Personal service has long been recognized as a key feature that makes credit unions attractive to their members. Yet credit unions, similar to other financial institutions, have found that automation is increasingly indispensable to their efficient functioning, particularly as these organizations grow in membership and in the number of services they offer. While this scenario appears to pit efficiency against the one-to-one approach to member communications, latest-generation solutions are available to help credit unions leverage the extremely large data sets (or “Big Data”) within their organization. This helps them proactively manage risk, improve the member experience and identify market opportunities.
Big data as member input
Big data is the vast amount of information captured and stored in credit union databases about members, including their transaction and service histories, preferred communication channels, financial data and more. Add to that the information members have voluntarily provided via surveys, social media and other online and offline sources and it soon becomes clear that sufficient data is readily available to create highly personalized, individually relevant and accurate member profiles that can allow you to dramatically improve your member’s experience.
Tapping into this information, however, requires careful consideration of data workflows. Typically, information relevant to the member experience is not universally available throughout the organization. Instead, financial firms are faced with a multitude of relevant but siloed data sources, from sales and marketing to customer service, IT and other front and back office functions. Additionally, these data sources are often stored in numerous legacy applications and systems.
Managing this information requires solutions with an open architecture that lets your organization easily access all relevant data and aggregate these multiple, disparate data streams. Another important consideration is whether the solution can accept data in its raw state, avoiding the expensive and time-consuming process of preparing the data before any analytics or repurposing can be accomplished. Only with these capabilities will your organization efficiently identify relevant data and translate it into actionable information and messaging targeted to the needs and preferences of individual members.
Benefits for credit unions
Big data can support your credit union’s efforts to forge lasting, multi-layered relationships with members through highly personalized and targeted communications. Designing a robust customer communication management program will help achieve a number of important organizational objectives:
- Offering information relevant to each member. Highly personalized communications have a proven track record in terms of providing a positive member experience. Mining existing data will allow your organization, for example, to use the white space on your statements to send a targeted, life stage-appropriate message that will help members better understand your available financial products as well as their statements, loan updates and related correspondence.
A member communications management solution can be developed to customize data with regard to layout, graphical workflow, color management and even content collaboration for easy-to-understand statements and correspondence. This type of solution allows your organization to access existing member data, extract it, reformat it and recompose it with other targeted data to create highly personalized color communications with variable images, marketing messages, dynamic graphs and more. Additionally, these communications can be produced for print or digital channels without the need to touch any of the backend systems and processes or enlist IT support.
Implementing this kind of customer communication management program will reduce confusion and service calls, promote education and build loyalty. Costs are reduced by eliminating the need to develop separate communications packages.
- Meeting delivery preferences. Whether a member prefers to communicate via paper (mail), electronic (e-mail, internet, social media), mobile/tablet devices or a combination of these channels, being able to meet these delivery preferences is quickly becoming an expectation rather than an option. Being able to fulfill these expectations is quickly becoming mandatory for credit unions.
- Managing processes and content. Brand management issues as well as compliance with legal and regulatory standards are priorities that demand a secure, collaborative document creation environment. This environment should enable management of the processes, users and roles, interfaces and updating methods for a variety of communications channels.
- Reduce time-to-market with new offerings. The appropriate customer communications management program permits enables your credit union to repurpose existing member data and quickly tailor communications to take advantage of new market trends and opportunities or to introduce new product offerings.
- Predictive modeling. A comprehensive view of member data is essential for predictive modeling and analytics to identify customer trends as well as emerging market opportunities.
While highly automated systems are now clearly an essential part of the day-to-day functioning of credit unions, automation doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning the personal touch. The big data generated by automated systems, as well as through social media channels, can be harnessed to make your member communications more personalized and relevant to each member and customer. A robust customer communications management solution that easily captures and transforms member data, regardless of its source, helps you continue to address each member as an individual, enhancing their experience with your organization and nurturing their long-term loyalty.