LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.–One person is offering credit unions 10 ways to improve member service--and he did so in an hour.
Implementing those ideas, conceded Steve Williams, principal with Cornerstone Advisors, will take far longer. But the strategies suggested are “the things that you and marketing and member services and your call center and your IT director need to be thinking about,” Williams told the CUES Directors Conference here.
“The important thing to stress is a wonderful member experience does not emerge naturally from a myriad of operational initiatives,” he said. “The member experience is no longer about the friendly teller. It occurs across channels and must be engineered. The member experience is in the details.”
For those reasons and others, said Williams, every credit union needs to:
- Rigorously analyze from an outside-in perspective.
- Align with specific strategy.
- Be intentional with ongoing discipline.
- Integrate and coordinate across the organizations.
- Be creative in design and connection to brand.
- Test and adapt to achieve reliability and quality.
- Measure with feedback loops for improvement.
The member/consumer experience is not something that is in credit unions’ DNA, according to Williams. “Financial institutions grew up on finance, credit, branch operations and compliance—we are evolving, but right now stink at design. It’s not in our mojo.”
What credit unions must do—and board members must understand—is members’ “moments of truth,” according to Williams. Those are the interactions members have with the branch, the ATM, the contact service, digital channels and more, he said.
10 Ways To Improve Service
The 10 ways to improve member service, said Williams, are:
- Move to ‘Accept Here’ lending.
- Go for speed with mortgages
- Make remote the biggest branch
- Proactively help credit card members.
- Make critical offers member-specific.
- Reach out with savings and advice.
- Make it fast and easy to move money
- Help members to pay bills with your cards.
- Build product and channel knowledge.
- Systemically listen to the Voice of the Member.
Here is a look at five of those in more depth.
1. ‘Accept Here’ Lending.
“Credit unions need to make it fast and easy for existing membership with good credit to get loans and know what they can access,” said Williams. “Tie your offers to specific members. This is where IT, marketing and digital channels need to all be together on integrating this into all systems, from mobile to walking into a branch. There needs to be one click from making the offer to fulfilling it. You should have very little in the ‘Approved but not Funded’ pipeline. If you do send an email it should not be, ‘Thank you. Welcome to Block Box CU. You’re robo-approved loan is…’ It should be personal and know the member by name.”
2. Go for Speed With Mortgages
“Compliance is making it harder to be fast, and the national players can be a black hole at times with mortgage fulfillment,” said Williams. “So if you can be known as the fastest mortgage lender in your market, you can build share. Make sure the connection between your online mortgage application and your loan origination system is as integrated as possible. Do a simple process flow to understand the time each step in the mortgage process is taking. Develop user-friendly guides for members to collect information, and use reminders (email alerts) to push for missing items. Train and compensate processors, underwriters and closers with deep real estate lending experience. Notice I did not say originators, who have a comp plan. Once someone is good, they are not that expensive and they can make the experience amazing. Develop ambitious turnaround times, ad market this speed to local Realtors and builders. People don’t care about how friendly you are or the donuts; they want to know if you’re fast.”
3. Make Remote the Biggest Branch.
“It’s not enough to just check the box around remote deposit capture. A large portion of branch traffic is still ‘deposit’ or ‘deposit with cash back’ related. These are wastes of member and staff time. Ensure your remote capture vendor offers a strong competitive user experience. Educate and ensure all staff are (Apple) Genius Bar-type promoters of remote deposit services. Merchandise this convenience in branches and train staff to enroll. Promote via a ‘speed bump’ on mobile banking and make people say ‘no thanks’ to enrollment. Offer a reward to get people to use it. Review your limits. Many CUs are still at $2,500. Determine how you are risk-assessing members."
4. Proactively Help Credit Card Members.
With ecommerce and fraud growing, the credit card is the “hub” of the member experience, but the product is passively managed in many places, according to Williams.
“Credit card purchases are growing much faster in the online channel than debit cards. You have to reach out and have the best member service around credit cards,” he said. “Make sure your card manager systematically increases card limits for good, loyal members. Develop simple and fast balance transfer processes. Explore ‘card self-service’ offerings from your card processor that allow consumer to turn card account on and off. Don’t be discouraged if adoption is low at first. I think it will go mainstream. Promote card transfers. Ensure you have the fastest, most well-trained and highest ‘EQ’ for staff for fraud reporting and ‘hot carding.’ This is a crucial moment of truth.”
5. Make Digital Offers Member Specific.
The good, old generic banner message does not resonate with members anymore, Williams said.
“Unless gentle ‘speed bumps’ are put in place, members will only transact and not explore. Work with marketing and IT to develop a Next Best Product matrix of the member base. Develop natural sounding, fun language that promotes each product solution. Work with online and mobile vendors to integrate member ID with matrixed offers. Develop tracking and online functionality to turn off or delay offers. Standardize the process across all channels. And note--the ATM is not a big opportunity, no matter what the ATM vendors say.”