By CUNA Mutual’s Tim McAdow, vice president, sales operations & marketing
Consumer demand for convenience is driving unprecedented advances in technology. Innovation is everywhere, from new devices to start-up ventures. And, most of it aims at helping people manage the technology that keeps them always-on and on-the-go.
In this climate of convenience, businesses that simplify the customer experience are succeeding. For example, the explosion of cable TV providers and channels has made watching television overly complicated. Solutions like Netflix simplify the experience, allowing viewers to watch what they want, when they want. It stands as an example of adapting in today’s convenience economy.
Meeting this ever-growing demand for simplicity is especially important for credit unions. As one industry executive said, “Our real competition is convenience.”
How to Succeed
Meeting your members’ demand for convenience is changing the entire dynamic of the credit union/member relationship. Face-to-face engagement is on the decline. Members increasingly prefer conducting business when and where it suits them, not around the credit union’s office hours or locations. Staff needs to be equipped to make the most of every interaction, in-person or online to effectively serve members and achieve your strategic goals.
As more transactions move to digital channels, successful credit unions will empower members to manage their finances as easily as possible. Three keys to success will be:
- Delivering a streamlined, efficient end-to-end lending process to support credit union growth.
- Using digital tools to engage employees and arm them to better meet evolving member expectations.
- Understanding that data is a roadmap to tendencies and behaviors that focuses how you optimize member interaction.
How to Protect Your Success
The downside to convenience, however, is increased risk. As you offer more channels and streamline access for members, your risk grows. Failing to meet protection and regulatory requirements can lead to a damaged reputation and lost business. Therefore, it’s critical to strengthen your risk and compliance practices and procedures as you evolve your customer experience.
Remember, convenience goes both ways. As easy as you make it for members to join and do business with you, they can just as easily leave.