Adversity sparks innovation in self-service technology

There’s no doubt about it—2020 has been a chaotic year. Businesses and individuals across the country have had to adjust to a barrage of unprecedented circumstances, including a global pandemic, nationwide shelter-in-place orders, massive unemployment, an economic recession, and social unrest. It’s been tough—but here’s the great thing about humans—we adapt. We turn obstacles into opportunities and meet challenges with creativity. We find the best things about our new circumstances and take them with us into the future. 

For credit unions, that future will likely include more self-service options. Consider the fact that members who never adopted technology tools have had no choice but to adopt and use them since March. For the past several months, your members have been checking their balances online, making payments online, responding to business-driven text messages and virtual communication, and much more. According to Healthline, “It takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.” This means that, by now, members are used to and expect to be able to interact with their credit union online via self-service channels. 

As the pandemic continues to drag on, financial institutions also need to be able to generate non-interest income. With branches either closed, operating within limited hours, or requiring an appointment to meet with lenders, there must be other ways to introduce products and services. The pandemic has forced those financial institutions that previously took a minimal passing glance at self-service technology to now focus on it for survival.  

Self-Service Trends 

In our new world of social distancing, online shopping, self-servicing, and curbside pick-up have become a normal part of almost all of our daily “interactions.” Your members are not only looking for a more convenient way to pay—they’re now considering which options will keep them safe. With branch lobbies closed or operating in a limited capacity and many employees and members still working from home, credit unions have had to evolve and adapt their businesses. This means that self-service payment channels are no longer a convenience—they are now a necessity. 

The continuing trend toward self-service has been apparent for years, particularly among younger consumers. According to SuperOffice, “Today, 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative. Furthermore, 91% of customers would use an online knowledge base, if it were available and tailored to their needs.

For credit unions, jumping too far into the self-serve deep end can be particularly daunting, since the differentiating factor in the credit union model has always been member service and the human connection. Unfortunately, with social distancing measures in place, this human element is harder to incorporate—but your members still need to interact with your institution in a safe and convenient way.

This means every digital channel you make available to your members provides value. 

Self-Serve Product Offerings

Due to the pandemic, demand for self-service channels and the ability to purchase financial services online has exploded. In the past, loan officers were able to convey directly to their members in face-to-face settings the features and benefits of all add-on services to an auto loan. 

Adapting to the new reality of COVID-19-related disruptions, SWBC recently developed a new Digital Consumer Experience (DiCE) platform that allows your members to purchase Major Mechanical Protection (MMP) online through a simple quoting and application process. With fewer members entering the branch, DiCE allows credit unions to take advantage of the expanding utilization of digital channels, and provides vehicle service contracts through a self-service experience—directly from your website.

The pandemic has challenged all of us rethink our member interactions and support. For SWBC, it has inspired us to think outside of the box and find a way to help our clients drive revenue and provide stellar service while remaining at (slightly more than) arm’s length from their members. Although 2020 has been a year of many trials and setbacks, we will all continue to meet those challenges with ingenuity and resilience. In the words of the American author Napoleon Hill, “Every adversity carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit.” By offering more self-service options to your members, you will set your credit union up for success in 2021 and beyond. 

To schedule a demo of SWBC’s new self-service DiCE platform, call 866-316-1162 or visit our website today.

Tony Streeter

Tony Streeter

As SVP of Marketing for the Financial Institution Group, Tony Streeter is responsible for product marketing across all lines of business (predominantly auto and mortgage risk management) geared toward the ... Details

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