Simplicity offers the best return on investment (ROI) for credit unions

Making an appointment for my children to go to the doctor is ridiculously complex. Typically, you have to call in several times to get an open line. Then you are introduced to the wonderful world of telephone routing trees. Listen to these eight options – now press a button. Now listen to these ten options and press another button. And before you actually get to talk to a living, breathing human being, as of this writing, you’re still going to have to listen to the office’s special Christmas and New Year’s holiday closing hours. Simple? Anything but.

It’s a royal pain to set up an appointment. I dread having to do it. Because I know it’s going to take valuable time and elevate my blood pressure. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe this is how members also think of and see your credit union? And have you ever considered the possibility that simplicity for your members offers a positive return on investment (ROI) for your credit union?

We live in a hyper and hectic time. And time is really the most valuable resource anyone has these days. What are you doing to ensure that you are creating an environment of simplicity that respects your members’ time? Following are a few omni-channel ideas.

  • Physical branch coverage. Depending on the geography and demographics of your service area, how easy is it for people to get to their nearest branch? Are your branches evolving and growing with the shifting population patterns of your area? For example, if there is a rebirth of both commercial and residential activity downtown, do you have a presence there? Conversely, do you have sufficient branch coverage in the outlying commuter suburbs? Lastly, are there some branches that can no longer justify their existence via member traffic and dollar intake? Regardless of age, a certain number of members will always want or need to visit a physical branch. How simple do you make that for them?
  • Digital branch coverage. Increasingly, financial institutions are hyping their digital branch coverage — and for good reason. The mass migration from traditional to digital channels continues unabated. Take a look at your website. How updated is it? Is it easy to read? Is it well-maintained? Is it interactive, seeking and searching for ways to engage with members, or is it simply an online version of your static brochures? And do you offer all the digital services that members have come to expect? Apps? Responsive web design for smartphones and tablets? More and more, financial institutions are looking for ways to take care of all member needs, without them ever having to come into a physical branch. If your digital branch coverage doesn’t offer this kind of service, how simple is that for your members?
  • Interior branch design. Branch designs are changing. The stereotypical teller wall and row of chairs in the waiting room are dying out. When credit unions build new branches, they now tend to take a much more open-air approach, with fewer offices and wall barriers. Some are even eschewing the teller line altogether in favor of teller pods. When a member (or potential member) walks into one of your branches, how simple is it for them to figure out what to do? Are there clear lines of sight? Is there someone they are waiting to greet them with a smile? If not, how simple is doing business at physical branch for your members?
  • Call center schematics. Ah, back to the telephones. Yes, while plenty of people now prefer digital channels, there’s still many that will want to call you. What’s that experience like for them? Do you have something similar to the aforementioned nightmare telephone routing tree? Are they greeted by a live voice or something recorded? And is your call center the “redheaded stepchild” of the credit union? If so, it’s time to seriously rethink how you view it. The call center is, in essence, it’s own branch facility. When members call in, they should be routed to the most applicable department or person as quickly as possible. Telephone wait times are total dead-air. If you’re not making it simple for your members on the phone, why should they trust you to make it simple anywhere else?
  • Products and services menu. Have you ever been to a restaurant with a multipage menu that was just overwhelming with choices? At first it may seem nice to have so many choices, but as you flip and flop back and forth between the pages, it becomes a little too much. Your brain locks up and you can’t decide what you really want. Is this how you want members to react to your credit union’s products and services? Think about it from their perspective — do you really need five different checking account options, disclosures that kill entire forests and a fee structure that would confuse a hardcore number-crunching CPA? If so, you are definitely not offering simplicity for your members.

These are just a few of the many things to consider when it comes to a return on investment regarding simplicity for your members. If you make things as simple as possible for your members to do business with the credit union, they are more likely to not only come back and use you for additional products and services, they are also more likely recommend you friends and family. And that is a terrific way to help reinforce the idea of simplicity as a positive ROI for your credit union.

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark ... Web: Details