ENHANCING THE CREDIT UNION MEMBER EXPERIENCE

WITH DIGITAL-FIRST SERVICE

1st February 2022

Enhancing the Credit Union Member Experience

8-Minute Read

When it comes to customer service, there are a few sectors that require extra knowledgeable, supportive, and kind agents who can deliver immensely personalized experiences – and the credit union industry is one of them. Credit unions serve as financial pillars for communities across America, catering to farmers, school teachers, military service members, and everyone in between.

The financial services world can often seem overwhelming and daunting when you’re not an expert; therefore, credit union members really need to be able to rely on the guidance of the professionals who serve them. After all, financial wellness is never a subject that’s taken lightly. So, for the agents on the other end of the line at a credit union’s contact center, the pressure is ON.

Unfortunately, credit unions face many challenges when it comes to delivering exceptional one-to-one member care via the contact center. According to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the number one issue plaguing credit unions’ ability to deliver top-notch service is technology. The article says:

The overriding challenge with technology is cost. Small credit unions often don’t have the scale to afford new technology. Plus, new technology is both time- and resource-intensive to implement and maintain. Employees at small credit unions typically serve in several roles, and the time to learn, implement, and maintain new technology only adds to their workload.

Title: 'Are Banks Doing More Than Credit Unions'

Credit unions have notoriously better service than large, traditional banks. Or they did. Because their charter dictates responsibility for taking care of members and nurturing those relationships.

An article published by The Financial Brand in July 2021 states, “Going back to 2008, credit unions had outscored banks by a significant margin, until 2018 when the two industries tied.” Then in 2019 and 2020 banks came out just ahead of credit unions. Ut-oh. This is clearly a trend that credit unions don’t want to see continuing. The article goes on to share another disconcerting finding:

The kicker for credit unions is that the biggest drop in score by benchmark was the ‘courtesy and helpfulness of tellers and other staff.’ The problem: When you interview credit union executives, this is most cited as their leading competitive advantage.

So credit unions’ leading competitive advantage, providing a high level of service, is what’s at risk.

With members increasingly contacting their local credit union through multiple channels and moving toward digital-first experiences, credit unions want (and need) to be able to serve their members effectively across all channels. The challenge in doing so arises from expensive, outdated legacy technology that’s difficult to change, hard to manage, and interferes with the member experience.

As banks, not to mention most other industries from retail to grocery shopping and even healthcare, adopt new, modern technology tools for creating personalized user experiences, the credit union space must step up as well. Credit unions should look to cloud-native software with per-user-per-day pricing and no-code workflows. Innovations such as machine learning can be incredibly helpful to a credit union, too, alleviating the pressure that human agents feel to answer mundane questions so that they can help customers navigate more complex issues that even an intelligent bot can’t handle.

There are many ways that credit unions can use technology to their benefit, including:

Title: 'Preventing Churn to Ensure Success'

Retaining customers is a critical tactic for all businesses to achieve success. And when you consider this fact: A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10%, then the point is really driven home. And this is where the customer experience comes in. A credit union certainly isn’t going to be able to grow its customer retention by 2% if the service it is providing is sub-par. This means giving customers 24/7 access to information they need and want. This means giving customers the ability to access self-service options across various channels. And this means giving customers the option to talk, message, and chat with real humans too.

Title: 'Shifting to Provide Service on Every Channel'

It comes as no surprise that the pandemic unraveled credit unions’ face-to-face interaction model, essentially preventing their clients from being able to walk into a branch and do business like they were accustomed to. In fact, an article from The Financial Brand tells us:

Three-quarters of financial organizations say at least half of their customers have switched from in-person to digital financial services since the start of the pandemic. Financial institutions that want to remain competitive will have to double down on their digital customer experience initiatives.

Along with the transition from in-person to virtual banking, most credit unions experienced a massive surge in call volume. How else could members get answers to their questions, get help from a teller to conduct transactions, or discuss financial planning? Unfortunately, many credit unions lacked the technology to help their customer service teams, and outdated IVRs and phone trees delivered a one-size-fits-all experience and left members frustrated.

As this CUInsight article reminds us, “Personal service has always been a credit union hallmark and a differentiator that could be compromised by reducing opportunities for human interaction”. However, Edify knows that a high-touch member experience is possible in a digital environment, however, and it doesn’t all have to happen over the phone.

