Wrestling with where to invest limited resources for maximum return is a challenge that all leaders face. Digital transformation has upped the ante and raised the bar on how we deliver the member experience, how we make strategic use of data collected and how we deploy offerings that give members a sense of security. These are three key areas to which all credit unions should analyze for investments:
Elevating the Member Experience
Credit unions are built to serve their members. Many have conducted research and created plans focused on improving the member experience, so now is the time to execute these plans. Although the reality of ensuring an exceptional member experience requires a significant investment of additional time, energy, effort and development, investment in the member experience should be a top priority – and also a realistic one that reaches a credit union’s member experience goals and preferred end state.
In order to enhance the member experience across the board, credit unions should invest in the integration of their service offerings and products. More and more, members want and expect seamless experiences and to be able to access all of their information in one place in a similar fashion, regardless of whether they are visiting the branch, logging into a mobile app or placing a call to the contact center. For many, the credit union’s core provider is different from its mobile banking provider, which is different from its card processor and so on. Credit unions must engage multiple partners on the back end to ensure all of this information is readily available in one place. This can be difficult, however, given the majority of partners do not have the same priorities, processing systems or platforms, among other disparities. Investing in collaboration among these partners to provide a seamless, elevated member experience will be key for credit union success as we move forward.
To truly harness the power and reap the benefits of data, credit unions must establish strategies focused on addressing how to best gather and utilize data to improve credit union operations and understand member needs and behaviors. These strategies need to focus on more than just the collection and storage of information – they must ensure data gathered is made actionable and understandable in order to put it to good use. It is important to members, as well as expected, that their credit union should know who they are and what they need in their financial journey, even in the digital channel.
In particular, credit unions are starting to consider how artificial intelligence (AI) and similar innovations can lead to efficiencies and increased productivity. For example, AI can remove manual, repetitive processes currently conducted by credit union employees that are typically time-consuming and have a high occurrence of user error. With intelligent documentation and responsiveness implemented into a credit union’s systems and programs through AI, contact center representatives and member-facing employees have an opportunity to provide better service and really focus on members’ needs. AI can also drive automation in order to better understand and consolidate data.
Authentication for Privacy
In today’s interconnected world, ensuring a person is who they say they are when they enter the branch, make a phone call or log into their account online is of upmost importance. As fraudsters look for all points of entry into accounts, authentication is key. But while authentication is important for safety, credit unions also need to keep in mind the member experience when solidifying their authentication tactics.
Members expect the view of information to be the same, regardless of the channel. They also expect similar authentication processes. But how does a credit union confirm a person is who they say they are in all of these different settings, given branch authentication is different from contact center authentication, which is different from mobile authentication? With member experience as a top priority, investment in deeper authentication processes to ensure seamless experiences across all channels will be imperative across the credit union industry.
Credit unions should also introduce continuing education initiatives to their members to explain how and why the traditional means of authentication, like key questions or the last four digits of a social security number, are no longer enough to protect account and personal information. The more members know about changes in security and expectations for their day-to-day account activities and how their credit union is working to keep their information protected, the more seamless the experience will be for both parties.
While there are many other areas of focus competing for resources and investments, credit unions should take the necessary steps toward improving their member experience, data strategy and authentication journeys to set themselves up for success.