Credit unions today are trying to compete in an increasingly challenging marketplace. Today’s consumers expect 24/7 access to intuitive digital tools, and seamless, personal interactions across all channels.
These expectations are rapidly outpacing the capabilities of many CUs. Loyalty is eroding too, as close to 60% of consumers express willingness to buy financial products from established tech firms. These factors combine to create a perfect storm threatening the future of community finance.
The Digital Shift – Both a Challenge and an Opportunity
But all is not lost, because changing member expectations also represent a unique opportunity for credit unions that are willing to be nimble and forward-thinking.
Big banks are responding to the digital shift by investing in emerging technologies like conversational AI and blockchain. Smaller institutions may not be able to match their R&D budgets, but there are plenty of ways for them to address digital lag in a practical, cost effective manner.
One excellent way to prioritize your digitization projects is to look at them through a member experience lens. That’s because a better member experience increases the chance you’ll retain existing members, grow your relationships, and even benefit from member referrals. The effect is so pronounced that Forrester indicates “the revenue growth of CX leaders is 5.1x that of laggards”
To get you started, here’s a list of 4 practical ways to improve your member experience in 2018, using member engagement tools. Implementing even one of these will have positive effects on metrics like loyalty and share of wallet.
1. Start strong to build lasting relationships
Offer a frictionless first experience, without all the paper and time it typically consumes, using automated account opening and loan origination solutions. Your members will appreciate not having to give you the same information time and time again, and your staff will get more time to have that all-important goal-setting, revenue-building conversation.
2. Engage more fully with each member
Your members see all of their interactions with your organization as one conversation. Do you? A member relationship management (MRM) tool can really help to ensure that every member interaction is noted and recorded, regardless of origin, so your members never have to repeat themselves. It’s the sort of personal touch that builds loyalty and increases satisfaction.
3. Find out what your members actually need and want
Collect, store, aggregate, and analyze member data across multiple channels and back-office systems using a combination of MRM and a business analytics tool. They’ll help you pinpoint opportunities to offer the right products and services to the right member at the right time.
Personalized and pertinent offers deliver a more compelling experience, engaging your members and making them feel like you really understand their needs.
4. Identify more opportunities to communicate
Take your regulatory communications to the next level with modern statements and reports, delivered through the member’s preferred channel. Deliver better looking statements, with targeted marketing messages that support the messaging used in your other promotional channels. It’s a great way to turn a simple statement into a powerful marketing vehicle.
Then there’s email marketing – a cost effective, personal way to keep your brand top of mind. Members appreciate proactive contact, but you need to think beyond product-centric marketing. Birthday messages, news about activities at local branches, and lifestage-specific financial education messages represent just a few of the opportunities you may be overlooking to increase member engagement.
When Digitizing, Think of the Bigger Picture
When you are selecting your member engagement solutions, do your future self a favor and pay attention to application integration. Bidirectional integrations are essential to provide a streamlined and seamless experience across all your member touch points – from digitizing new account opening and loan processing, to replacing legacy content management systems with cloud-based ECM and responsive eStatements.
If the solutions you pick can all be easily and tightly integrated, then you can simply begin your digitization journey by addressing your most urgent need, and confidently build from there. If you take a more piecemeal approach, you may find yourself with an architectural headache as your member engagement strategy evolves. And if there’s one thing we all know today, it’s that member expectations will continue to evolve in lockstep with the evolution of technology.
That’s why credit unions need to get started today on bridging the gap between their members expectations of a perfect digital relationship and their ability to deliver it, then make revisiting member engagement strategy a perennial task. By doing so, they’ll secure a bright future for their organization and its members, wherever the digital revolution leads next.