Times are changing quickly when it comes to member services. It’s no secret that mobile has changed everything… Mobile has forced a rewriting of the rules. Credit union members today have become more empowered than ever to get what they want when they want it, and waiting is a thing of the past. We live in an age of personalization. According to Accenture, 11% of retail banking customers and 18% of millennial banking customers have completely switched banks in the past year. Mobile has enabled your members to immediately turn to a device to know, go, do and buy. This includes quickly finding new banking options. But mobile is just the beginning. Is your credit union preparing for the next revolution?
Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are examples of what credit unions should be preparing for in the next wave of member service technologies. Not because these technologies will change member behavior, rather members will become increasingly comfortable with allowing technology to assist in the management of their lives, including banking with your credit union.
Alexa, the voice of Echo, was developed by Amazon’s Machine Learning Team as the beginning of their goal to make voice interfaces ubiquitous. This shouldn’t be unfamiliar to credit unions. After all, credit unions were among the leaders in interactive voice response (IVR) adoption in the 1980’s. IVR systems were once viewed in the realm of technology marvels. Ironically, member account management using an IVR today feels outdated. Understand, I’m not making a case to bring back or invest in new IVR software and hardware, rather drawing the connection between mobile and machine learning that will become critical to member service moving forward.
The difference today with voice interfaces is their ability to answer questions and remember patterns. Machine Learning as a term sounds intimidating, however, think of it as data mining because that is exactly what it is. If you’re like most people, Apple’s Siri is a quick way to gather information, answer questions and get directions. As members begin to adopt new smart devices and embrace more natural ways to interact with them (like voice commands), their desire for instant information will only multiply. How can we as an industry possibly scale member experiences across all devices and ensure those messages are personalized?
Here are three things to focus on as the technology revolution continues:
- Raise the bar on mobile. Credit unions need to deliver fast, relevant, meaningful member experiences. It’s important to lay the groundwork with mobile experiences that meet expectations. There are a lot of mobile app providers in the credit union space that sell on price and not necessarily technology. First, ensure meaningful, then consider cost. A poorly executed mobile solution might as well be a non-solution, forcing members to look elsewhere.
- Be smart with data. A better understanding of your members, coupled with automation, will enable personalization. Many technology providers will enter your credit union hoping to sell you solutions but remember their systems generally don’t contain the most important input to the member equation – data. Your credit union core software system is becoming increasingly important. It’s no longer just a transactional system, it is now a data warehouse. The ability to connect to this data and return relevant results will be foundational to your credit union’s success.
- Embrace the omnichannel. The leading credit unions will be those that can bridge the online and offline. A seamless experience across the member journey will be critical in building member loyalty and trust. Think about your favorite brands and how you interact with them; position your credit union to connect with your members on their terms.
Technology, if implemented and positioned correctly, can help credit unions deliver the most useful member services. And as technology trends and member behavior change, be prepared to pivot to meet those needs. In most cases, your ability to incorporate new technologies will depend greatly on your technology partners. Choose wisely. Technology is changing the way we approach life and I like it. I believe the future is going to be very exciting, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this industry with all of you.