Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the big picture. What drives credit unions to exist? What makes them successful? The answer is not a what. It’s a who.Your members are at the core of your existence and taking care to meet their needs is essential. Let’s take a look at a recent post from CUTimes.com on “5 Ways to Improve the Member Journey.” In this tech heavy world we operate in, it’s important to remember that, “While technology definitely matters, any app, tablet, responsive design, drone or smart watch on its own is only as effective as the foundational elements that enable the technology to be effective.” Here is an exerpt of the article and research conducted by Filene:
The stats speak for themselves, as 87% of American adults are online, and 64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind. It’s no secret that credit unions should be focusing on mobile apps and providing an online banking experience for optimal member satisfaction.
So to help take care of your members and meet their needs, these five elements will be helpful to keep in mind when planning for your credit union member services business goals for 2016.
- Benchmark the member experience. Choose a metric or a series of metrics such as Net Promoter, the Wallet Allocation Rule, the Member Effort Score or even simply member satisfaction. Measure the current experience to benchmark where you stand through your members’ eyes today. If you have a benchmark in place, consider adding elements to make that metric stronger. For example, if you are currently using Net Promoter, consider adding the Wallet Allocation Rule process.
- Benchmark and shape the member journey. Select the top three to five most important experiences for your member. Examples might be the new member experience, mortgage experience or car buying experience. Once you’ve selected those, identify subject matter experts for each experience along with your best strategic thinkers. Get everyone in a room and create a journey map of a) the current experience and b) your dream state experience. It is critical to include subject matter experts that will help you see the true experience today (including the challenges). It is imperative to include your strategists and dreamers who can help create a vision, without constraints, of what the experience could be. The gap between the two journeys charts the course for your strategic priorities.
- Comply without being overly cautious. Credit union leaders are typically conservative by nature for all the right reasons. We function in a highly regulated environment and are stewards of our members’ money. However, Filene has worked closely with credit unions on perfecting their member journeys and, in nearly every organization, we find processes that are overly complex – full of paperwork and obstacles that limit member engagement simply because credit unions are being overly cautious or are tied to “the way we’ve always done it.” Leaders must follow all regulations and remain in compliance, but I challenge you to not let your conservative nature add rules and processes that get in the way of creating simple and easy experiences for your members.
- Bring down the silos. The key to omnichannel success goes well beyond using the right buzzwords. In order to create a seamless experience for members, marketing and IT must not only talk but be working closely together to create and integrate member-facing technology. IT, marketing and operations must align each member touch point. The path to engagement will often begin with an online search, so your website has to be well done. All member-facing team members must be well connected to the online experience and ready to answer questions when the member is ready to move to the offline world. This internal dance requires leadership and sometimes even evolving organizational structures. Often, a channel may function well on its own, but the breakdown comes when the channels must integrate, connect and create a seamless member experience.
- Rock the basics. There is no doubt that your team is friendly and accurate. Are you just as confident that they are consistent in their follow-up? Do you have the tools in place to ensure members do not have to repeat themselves when they are transferred? Are your branch team members as equipped to provide financial advice and guidance as they are to cash checks? Ensure your member experience fundamentals are in solid working order and you have the right leaders, metrics and accountability models to keep the fundamentals in place over time.
Years ago when members needed to physically walk into the branch, it was a friendly smile (along with quality service of course) that went a long way for member satisfaction. Now you need to find a way to smile at your members through credit union technology. In fact, the tide has turned and if you can leverage technology to offer members an easy online transaction, they will be the ones smiling back at their phone, tablet or computer screen.