Have Amazon, Uber and Starbucks spoiled today’s consumers? It sometimes feels like it. They’re using digital technology to deliver a great customer experience at every interaction –growing their businesses en-route. It’s raised the bar for every other consumer-facing industry, including financial services, where fintech companies like The Lending Club and Square Cash are also leveraging the benefits of digitization to their advantage.
Mind the Gap
The ubiquity of digitization has forever changed customer behavior, creating a disconnect between what people have come to expect and their actual experience, especially with their financial institution. We call this the “Customer Experience Gap.”
With consistently high-quality, personalized service now the norm from so many mainstream service providers, many credit unions have fallen into the Experience Gap. And it’s not just with respect to e-channels. Whether your member is visiting a branch, on your website or talking with a call center rep, they expect a consistently good experience. When it’s less than that, there’s an immediate toll on satisfaction – and on loyalty.
Smart organizations are also exposing your members to well targeted personalized offers and promotions that fit with their interests, helping them find products and services they might otherwise miss. Big banks with fat wallets already recognize how effective this approach can be. As a result, personalization is top of mind for bank marketers and they’re spending piles of money to digitize their customer interactions. Maybe that’s why J.D. Power gave big banks higher marks for customer satisfaction in 2015, compared to previous years.
To compete effectively, credit union marketers need to develop digital capabilities to overcome the Customer Experience Gap. The good news is that this isn’t as costly as you might think. To “market,” in today’s digital landscape you don’t need a budget of thousands of dollars for an ad campaign. But in the face of the barrage of offers your members receive daily, it does take some ingenuity to gain attention. Your messages can no longer be one-size-fits-all. To cut through the clutter, they must be tailored and nuanced, narrowcast rather than broadcast. Digitization is the innovation that makes it possible to manage personalization on a large scale. And it can help you, as a marketer, take your own member experience from average to exceptional.
A Homegrown Advantage
Credit unions also have advantages big banks don’t. Most specifically they know their members, and can be nimble with change and innovation, thanks to typically flatter management structures. They also have members’ trust. By combining that good will with affordable digitization, credit union marketing professionals have an excellent opportunity to leverage technology to focus on customer experience and help your credit union grow and thrive. By doing this, you can help your institutions get out of the “Customer Experience Gap” and into that enviable position where you can consistently reach the right member with the right offer at the right time.
Six Steps to Success
In our eBook Reimagining the customer experience: A Marketer’s Perspective we’ve identified six steps credit union marketers can take to make members’ experiences best-in-class, create more revenue-generating opportunities, and increase wallet share:
- Harness customer data
It’s likely you already have a lot of data about your customers. But can you search it, analyze it and, most importantly, use it to develop more tailored and targeted marketing initiatives and identify up-selling and cross-selling opportunities? And are you collecting as much information as possible upfront, when a customer is opening a new account and primed to be forthcoming about their financial profile?
- Maximize marketing efficiency
Marketing dollars are always limited, which can make it difficult to plan, execute and track results for multiple campaigns targeting different customer segments. To address this challenge, credit unions need a way to efficiently identify a customer’s preferred channels and provide targeted messages through those channels – for example, in conversation with a customer services representative, by email or by text.
- Make conversations compelling
On any given day, a credit union might communicate with a customer in person, over the phone, by text, by email and on social media. The onus is on you to make those communications compelling, consistent and memorable.
- Reach new audiences
Attracting new customers is essential to support your organization’s future growth. You can find them based on needs – for example, people who are studying in a professional program like medicine, entering the job market, changing jobs, or have just moved to your area. Revitalizing or considering SEG marketing activities can also help drive membership growth.
- Reinvent the routine
There’s a great deal of routine communications in financial services. Why not piggyback on some of it, like your account statements and other regulatory communications, to deliver personalized messages?
- Get colleagues on-board
Employee engagement has a direct effect on your customers’ experience. Digitizing routine processes such as account opening and loan origination gives staff more time to build customer relationships and close the Customer Experience Gap. Plus your frontline employees interact with customers every day, making them a valuable source of inspiration for ideas on new marketing initiatives.
To find out more about how credit union marketers can harness the power of digitization to boost revenue and member retention, download our new eBook now.