First impressions are important. They stick with you. You base all future interactions in contrast to that first one. It's said that a first impression is based 93% on what we experience and only 7% on the actual words we hear, so that experience is critical. After you sign on a new member, your courtship isn't over. Member onboarding is part of that first impression. It's not just about your marketing to sell them on your products. It's an opportunity to set expectations, to educate on how to use the tools you've provided them to manage their accounts, find the information they need, apply for loans, etc. This is your opportunity to prove that they've made the right choice by choosing your credit union. Both your intentional and unintentional efforts will be folded into this impression, so developing, and executing, a thorough onboarding strategy is a smart play.
Deliver on Your Promises
Whatever marketing and messaging you put out that made them feel like your CU is where they belong is what you need to deliver. You need to show them they can trust your word, and that it wasn't just a sales pitch. This should also give you some insight into your member recruitment efforts. Be honest and never offer something you can't back up. That one set of services may be the key thing they signed up for, and to find out you were overselling is going to leave a bad taste in their mouths. Be clear in your offers and upfront about fees or requirements.
As a financial institution, consistency is clearly a strong selling point as members want stability. But we're talking about consistency of experience, so you'll want to establish procedures and processes that your MSRs can deliver on daily. Add key points of difference--the credit union difference. Consider what should happen when every member walks through the lobby or calls your service team. Also, make it personal to your CU, and then lather, rinse, repeat. This protocol should be repeatable, achievable, and delivered on every time the interaction comes up. Training is critical here. For example, when you go to a chain restaurant, whether it's in New York or Seattle, you go in with the same expectations. So for CUs, your members know they like that experience, and that's why they come to you. Be sure they get it every time.
Anticipate Their Needs
Ideally you have a core processor that gives you incredible insight into member behavior. Use that to your advantage and offer your services before they even need to ask. It's sure to delight. Delighting members is a great way to turn them into evangelists--people that go out in to the world and sing your praises. In this way, your member onboarding can act as another marketing tool.
User experience is more critical now than ever before, and we can probably thank Apple for that. People expect to understand their options and achieve their goals in as few steps and as few hurdles as possible. Use your technology to make it easy for them--eSignatures, online bill pay, an easy to navigate app, digital lending options--anything that helps them get from idea to goal achievement as quickly as possible.
While this is a good framework, there is no single checklist of guidelines that all CUs can use to develop their onboarding. This is the time to establish what sets your CU apart. You need to understand your members to understand what they want in a banking experience. A teachers credit union may have different needs than a manufacturing credit union. View your onboarding experience through their needs and pain points, and make the experience just right for them. With the right onboarding process, you can set the groundwork for a long and successful relationship.