Covid-19 has uncovered many harsh truths about the importance of digital transformation. A quick look at some analytics reveals more problems on the way. If your credit union doesn’t value digital transformation, then it doesn’t value its members.
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.
Data is fundamental to your credit union digital transformation. Customers must be able to efficiently and effectively manage transactions online. Credit Unions must be able to infer customer needs from those transactions and reach out to customers where they “live” online, whether through email, social media, or text. This blog post presents a simple recipe for getting your data in order as a foundation for digital success.
Step 1 – Unload the data you don’t need.
Credit Unions tend to hold onto data forever, or at least long enough that it can become a problem. It is common for core systems to have database tables with hundreds of millions of transactional entries and years more data than needed for most operational needs.
Why? Fear of removing data? The effort to replace the data if you get it wrong?
Who tested that purge script anyway?
Shhhh. Is, “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” your data management policy?
OK, we all know that removing data isn’t on the list of critically important tasks, well, until it is. Removing data can make the overall management of your information system easier! Backups are smaller, and systems may run faster due to the smaller size of the database. It’s just less to manage.
The good news is that removing data, although challenging can be automated.
Step 2 – Clean the data you keep – for credit union digital transformation
Managing data in bulk is usually handled by IT teams. Managing data quality so your digital journey can be smoother is a front-line staff opportunity. The dirtier our data is the more each activity we want to embark upon causes exceptions. Having clean data reduces effort and increases performance by eliminating exception conditions.
How does data get dirty?
For example, complex core interfaces allow data entry errors to go unchecked and bulk imported data from a merger. I am sure you have other examples of where the data can and does go astray. Some kinds of data can be validated with scripts and tools, however, technology can’t fix all data problems.
Step 3 – Focus on data that supports digital engagement.
Ensuring the quality of member data like current email address and mobile telephone numbers is critically important for successful digital engagement with our members. It is important that names are correctly spelled, and that staff know how to pronounce names when they speak with a customer in person or on the phone.
Mapping member data help the selection criteria for digital campaigns, if your digital persona is a working woman who is the “CFO” of the household, you quickly realize that knowing whether your member is male or female is fundamental.
Do you have a report showing what percentage of your membership has an email in your system, a mobile phone number? This number is the upper limit of members your campaigns are able to address digitally.
Step 4 – For better member data, engage your members.
It takes time and effort to correct member data, and many Credit Unions are unwilling to ask members without some other offer or campaign. One option is to engage directly with your members to make sure their information is up to date. Train member service staff to pay attention to member data at every customer interaction. If key member information is absent or hasn’t been updated recently, have them ask members for updates.
The better the quality of your data, the easier your path will be to creating and managing the digital transformation.
Want to read more on digital transformation?
Credit Unions pride themselves on customer service and being “customer intimate.” They are pioneers of brickand-mortar, customer-centric innovations such as branch greeter stations and branches that look more like an Apple store than a traditional bank. Providing great customer services and “knowing” our members is a large part of what the Credit Union movement is about.
When it comes to the digital world, however, many Credit Unions remain uncertain of the best ways to use digital technology and information to enhance customer relationships. At the same time as customers increasingly prefer online transactions, Credit Unions have been forced to give up some control over the online transactional experience. Most Credit Unions simply don’t have the staffing or dollars to customize online and mobile banking systems, and therefore must accept a mostly off-the-shelf solution that is, at best, parity with the rest of the market.
Leveraging digital technology to improve customer connections requires thinking beyond transactions as customer touchpoints. It involves using data to get to know your customers on a deeper level, to learn when and where to communicate with them, and to monitor and measure the effectiveness of your communication campaigns.
Remaining “customer intimate” in the digital world requires staying relevant in the lives of your membership. That means many more touch points and communication more frequently than in the past. It also means moving away from drive-by window advertising and postcards where you can’t really be certain of the effectiveness toward the digital analogs—web site, email, social media, blogs, and videos—where you can measure response and monitor interest over time. In the digital world, you have more opportunities to show your expertise in personal or business financial management to help members make solid financial decisions. Your digital assets are available 24 hours a day all year long, unmatchable with any other channel.
CU 2.0 has developed a set of modules and processes to help Credit Unions leverage digital technologies in order to provide exceptional member service. Effective digital communication can be more complex than traditional marketing campaigns. Your strategy needs to consider the right mix of social media campaigns, blogging, videos, and ads. All of your campaigns must be linked to landing pages on your web site and set up with tracking analytics across all steps. Tracking the member journey allows the Credit Union to be on the same path, understanding what matters most for individual members, and providing information that is both timely and meaningful.
In this way, the journey to digital transformation is still member-centric. They key is to shift your focus to integrating customer data from multiple sources and being accessible to members via digital channels. Once you establish an enhanced digital understanding of members, you can make those insights available to staff, other digital systems, and even artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to enhance the member experience.
Digital transformation requires new tools and thinking, leveraging technology and automation to craft the personalized experience that our members now expect.