Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: branch

Member Relationships Which Could Be

Originally published on CUInsight.com

This is part of the “CU That Could Be” series.

You pride yourself on amazing member service. If anyone has an issue, your entire team is equipped to handle it promptly, politely, and with a minimum of effort for everyone.

E-mails are answered within a few hours, and members get only personalized replies. No one deserves a generic response! If an issue will take longer to resolve, your team sends out a quick message informing of that fact, along with an estimated timeframe for the next reply.

Your credit union embraces a phone platform which automatically routes calls to keep hold times low. And, if someone needs to be transferred, it’s always done while the original agent remains on the line. Having to start over with the 2nd (or 4th) person stinks! This also ensures no one gets disconnected and left for a lurch. On top of that, the menu system never says, “please listen carefully as our menu options have recently changed.” That’s old school. Your system lets members press a number or say a simple word (which it recognizes easily) to accommodate those driving or otherwise occupied.

All social media platforms are centrally monitored 24/7 so complaints and compliments alike can be answered within a few minutes. Sure, you’re not solving a detailed account issue on Sunday, but you feel it is important to let the member know you are ready to help at any time. And Yelp reviews? You’ve seen how many people view your credit union’s business pages (yeah, you check the stats); every single review gets an answer. You’re not going to be part of the 98% who never reply. If it needs follow-up, that begins right now.

Then there’s the interactions which don’t involve a person. Your member is looking to do something on your website, or in your mobile app. You realize they’re using those systems to make life easier. So everything those platforms do is easily shown in device-specific interfaces. They’re fast, secure, and updated regularly. Feedback is encouraged, and suggestions are embraced in future revisions.

You may notice I didn’t discuss in-branch interactions. There are a few reasons. One, branches are no different from other lines of communication. Sure, you are face-to-face, but waiting there stinks just as much as being on hold (depends on if you listened to a previous post and set up Mario Kart 64). If you treat people well “virtually”, you’ll treat them fine in person. Two, with web-based everything, there’s nothing a member can do which can’t be done online or over the phone. Three, I’m not sure branches will be a standard feature of the credit union that could be. In my mind, if physical locations stick around at all, you might eventually see an extension of the “shared branches” concept take hold. Instead of banking at any credit union, there will be an unbranded CUSO operated “branch” where physical-contact holdouts can go to accomplish the same thing. Branches simply cost too much for every institution to maintain them. A credit union near me just expanded their membership into new counties and stated they have no plans to extend their branch footprint to match. They are no longer necessary to provide the member relationship of the future, or, that could be.

We will continue expanding on the “CU That Could Be” case study with technology integration. Stay tuned!

Gaming & Your Credit Union

Originally published on CUInsight.com

“Savings aren’t a game!” In many ways, you’re right. Given the abysmal level of deposits for most Americans, comparing it to Mario Cart (N64 version, obviously the best) doesn’t seem proper. But what if you did treat it like a game?

It’s not a new concept. Known as “gamification”, the idea is that by making it more akin to a game rather than a chore, users are more likely to participate. Think of going for a run. Many people don’t enjoy putting feet to pavement and will make any excuse to avoid it. But what if you were part of an adventure and needed to outrun a hoard of zombies? Their rotted fingers are nearly scraping your back…pick up the pace!

Come to think of it, I’ve written about this before. Here. And here. That app, by the way, exists. It’s called Running with Zombies. I don’t use it, because everyone knows the best way to deal with them is a shotgun, shovel, and old records. Bonus points if you got that reference (no, I’m not a Walking Dead fan).

So instead, as the previous post discussed, of puzzling your members through a convoluted rewards program or other service, get them in the game! Just by reframing their credit union relationship as levels in a game, you’ve upped the excitement and understanding levels. They’re no longer a Double Platinum Diamond Preferred member, they’re a Castle Defender! Defenders serve the crown, so they pay no ATM fees and reap the highest interest rates available. Of course, the proces of getting there has to be evolved as well.

For this, I’d suggest a brain storm session with your team. And a copy of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Why this game? Because it’s the best puzzle adventure/level growth game ever made. Also, your staff will have fun. And the N64 will probably remain in your branch. Tell me that won’t encourage people to stick around.

How do you create a gamified credit union without it being tacky or feeling like an afterthought? That brings us to (cue deep announcer voice): Big Data! Yep, that essential concept emerges again. This time, it’s going to help empower your members with useful analysis of their own data. Combine the appeal of sports stats (as in, their own financial relationship’s metrics) with playing a video game (as in, progressing through towards goals). Interestingly, it has to be their own data, and not estimated metrics. A recent study found that some Fitbit users actually gained weight while using the activity trackers. It is believed that participants believed the averaged metrics so strongly that they didn’t just listen to their bodies. If you provide useful data, useful suggestions can follow, ending with beneficial results.

Look at that. Once again, we come around to the inescapable conclusion: When you frame your services around the specific needs of your members, engagement, excitement, and loyalty will increase.

Image credit: http://www.digitallydownloaded.net/2012/05/review-mario-kart-64-wii-virtual.html

It’s Not a Website. It’s Another Branch.

Keith WinnIntroducing a guest post from Keith Winn, VP Marketing of cuZOOM, and CU veteran!

It’s taken some 100 years, others 50 years, or even less. To do what? Essentially to develop the “perfect” member experience. You know exactly what I am talking about. For years, the credit union industry has challenged the “impersonality” of big banks, and created a unique, caring, and helpful financial environment where the member, no matter what they walked in for, comes first.

So, with that said, what happened with their websites? Perhaps when credit unions started building websites, they were simply non-interactive billboards. Fair enough. But that was over 20 years ago. Probably about the time many credit unions embarked to create that perfect member experience in their physical locations. What about member’s online experience? Unfortunately, even with all of the available new technology, recent surveys indicate most credit union websites are still years behind in meeting member expectations.

Maybe it’s because we gave it a name: the virtual branch. Sounds like we would see Keanu Reeves with dark glasses dodging bullets in slo-mo in the lobby, or a techno-rave with colored lights and head banging sounds. For whatever reason, we got lost. And, yet, the answer is so simple.

Think of your website as just another branch and design accordingly. When you walk in the front door of your branch, its very clear where the reception desk is, or the teller windows. There’s no posters and banners to distract you. When the receptionist asks how they can help, you are immediately directed to a person who can assist. It’s almost too easy.

Imagine a website that opens with a warm greeting, and then asks you “What would you like to do today?” and then offers 4 main choices: Home Banking, Credit, Save, Business, with hidden dropdowns for all of your other services. By keeping it simple (Does your website really need 8 rotating banners on the home page?) and emulating your already great member branch experience, you can also allow the member to seamlessly and quickly move through the process that will help your website sell. Yes, I said sell. All credit union real estate, whether physical or digital, needs to earn money to stay in business.

Where do you start? I think I’ll leave that part to the Credit Union Geek.

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