What’s the One Product You Should Be Great at Online?

Brad Powell, President/CEO, Axiawareby: Brad Powell, President/CEO, Axiaware

In a recent article, I suggested that Credit Unions could, and should, get very good at one or two of their core businesses online.  Whether it’s auto loans, mortgages, investment products or any other profit center, investing in bringing your institution up to speed in the online space will not only make you look better – it will boost revenues.  A recent experience – buying a car – reinforced just how powerful this approach can be in practical application.

Having picked out my car, I had entered my credit union’s website and clicked on the auto loan application button.  Just as I started the process, my 82 year-old father called.  Amazingly, I found I was able to conduct a conversation through the entire process, which was simple, easy to understand and quick enough that it was over – I had my loan – before ending my chat with Dad.

Full disclosure – my company had designed the system, for one of the world’s largest credit unions.  But that even deepened my appreciation of what it was doing for the business.  That credit union’s business process is particularly complicated and demanding.  Yet, the interface online made giving them what they needed to complete the application very, very easy.  Even while distracted I was able to shoot right through it.  And so is everyone else who goes on their site.  I know that this business is a very significant source of revenue, and that this institution didn’t want to miss any opportunities, in a very competitive sector of the market, to close a loan deal.

But in many cases, credit unions do a poor job of making online transactions easy or attractive.  Even for their best products.  Often, these products are what new customers look at when shopping for a new relationship.  Making these products attractive, and easy to close online, makes customers less likely to shop around, and more likely to start a new relationship right then and there – even if they’ve never set foot in a branch.

But if you are allowing your potential customers to shop around, they’ll very quickly find an easy, attractive solution elsewhere.  And even if they do decide to work with you online, but encounter a problem, become confused or have questions about your process, they are likely to quit and try again elsewhere.  The online shopper has many options to choose from, many of which are very easy, friendly, attractive and quick to close.

I suggest that you fill the shoes of your customers and actually go through your site’s current processes.  Fill out an auto loan, or a mortgage application.  Is the process complicated?  Are the instructions clear?  Does the process flow easily from one step to the next? Does it look good? Does it set an expectation (this should take x minutes) and then meet or exceed it?

Of course, there are off-the-shelf products available for an array of popular financial processes.  These are generally better than nothing.  However, there simply is no substitute for overall quality, longevity and integration, than custom code from a quality vendor.  And with credit union profits on the rise, I’d suggest there may be no better place to invest it than in making your best product look and feel the best online.

Brad Powell is President and CEO of Axiaware, a custom software and user experience design firm that helps credit unions and other financial institutions bridge the gap between a business goal and a software solution. Brad as over twenty years experience in technology, including sixteen years in software development for world-class clients including Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the country. His experience includes creation of superior online user interfaces that drive business objectives and build customer loyalty.  www.axiaware.com

Brad Powell

Brad Powell

Brad Powell is President and CEO of Axiaware, a custom software and user experience design firm that helps credit unions bridge the gap between a business goal and a software ... Web: www.axiaware.com Details