5 easy ways to start your credit unions digital transformation

Digital transformation for credit unions

Digital transformation. Omnichannel. Cloud. Blockchain. Artificial intelligence. Who knows the next buzzword that will strike the credit union industry? It feels like there is always a new hot topic. In fact, it’s hard to know what’s important—and what isn’t.

With that in mind, many credit unions ask me:

What are the easy ways to start our credit union’s digital transformation?

I can think of five easy ways to start.

How to Start Digital Transformation

I spent many years running a cloud computing CUSO (credit union service organization). I was also a co-founder of CU Wallet. Finally, I published Credit Union 2.0, and the book has given me lots of insight about modernizing credit unions.

I have literally talked to hundreds of credit union leaders about this issue. Ultimately, digital transformation comes down to finding low hanging fruit. These fruits usually do three things:

  • Reduce cost (soft and hard)
  • Improve efficiency
  • Free up time for your team to focus more on the most important thing: your members!

So, what kind of low hanging fruit should we look at first in 2020? Here are five suggestions:

1.    Office 365

Microsoft is looking to move about 80% of Microsoft Exchange customers to Office 365 in the next few years. Yes… 80%.

If your credit union is running Exchange 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 (or one even older), you need to move. Exchange these days takes 5–10 servers and requires a high level of expertise that most credit unions don’t or shouldn’t have long term.

Moving to Office 365 is a great way to begin digital transformation. Plus, you can check off cloud on your tech buzzword bingo card.

2.    Marketing automation

If your credit union is doing email marketing, consider upping your game to marketing automation like SharpSpring, Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, etc. (We are biased and like SharpSpring for its price vs. value levels.)

Either way, help your marketing department understand what your member digital journey looks like on your website, email, and social media interactions. Even better, feed that data to your internal sales or service teams.

3.    Remove printers

Go a bit greener and get rid of all your printers (or just reduce them to one or two in central places). Sometimes big cultural changes at your credit union start small.

  • It gets your staff some exercise because they have to walk more
  • It forces people to use less paper, which is good for the environment
  • It reduces your credit union’s overreliance on paper and other analog office supplies
  • It speeds up your digital transformation!

Getting your members on eStatements can help, too. Many vendors can help you convert your members to eStatements and digital communications.

4.    Data analytics

Start with meetings. Begin a weekly 1-hour meeting where you and your team just try to find trends in the data. Create a data map. Pretend you are the member and look for where you have sufficient data to influence decisions.

Come up with 50 questions you wish you knew the answer to. Figure out what you would do if you knew the answer. Then, get to work!

5.    Painted picture

Write a 2–3-page long vision statement describing the digital experience you want the credit union to deliver in a few years.

  • What is like to call the call center?
  • What is a branch like?
  • What is a loan funding like?
  • What happens in the back office?

Go through it all and put your vision in writing. Then, distribute it and start discussing how to get there. When you hire new people, make them read it and get excited about it before you bring them onboard.

(It will weed out the people who don’t believe before they drag down the rest of the credit union).

6.    BONUS: video makeover.

Create a suite of essential videos that introduce your team and educate members about your credit union.

Designate someone to send out new member welcome videos. Record member testimonials. Create management team bio videos.

Fail miserably and laugh.

Once you get them all done, wait a few months and do them all again now that you know what you are doing. Or take the shortcut and contact CU 2.0 for quick crash course in credit union video marketing!

So, there you have it. If you’re looking for easy ways to start your credit union’s digital transformation, these should get the ball rolling. Good luck, and let us know if you have any issues or need help!


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