There’s a famous moment in videogame history that perhaps only hard-core videogame aficionados will recall, but it definitely has a story to tell the credit union industry.
At the 1995 CES, videogame titan Sega made the surprise announcement of the upcoming launch of its next-generation console, the Sega Saturn. As a follow-up to the successful Sega Genesis, the company had a lot invested in this piece of hardware.
However, it was doomed from the start. Poor marketing campaigns, poor game distribution logistics and limited game titles were just the start. A real killer was its price tag — $399.
At the same event, quickly after the announcement of the Sega Saturn, representatives from Sony took the stage to announce the launch of their upstart hardware videogame system, the Sony PlayStation. In perhaps the most famous (and briefest) keynote in CES history, the Sony PlayStation representative uttered one simple word (price) — “$299.” The crowd roared (and subsequently bought a whole lot more PlayStations than Saturns). In a few years, Sega discontinued its hardware systems altogether and focused on gaming software.
As indicated by the impromptu decision by Sony to use a one-word keynote announcing their game, price obviously had a large factor is better videogame history. Price certainly plays a role in whether or not consumers will choose your credit union. Things like fee structure, account relationship costs and rates certainly come into play. However, like the videogame example above, “expense” is not always expressed solely in terms of dollars. Increasingly, consumers relate expense directly to time, simplicity and ease of use.
How does this apply to your credit union? You must be simple and easy with which to do business. One quick way to boil down the equation is to look at your mobile website or app and answer the question “how many taps does it take to get a loan at our credit union?” While this is a lending question, the same idea applies to new memberships, deposit products and other product and service offerings. How easy is it for members to make these things happen at your credit union?
Other questions to consider when it comes to the expense of doing business with your credit union include:
- Do you have sufficient brick-and-mortar branch coverage? If not, are you aware of this and does your credit union have a branch growth strategy in place?
- Do you have sufficient click and mortar coverage? If not, are you aware of this and does your credit you did have a digital growth strategy in place?
- Are you where your members are? In other words, do you have a brand/advertising presence in the places they are most likely to see/hear? Gone are the days when credit unions could rely on billboards and newspaper to reach members and potential members. You must think far beyond that and include digital channels, social media and other nontraditional communication methods.
- Is it easy for a member to navigate his or her way through your branches? Do you have a front desk greeter? Do you have some sort of queue system in place to identify members as they walk in, capture the reason for their visit and get them as quickly as possible to someone help? What is the overall member journey like at your credit union in its physical branches, in the drive-through, on the phone, via email, etc.? Are there any pain points involved in this journey?
- Do members know they are dealing with your credit union at every single branch and digital location? This all goes back to the adage of clarity, consistency and constancy. Do your branches all have the same physical appearance? Do your digital access points have the same physical appearance? If not, it could be confusing from location to location, especially for new members.
Expense does not always mean cold, hard cash. For many consumers expense now means just as much (if not more) time and trouble. The Sega Saturn was way too expensive, difficult to find and confusing to use. The Sony PlayStation, quite the opposite, was cheaper, easier to purchase and much easier to use. There’s a reason why we are still talking about Sony PlayStation as a viable hardware gaming system today and why the Sega name is now relegated primarily to software.
Don’t let the same expense trap snare your credit union and consign it to the videogame scrapheap.