as older ones do. Younger clients may prefer to hop on Zoom or talk on the phone and avoid the drive, traffic, and parking fees. Have your younger staff set this up and train the rest of the firm.
Some Millennial clients even avoid voice communications and prefer to communicate entirely over email and text messages. However, if some matters are too important for text or email, and sometimes those methods introduce the possibility of miscommunications or lack of security, you may need to educate them on the need for more direct or face to face communication.
Use alternative billing methods
The hourly billing model isn’t always a good fit for younger clients, who may be accustomed to being able to see what everything costs online. Most are willing to pay a fixed fee upfront. Consider offering the option of paying monthly, on annual retainer or on a per-project basis.
Clients under 40 may not represent a large share of your client base, but win their business now, and you have the opportunity to convert them into long-term clients who will likely need more of your services as they mature.