Telling your CU’s story with data

Publisher’s Note: CUInsight is hosting a free webinar Wednesday, March 16th titled, “Date With Data: How To Build Your Strategy To Transform Your CU”. We hope you’ll join us! Register here.

I really nerd out when I talk about data. It’s because I’m passionate about it and I truly think it’s a way we can all bring people together, understand each other more, breakdown our differences, build value beyond what we see in front of us, and then some. Data can be the difference between receiving incredible service and whether you have unforgettable experiences. It’s all in how we use it.

The landscape of technology and how vast that is has made the way we access and use data very difficult. Bridging the tech landscape with humans is the key to this, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We now must be masters of tying data sets together, making data flow, building reports so data is actionable, and governing it so it’s clean.

So where do we start? To me, it’s as painful as stepping on a Lego – nothing else compares. It requires dedication, executive alignment, and people executing it.

Here are some questions you can ask your organization to understand where to start: 

  • Is your data healthy and clean? Do you have duplicates, insecure data, incomplete data?
  • Are you data-driven or are you still using those sticky notes and spreadsheets to track member data?
  • Is your data helping you drive growth, and understand your members better? Does it help with your employee training? Does it help your employees serve members better?
  • Is your data strategic? Can it help you predict outcomes? Does it help influence your policies, and can every employee leverage it?

Think about Disney for a second. Every interaction you have in their parks is a calculated measure to immerse you into an experience you’ll never forget. They know you, they know what you’ll enjoy at each age, they then use that to show you value. How do you think they figured out how to leverage those interactions at the time, place, and the way you engage with it? Through data. Years and years’ worth of measuring, analyzing, and finding what works.

Now, imagine if your credit union had a data-driven strategy for your members and delivered an immersive experience those members would feel and face when interacting with you. Your staff likely already have incredible stories about going the extra mile to help your members. Imagine the “wow moments” that could come if your staff had actionable data to empower them to make those experiences even more awesome.

The difference between you and Disney is this: you can change your members’ financial worlds.

Now let’s use some examples specific to credit unions. In 2020 in the thick of the pandemic, my family changed our entire financial world over to a credit union. This credit union met me in my preference channel of choice and knew what my preference was because they had the data. They switched our mortgage, 2 auto loans, 3 checking and savings accounts, 1 credit card, and opened a savings and checking account for each of my 4 children – all through text and email. Talk about amazing right? It really was an incredible experience.

Fast forward to September 2021. My 15-year-old son’s birthday rolls around, so you can imagine my excitement and surprise when I get an email from my credit union celebrating his birthday. Until I opened it. My 15-year-old son was given a 0% APR credit card offer, and a mortgage offer to buy a house. Now call me crazy, but that is not happening. The same credit union that leveraged data to earn my business wasn’t efficient with its delivery to me as a member. 

Another story. Shortly after switching to this CU, I found out simple tech was not part of their convenience to helping me as a member. I do day trading and this Credit Union wouldn’t allow connection to Plaid, Venmo, Cash App, etc. I now couldn’t pay our babysitter for watching our kids and couldn’t do my day trading to earn more money. I was so upset. Left with no other choice, I had to open a new account somewhere else with a CU local to me that had the access that I was needing.

For a long time, we have sat on massive amounts of data that are, simply put, being way underutilized. It’s time to change that. 

So what milestones can tell us we are headed in the right direction? Start with these:

  1. Do you have a clearly defined data strategy and is there commitment to such strategy at the board and executive level?
  2. Have you defined what data sources are most important to prioritize your need?
    • If not, document the areas where you have member friction.
  3. Do you have a data governance program?
  4. Have you defined and agreed on what technology can help you optimize, build, and grow?
  5. Have you built a plan to support that strategy with people that know data and can help you maintain it?

No strategy and execution of such strategy is done all at once. So, break it out into phases: Organize first, Unify second, and Transform third.

To Organize we are going to get the data clean, build places for it to sit, and give you insights to know your members inside and out. Those insights: birthdays, anniversaries, planned trips, home renovations, auto loans, etc. These all come up in the conversation your staff has with members, but they end up on sticky notes, notebooks, and left on a desk which means the next staff person who serves that member can’t access the information.

This is where we Unify by architecting the data across functions so it’s manageable and can be acted on by the entire org and at any time. This is where we find those unique moments that make each member who they are, and that data should be shared. How can it help? Think of showing your staff the products members have so if they are in the middle of a mortgage loan application and visit a branch, the teller can ask them how it’s going and what they can help with to speed the process up. 

Now we Transform. Optimizing the process, workflows, reporting, and dashboards. This is where we leverage data long-term to make things predictable. Using AI and predictive models to help empower staff to truly help grow the relationship with a member and in turn, help the credit union to grow in the process.

We have to tell our stories more efficiently and empower our members and staff with the data that only we can help them leverage. Simplifying work by organizing the data and making day-to-day tasks easier. Driving growth by unifying how it’s collected. Delivering on experience by making it actionable. This is what drives innovation with data. Now it’s time to tell your story.

Now you know about how data can transform your credit union from my perspective. Want to understand how some of the most brilliant minds in the CU space think about data?

Don’t forget to join CUInsight and CRMNEXT for our free webinar titled, “Date With Data: How To Build Your Strategy To Transform Your CU“, on Wednesday, March 16th. Register yourself and a colleague here.

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James Gilbert

James Gilbert

James currently leads the Marketing Team at CRMNEXT, a CRM solutions for financial services. He recently lead a global marketing team at CloudCherry, that was acquired by Cisco with a ... Web: Details