As technology evolves, your connection with credit union members is constantly changing. Your members have several different digital and in-person channels available for managing their money and conducting business with you. They don’t necessarily use only one of those channels but often elect to use a variety of them, depending on their needs at any given moment. This is transforming the relationship between your credit union and your members, causing them to think less of specific services and instead develop an opinion based on their complete member experience — online, in person, and on the go.
The term “omnichannel” has emerged to describe the ideal, unified environment that encompasses every single touch point your members have with your credit union, from personal to digital to tangible to mobile. The omnichannel member experience is cohesive and positive, regardless of where your members are, how they connect with your credit union, and what time of day or night they choose to do so.
An omnichannel experience allows your members to start a transaction in one channel and complete it in another, while having the same user experience and system capabilities throughout. But it’s not just the member who benefits from this approach: an omnichannel strategy will ultimately allow your credit union to improve performance, connect more meaningfully with your members, earn their loyalty, and make informed decisions that drive growth and improve service.
Shifting from a channel-dominant to omnichannel member experience
The focus for member service used to be on a channel-dominant approach, meaning the type of interaction your members used most was emphasized, such as the branch experience (cookies and coffee in a stylish, modern lobby, for instance). As more credit union business began to be conducted online and offsite, that focus shifted into multichannel efforts, with the credit union’s brand and services extended into ATM capabilities and a strong web presence.
Yet even the progression from a channel-dominant to multichannel approach isn’t completely satisfying to your members, who expect easy mobile apps, online chat functionality, social media interactions, and text communication that are all seamlessly interfaced and coherent. The pressure from your members to embrace the omnichannel transformation and adapt your operations is relentless. Keeping pace with the evolution will be worth the effort and promises mutual benefits if you strategically design your omnichannel experience.
10 steps for capitalizing on omnichannel engagement
To capitalize on member engagement, you need to know your members and provide targeted offers that prompt action. Imagine the potential for sales growth when you have highly detailed, specific information about the member in front of you. Product offerings can be tailored to what the member may be interested in, enhancing your growth opportunities. Begin to think about winning members through the experience versus service. These 10 key tactics will help you to create the experience that is most advantageous to your members and your credit union:
1. Leverage your data — Use the immense amount of data you already have to create useful insights across your credit union and reveal member opportunities. Using this data can provide exceptional awareness about your members.
2. Know your member — Understand your members and their expectations. Review data from all member interactions to develop a more holistic view of current and potential future transactions and member behaviors:
- Product use
- Transaction patterns
- Demographic profiles
- Member expectations
3. Review channel impact — Analyze channels to determine which generate the greatest impact for the credit union by appraising these factors:
- How effective a given channel is for the members who use it
- How satisfied those members are with that channel
- How many members overall are using that specific channel
4. Create engagement through channel quality — Determine engagement, a complete representation of a member's behavior that encompasses:
- Satisfaction — This is the foundation for a continuing relationship with members.
- Loyalty — Highly engaged members are more loyal.
- Retention — Increasing the engagement of target members increases the rate of retention.
- Advocacy — Highly engaged members are more likely to spread the word, which can drive new member acquisition and have viral effects.
- Awareness — When members are exposed to communication from a company that they are highly engaged with, they tend to actively expand on its basic idea.
- Marketing intelligence — Highly engaged members can give valuable recommendations.
5. Build a detailed profile — Using the data you have, build a more detailed member profile. Understanding who your member is and how they interact with your credit union allows you to tailor product offerings using their preferred channel.
6. Develop strategies — While a significant number of members are moving to digital channels, they are not necessarily deserting traditional ones. Develop strategies using your data to create a connection with members and more effectively engage them.
7. Stay competitive — As member preferences and expectations continue to shift, keep in mind:
- A seamless experience will require integration of distinct digital and physical channels.
- A realignment, or new investment in technology and business models, may be needed to more effectively engage members.
- A change in the way you communicate with members, by leveraging the data you have for all channels, may be necessary to improve your outcomes.
8. Consider ease of use — Ensure services can be used intuitively, regardless of how they are accessed.
9. Remember your brand — Deliver a strong, recognizable brand across every touch point. Your brand should be reflected in the same way across every channel, visually and in the way it is experienced. Members should have a consistent experience whether visiting your credit union through a mobile device, ATM, or a branch location.
10. Don’t forget self-service principles — From the moment a member connects, differentiate your credit union through the experience.
|Self-Service Principle||Member Experience|
|Intuitive||Understands what was said, by whom, and what it means|
|Conversational||Engages user in an intelligent conversation to accomplish the task|
|Personalized||Tailors the interaction based on what is known about the user|
|Anticipatory||Offers proactive assistance, providing information and enabling action|
|Consistent||Creates a seamless experience across channels and time|
|Convenient||Creates the perception that it is more convenient than other channels|
|Fulfilling||Allows members to achieve their goals|
Building a positive omnichannel experience is a work in progress; it’s a constant balance of managing service expectations and cost reduction pressures, all while keeping in mind potential compliance risks.
How we can help
CLA’s credit union industry professionals can assist in identifying and implementing your omnichannel strategic goals. Our information technology consultants and financial professionals work together to understand your needs and objectives and design a plan that can help engage members, build loyalty, and drive growth.