 

 

Title: 'Future Proofing the Member Experience'

Credit unions can future-proof the member experience by starting to invest in the contact center agent experience. That means enabling remote and WFH agents with the tools they need to do their jobs well in a highly digital, post-pandemic world. 

If credit unions don’t figure out the best way to make their customer service succeed now, they will feel the pain. According to HubSpot:

Two-thirds of consumers report that the most frustrating aspect of getting customer service is waiting on hold or having to explain the same information to multiple representatives.

Credit unions MUST arm agents with the right platforms and tools. Agents need to be able to easily track incoming inquiries, need to have intelligent bots to rely on, need to be able to get questions answered from product experts without putting customers on hold, need to be able to ask for additional support, and have experts jump in to assist in real-time. And all of this must happen with fluidity. It might sound like too much to manage, but the technology to enable all of this, and more, is available now.

Read more: The Cloud-Native Contact Center: Elastic CX for a Flexible Future >>

Read more: Three Ways to Future-Proof Your CX >>

Read more: Modernizing the Member Experience in Credit Unions >>

Title: 'Scaling with Per-User-Per-Day Pricing Models'

New software solutions are built for businesses of every size, making it easy to scale up and down with the click of a button and only pay for what you use, so credit unions can compete on member experience just like big banks. There’s just no reason to pay for what you’re not using. And there’s no reason to be locked into a set pricing model. If you can choose to pay for only what you use, wouldn’t you want to do so?

So, that’s what we offer with Edify, enabling businesses of every size to provide the same high-quality service as big corporations. This creates an even playing field on the customer service battleground.

Making smart business choices is critical to success, maybe more so now than ever before. The Credit Union Times tells us:

In this digitally driven era, credit unions are challenged by the “always online” culture their members have grown accustomed to receiving in their daily lives. To truly transform the member experience, it requires credit unions to offer an easy, intuitive way to meet members’ needs on their terms, which is increasingly occurring in an online or mobile environment.

Finding a technology partner that not only delivers the right solutions for a credit union’s members, but that also comes in at the right costs for the bottom-line is critical.

Ask a CTO: Why Usage-Based Pricing Wins >>

Read more: Every Contact Center Pricing Model Stinks. Except One. >>

Title: 'No More Excuses: Credit Unions Must Embrace the Digital World Today'

It's easier than ever for credit unions to shine when it comes to personalized and memorable financial service experiences, wherever their members want to do business. How? It's simple. Credit unions need to offer the services and the features their members demand - starting with tech-centric, digital-first solutions on every channel to match that of the in-person branch experience. Exceptional relationships are core to the mission of the credit union industry, and the good news is that becoming more digitally savvy doesn't mean that members have to feel any less important. Implementing the right combination of technology, automated self-service offerings, and omnichannel capability, with live, human interaction will continue to set credit unions apart.

Credit unions need to drive loyalty and new members - who then expand wallet share through loans beyond debit card checking accounts - so digital transformation is a must. Cloud-native solutions with a platform that provides full data encryption in transit and at rest, PCI/SOC/HIPAA certifications, 100% uptime guarantee, usage-based pricing models, and more, can help accomplish all of these goals in a single screen.

And the members won’t be the only stakeholder to benefit once a credit union advances on its digital journey. Credit union employees will flourish, too! With real-time reporting and analytics dashboards available at the click of a button, managers will have a constant pulse on the contact center and member satisfaction, all while being better equipped to train employees and help personalize learnings to up-skill agents more effectively. Interactions with members can be monitored in real-time so experts can jump in with additional information and input whenever needed. When employees are given training that helps them succeed, they’ll appreciate it. And employees across departments, even outside of the contact center, will benefit from better unified communications tools, letting them chat and collaborate to solve issues faster.

We know that happier employees always translate to happier customers – in this case, members – and that’s always a good thing. So, are you ready to surprise and delight your members … and your employees? The right solution is waiting for you.

In The Press: Financial Services Firm Selects Edify as Contact Center Software Provider >>

In The Press: Financial Services Firm Selects Edify for Cloud-native CCaaS and UCaaS >>

In The Press: Modernizing the Member Experience in Credit Unions >>