3 ways to make your credit union members happier than they already are

Credit union members are among the happiest consumers out there. Satisfaction is through the roof, so to speak. In fact, credit unions rank high on the American Customer Satisfaction Index year over year.

So the challenge isn’t how to make your members happy. It’s how can you make them even happier?

The big 3

Here are three ways to knock member satisfaction off the charts.

1. Satisfy your employees first

Member happiness starts with engaged employees. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Think about any situation in which you encounter a service provider, whether that’s the server at your favorite restaurant or the CEO of a vendor partner. Their demeanor makes all the difference, regardless of the situation.

It may be hard to believe, but technology can help boost overall employee satisfaction. We all know about low-value tasks. Tasks that often involve moving paper from one person to the next. Or manual data entry. Or searching for member information in siloed solutions disconnected from the core. These are the frustrating tasks that prevent you from working on higher-value tasks – like talking to members.

There’s a solution. Content services: The low-value task killer.

Here’s a story to illustrate. Back in the early 2000s, Whatcom Educational Credit Union, a fast-growing financial services organization in Whatcom County, WA, was overflowing in loan applications, membership profiles, you name it. It was all physically stored in its main office, so whenever a team member at a branch needed to access a member’s file – while the member was standing at the teller window, no less – someone at the main office would have to find the file, find the right document within the file, and fax the paperwork to the branch.

Stop and think about that for a minute. Think of the time wasted calling the main office, finding someone to retrieve the file, time spent retrieving and faxing the file, and reviewing the fax once it came across.

Now consider the member and how those low-value tasks impact service times and satisfaction. Imagine how that member felt. More importantly, imagine what they thought – especially as they waited.

All those issues disappeared once Whatcom connected its core system to a robust content services platform. As soon as employees began instantly accessing member files and information – time previously swallowed up by calling, faxing, and waiting – they focused more on helping members reach their financial goals.

2. Make sure members’ information is safe and secure

By the time June of 2018 rolled around, more than 660 data breaches had occurred that year at businesses large and small. Those breaches represented nearly 23 million exposed records, according to Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout. Financial institutions, including credit unions, made up 12 percent of those breaches.

In other words, if you think your credit union is too small or too unassuming to be a target, think again.

“Security by obscurity” – or believing your organization is too small to be a target – is no longer a viable strategy for information management. Smaller, less protected companies and organizations are prime targets, and these breaches are more likely to go undetected and underreported.

Today, information theft is a volume business with a rather mundane objective: Plunder caches of personal information from average people. This personally identifiable information (PII) might include email addresses, website logons, social security numbers, and bank and credit card accounts.

Don’t treat security as an afterthought. Start at the beginning, prior to evaluating your current legacy core system or implementing any new software solution that is going to use your members’ personal information. Make sure the vendor considers security at every phase of the solution’s product lifecycle, including development, testing, and support.

You could go so far as to ensure the vendor gives its development and quality assurance employees the tools needed to detect and prevent software vulnerabilities.

3. Engage in the larger financial services digital ecosystem

No doubt you know a lot about digital transformation and how it can propel your credit union beyond the competition. But what do you know about digital ecosystems?

In the simplest of terms, a digital ecosystem comprises people or companies, data, processes, and connected technology via shared use of digital platforms. Digital ecosystems encourage collaboration between credit unions and members – and even other credit unions.

It may still seem far in the future, but the industry is moving toward a digital financial services ecosystem – one of a dozen or so major business ecosystems – that will provide consumers with an interconnected set of services. Members will easily and effortlessly fulfill financial needs from a variety of providers through a single, integrated digital experience.

To prepare your credit union for inclusion in this digital ecosystem, your digital transformation efforts should focus on the use of advanced data analytics, machine learning and AI, and even open banking APIs.

Moving the needle

Remember what we’ve said in the past, too. Don’t put off digital transformation because you think it is too big to undertake.

You can take these big ideas back to your organization and move the needle on digital transformation.

Credit union members are a happy lot, but there are ways to increase satisfaction and strengthen relationships. That includes a smart content services strategy and a focus on digital transformation and ecosystem alignment. Your members will be happier, as well as your employees.

* This blog post was originally published on CUInsight.com.

Steve Comer is the assistant vice president of financial services and insurance sales.
Steve Comer

Steve Comer

Steve Comer is the assistant vice president of financial services and insurance sales.

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