Did someone say “digital transformation”? Ok, that was everyone shouting it at the same time. Got it. I’m glad we made that transition. It’s all done by now, I presume? You’ve had, what, 4 months? How hard could it be?
According to a survey from Cornerstone Advisors, 70% of respondents claimed their existing systems were barriers to change. As Ron Shevlin, in his Forbes analysis, so appropriately quipped, “the other 30% must have misunderstood the question.”
Thanks, I truly LOLed. I hope you did, too.
“Search your feelings; you know it to be true!” Ok, that was Luke Skywalker. And he was talking about some Force stuff. It’s not important. Fate of the galaxy and all. But not our galaxy, probably.
If addressing your challenges to true digital transformation, right Skywalker was.
We’ll discuss two factors that make your work harder. One is internal. The other, like the truth, is out there.
Your Systems Can Be Better
It’s an important discussion to have with your team, core provider, technology partners, and product support companies. (Disclosure: That’s people like me.)
Case in point: One credit union’s lending person told me about a challenge with data matching. In arriving from two separate sources, they couldn’t compare easily. Their process was laborious and got, at best, 70% accuracy. Ok, but not good enough.
With a seemingly-small update to their core, they were now able to use another piece of data for matching. Now, it was easy, automated, and 100% accurate. I asked what they did to make it happen. “Nothing, just getting our system to let us filter by that variable was all.”
In their case, the credit union did not have to transition their core, change LOS providers, or undergo a multi-year planning phase. They just needed an update. Am I saying your challenges can be overcome that easily? Probably not. But some might.
Your Members Need Guidance
A lot of your members embrace digital solutions. The moment they activated their new phone, your app got installed. Check deposit? Scan and go. Fund management? Easy.
This is what you want to see. Consider adding some nonintrusive and short surveys into the app experience to make sure you’re serving their needs. And never be afraid to glance at what other CUs and banks add to their mobile platforms.
Of course, I’m not suggesting to get into an app arms race. What works for Capital One customers may not be ideal (or feasible) for your credit union. But knowing is essential.
And, of course, building your credit union mission into your app/digital platforms. What’s that mean? Make sure all features encourage responsible saving, a deeper relationship, and educate where able. Above all, make it all easy. Burying options in menus is not the way.
Are Members Using Your Digital Functionality?
Which brings us to ensuring your tech-savvy members know your app’s features. Look at usage metrics. Do all features see activity? I wouldn’t be surprised some members wish you had a certain capability, only to not know where it is (and thus assume it’s not there).
Trust me, as the go-to “tech fix it” person in my social circle (yes, even remotely, it’s still my role), this is way more common than you think. I get this kind of thing all the time:
“If only I could print straight from my phone! Emailing it to myself to open on the computer is such a pain.” “Um, you can print from your phone. Just hit the share icon, then Print.” “What? That’s amazing! How would I ever have found this?”
Yes, I’m a genius. I tapped the button.
That’s not your only member challenge.
Do Members Trust Your Digital?
For some people, there’s a “digital trust gap”. Before even diving in, let me say, I get it. For my own devices and services, I take major steps to ensuring my security and privacy. It’s way more than the average person. So for someone to want to avoid it all to stay safe? Sensible.
What are some of the specific challenges? I’ll share a few I’ve heard:
- A paper check is more secure (not to mention convenient and privacy-protecting) than an online bill payment
- Mobile (contactless) payments are less secure than using a physical card
- Online banking services just gather up your personal information to sell it to others (or get hacked); it’s safer to just stay “offline” to protect against bad actors and corporations
We could fact-check each of these points together, but why? You know much of it isn’t just false, it’s actually more risk in the opposite direction. Yet it’s also clear that providing facts doesn’t change minds; it can cause further “digging in” to incorrect beliefs.
So how can you work with people who fervently believe your digital solutions are a danger? You acknowledge their concerns (because though wrong in conclusion, they are right in principle), then explain how your approach addresses each.
Honesty & Transparency Always
Will you get everyone to jump onboard? Unlikely. But even for those who reluctantly use your online banking or manage to keep paper versions, they’ll recognize your commitment to honesty. And that’s how you build loyalty.
In our time of forced digital acceleration, I’ve seen some successes. Someone I know who aggressively rejected online banking now has to use it. And you know what? He’s fine with it. They managed to address his concerns well enough.
Systems Are Just Part of the Challenge
You’ll read and hear from a lot of people in our industry talking about digital transformation. I’ve been one of them for as long as I can remember. Everyone has good intentions; to shift credit unions into a digital future to remain effective and competitive.
We know your existing systems are a huge part of that challenge. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with that, only recommend speaking with the providers for their best guidance. Then, moving forward, work with partners who recognize your current and future needs.
As you aim to grow your membership, wiz-bang tech features are fine, but they must be rooted in achieving your mission. Show how what you provide highlights the “credit union difference”, even in what people thought was a basic banking concept.
What have you done to reach, assist, and empower members during your suddenly-rapid digital transition?