Three ways to think about the connection
The financial services industry is rapidly evolving.
How many times have you heard that? A thousand, right? Maybe more. So much that industry change is no longer a surprise to any credit union.
How fast the industry is changing might be, though. After decades of relatively slow technological and business process growth, fintech innovators, the cloud and the internet of things are pushing credit unions to innovate fast if they want to stay competitive. From digital transformation to artificial intelligence and data mining, credit unions of all shapes and sizes are scrambling to keep up with trends and stay relevant. It’s an enormous challenge.
Now there’s a new layer that credit unions must consider: the member experience.
Meeting Members Where They Are
Experts agree that delivering a great customer experience lies in part by meeting members where they are. But what does that mean?
For many credit unions, it means ensuring your services and staff are available in the channels where customers live and work. Can members reach your service reps via tweet or Facebook message? Is mobile banking simple and intuitive on a smartwatch? Is your branch staff up-to-speed when the member wants to sit down and talk one-on-one?
It also has a deeper significance. Meeting your members where they are means taking a proactive approach to delivering innovative products and services. Rather than wait for the member to reach out with a need, the credit union reviews member data, considers financial patterns and trends, and provides a prescription that serves the member’s financial needs. In a way, the credit union becomes the hub of member data research and information.
A Closer Connection To Your Members
This is all tied back to member experience. Today, members can connect with the brands they use via online chat or through social media. And they expect an immediate response when they do. When they want to heap praise, members are most likely to post that praise on Instagram, tagging your credit union so you might see it.
When credit unions aren’t meeting members where they are, especially when it comes to responding to a request or complaint, 38% feel more negative about the credit union. A full 60% will take unpleasant actions to express their dissatisfaction, according to research from Millward Brown Digital, commissioned by Lithium Technologies. That could be everything from lodging a complaint with the C-level to moving to another credit union altogether.
Give Your Employees A Map To Your Members
You can certainly go the technology route and arm your employees with information stored in the cloud and accessible via mobile and apps—but be cognizant of the person-to-person experience. In other words, leverage digital technology to enhance human interactions.
That might start in the branch. Quick access to member information while behind the counter or out on the floor with a tablet can make the member’s experience more convenient, more efficient and more personalized.
But don’t forget that the industry continues to consolidate to digital channels. U.S. branch closures hit another high in 2018, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, and ATM use continues to plunge as well. Even cash, according to ATM Marketplace, is used less and less, as consumers choose to “tap and go” with their credit and debit cards for small purchases.
As the industry and consumers go digital, there are three areas of focus every credit union should consider, according to PaymentsJournal:
- Approach technology solutions as a means to an end. If employees can access a member’s personal information quickly and review their products and services holistically, they can better serve the member and provide the kind of experience that member is looking for.
- Arm staff with the right technology. From checking-in customers via a tablet on the branch floor to accessing customer information via the cloud and mobile app while in the field, the right technology not only gives the member a better experience, it gives the employee a better experience. Customers experience shorter wait times and employees can solve simple challenges quickly, making the branch more efficient.
- Think cloud and mobile. Mobile solutions free staff to meet members where they are, both figuratively and literally, while tying processes to the cloud ensures a seamless experience. Employees feel more productive and customers leave happy.
Credit unions deep in their digital transformation phase or looking for ways to employ digital optimization to move the credit union forward should make sure to keep member experience top of mind. Building a stronger relationship with each member—a meaningful, true relationship—will dictate future success.
Steve Comer is director of the financial services and insurance industries at CUESolutions provider Hyland Software, Westlake, Ohio. For more than 13 years, Steve has been dedicated to helping the financial services industry transform through using Hyland’s enterprise information platform, leveraging the industry-leading capabilities that OnBase provides in enterprise content management/content services, business process management, intelligent capture and case management capabilities. He is proud to lead one of the most dynamic teams at one of the most dynamic companies serving one of the most dynamic and transformative industries.