The future of the member experience

Everyone can agree, the world looks very different amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations have adapted quickly to enable remote working, some restaurants and businesses have found ways to continue to serve guests without storefront access. Consumers have learned to survive in a world where toilet paper is scarce. It is clear “back to normal” will not mean “back to the way it was before.” Now is the time for credit unions to adjust practices and develop a model for member experience going forward.

One fact determined during the COVID-19 environment has been digital banking is a requirement, not an option. With shelter in place orders discouraging consumers from visiting brick and mortar establishments, credit unions were forced to quickly adjust operations to allow members remote access to their funds. Whether this included extended telephone banking hours, developing new ways to process applications without wet signatures or expanding functionality of online and mobile banking, credit unions found themselves innovating member engagement to find a safe way to remotely serve membership.

Moving forward, member service experiences must translate over a digital medium. This need won’t expire with the shelter in place orders. The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped consumer behavior to more readily adapt to digital service and credit unions have a unique opportunity to continue to reinforce this engagement even after reopening. By putting in place best practices for digital member service such as online chat, text messaging, video chat and even social media, credit unions can continue to extend the personal service members have come to expect without requiring in-person interaction.

Moreover, by transitioning to a digital-enabled member experience, credit unions may find opportunities for brick and mortar to be reshaped and repurposed. The need for multiple branch locations may be found unnecessary, allowing those teams to transition to phone, chat or text support rather than daily branch operations. This isn’t necessarily an opportunity to reduce staff, but to repurpose to support the growth in use in the new platforms.

The most valuable takeaway from the shift in operations should be consumers are adaptable.  Prior to COVID-19, many credit unions believed their membership would not respond positively to online or mobile banking and therefore did not invest in these platforms – assuming members prefer to come into the branch to conduct business instead. However, it has been proven in the last couple of months that given the opportunity, members will adapt to digital conveniences. This behavior should not be abandoned when shelter in place orders expire. Instead, this is a great opportunity to expand these offerings and find ways to be more accessible to members at their convenience, 24/7.

While the world waits to return to some semblance of normalcy, credit unions have an opportunity to develop unique member experiences moving forward. Take advantage and develop best practices to set your institution apart from the rest!

Britney Bailey

Britney Bailey

Britney Bailey is a credit union marketing professional, with over a decade of experience in marketing, public relations and business development. Outside the credit union space, Britney's experience included work ... Web: Details