Let digital drive the adoption of young members


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The importance of digital banking has accelerated over the past 15 months. According to BAI research, 62% of millennials and 61% of Gen Z said they would “switch between master accounts for a better digital experience” in 2020, an increase from 47% and 54% respectively in 2019. This demonstrates how the COVID -19 pandemic fueled a push towards digital adoption that would have otherwise taken three to five years to achieve. Members began to use these tools for banking and are now accustomed to – even preferring – the traditional branch in some cases.

Digital banking will remain vital to credit union leaders for the foreseeable future. We know millennials and Gen Z are digital natives. As leaders work on developing digital strategies, these groups need to stay at the top of the list. To do this, credit unions need to understand all the elements of a true digital banking experience, including the role of communications and the impact of a well-designed digital membership experience for the long-term viability of a cooperative. credit. With this in mind, credit unions will maintain a digital foremost banking experience post COVID.

Building a digital strategy for a post-COVID environment

The need for a digital banking strategy in the credit union sector was evident before the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit union leaders have faced membership, especially members who identify as millennials or Gen Z, who were increasingly getting used to the digital experiences encouraged by big tech companies like Amazon, Google and Apple. Credit unions face the challenge of providing this intuitive and highly distinctive level of service to their members.

A well-planned digital banking strategy integrates the right member data to understand and support members who have individualized needs. It also uses the data stored in the kernel to create a personalized banking experience for the member. Add to that the ability for the credit union to engage members with their existing value points, and it creates the basis for a true digital banking member experience.

Once in place, credit unions should focus on the channels of communication that a member can use. Often times, the focus of this work is on channels such as mobile, app, and the web, while communications such as statements and reviews are overlooked. Statement communications, unlike other channels, must be sent by the credit union federally and create 12 annual natural points of contact for the credit union to engage the member.

Integrate communications into the digital strategy of a credit union

A member’s experience should be consistent across the credit union. When communications on the digital platform seem unsophisticated and lack consistency in design, it leaves a bad impression on the member. The online site should be responsive and mobile-friendly, allowing the member to perform banking transactions on the go.

This can be done in a few steps. A key step is to ensure that preferences and settings are centralized in one place. Areas such as rights management, passwords, permissions and verifications are essential for this. Remember, members are not aware that there are many third-party vendors involved in making their digital experience a reality. When members change or update their settings, they expect those changes to occur in their account in real time. Any delay or latency results in an inconsistent experience for the member.

Members cite short archival retention periods as a reason for choosing to continue to receive paper records. Archiving of communications is one of the most beneficial, but overlooked, benefits of digital communications. Members may or may not regularly refer to past communications such as opinions and statements, but when they need to, they will appreciate the ability. Credit unions may not always be able to afford the server space needed to store these past communications, but if possible, this is a key area executives should consider.

The digital appeal for member retention and growth

Credit union leaders seek to create digital strategies that not only satisfy existing members, but attract new members. Digital communications can be a pivotal tool for this membership growth. According to Pew Research’s quote on US Census data, millennials have overtaken baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation of adults. This group is around 25 to 40 years old and grew up at a time when technology became the mainstay it is today. Generation Z is also coming of age. The oldest in this group are around 24 years old and are entering the labor market. This group grew up without knowing any era before digital. What does this mean for credit union leaders? This means that the greatest proportion of potential new members are digital first.

Griffin mcgahey

Griffin McGahey is president of HC3, an Irondale, Alabama-based company that provides document design, marketing and user experience services to financial institutions.


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