Credit unions have always had a high degree of focus on member service. We've always done spectacularly well in that regard. The member comes in the door, presents us with a need, and we’re more than glad to fulfill it. However, this sort of service presumes that the member actively initiates the engagement.
Let me share an example from my own life. I was recently looking for a car for my 19-year-old sophomore in college. We went to the dealership, found a car we liked, and went in to close the deal with the salesperson. Within 45 minutes the transaction was complete. The dealer had provided us with all we needed to make the sale – which could have easily included us purchasing a car loan through them. Now, I’ve been in credit unions for 28+ years, so, of course, I took my business to the credit union. I brought my documents to the credit union the following week and got my loan through them. But I doubt we can honestly expect everyone to do the same.
It’s an extra step – a friction, if you will. Today’s consumers have different expectations. The online experience exemplified by Amazon has led consumers to expect that the provider will walk into THEIR door, solution in hand. To compete, credit unions need to be able to bring their excellence-in-service model into this environment and move from a transaction to relationship mentality.
Returning to my car-shopping example, we have to ask ourselves: Can that transaction be accomplished without friction, with ease, and without the member initiating the contact? Predictive analytics goes a long way toward accomplishing this. What if the credit union knew we were looking for a car based on a number of predictive factors? Things like: I have a college-aged son in his sophomore year; both my wife and I work outside the home; I have a new SUV and an old sedan; I recently paid off both, etc. In short, the credit union might be able to know my family well enough to assess that there was a high probability that I would be looking for insurance or a car loan.
Credit unions have the data they need within their core systems that can fuel this sort of member experience. It’s not easy. The data is stored in a number of disparate systems that have been tied together through a long-standing network of custom integrations. But if credit unions can get that data in a centralized place and be able to trust the information is accurate -- into what we call the single source of truth -- then they can have that full 360-degree view of the member that makes the modern member experience possible.
With that kind of information available, the credit union needs to be able to act on it. They can initiate contact through a call center, present an offer when I visit the branch, or send out an offer in an email campaign. With data and analytics, it’s possible for credit unions to anticipate the member’s need and initiate that contact.
I’m confident that if credit unions can level the playing field in terms of engagement with their members, member experience will take care of itself. If credit unions can return to the point of competing on the basis of member relationships, there really is no contest.
John Slack is Sales Specialist Manager for AdvantEdge Analytics.