Credit unions

Reimagining member experience for Credit Unions and Microfinance Banks

Introduction:

Consumers today are more inclined to turn to credit unions due to competitive product pricings and personalized services. Building on these strengths and showing commitment to local communities, is a strong way for credit unions and microfinance organizations to attract and sustain loyal members.

To reimagine member experiences for these organizations, it is important to build on member engagement, technology and personalization. An important part of attracting new members and retaining the existing ones is by knowing who they are and what they want. This information can be utilized to provide data that can be managed, assessed and analysed to exceed the member’s expectations.

What areas should credit unions focus on:

Personalization:

Having one-on-one and personal interactions with your members is an important part of increasing members. Adding a personalised and human touch in the times of digital connectivity makes an interesting experience to begin with. Some of the ways in which credit unions and microfinance banks can add a human touch to their experiences are by following the strategies below:

1. Creating a culture when members can speak and feel heard

2. Customer engagement through surveys and feedback taking processes.

3. Share member feedback with other office members and management, including staff meetings

4. Acceptance of constructive criticism.

5. Matching staff experts to member needs because a tele-caller or a customer service executive might not be the best person to solve all needs

6. Hassle-free contact and communication experience for the member.

For example – if someone has a question about buying a home, they should be paired with a home loan or mortgage expert. This helps quicker problem solving and a smoother transition for both the interested customer and the bank. Various softwares are available to manage bookings between members and staff. Without a doubt, technology plays a big role in streamlining affairs for both parties.

In times of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to focus on targeted communication to build member loyalty. Periodic newsletters from experts in your company to members can help bridge the gap in times of uncertainty. This is a small way in which members can feel confident and included post the pandemic.

Relationship Building:

Across a spectrum of consumers, credit unions and microfinance banks have a core set of interests. As per a 2019 study by Accenture, most consumers said the following:

1. They expressed interest in a one-stop-shop for checking accounts and all the different loans.

2. 1 out of 2 customers said that they preferred customized services based on their spending habits.

3. They were comfortable with sharing data as long as they saw benefits in it and customer experience improved.

4. Integration of physical and online channels for a more integrated experience.

The report additionally found that consumers generally fell into one out of the four categories of pioneers, pragmatists, skeptics and traditionalists. This information helps to pay closer attention to each audience type along with the background and the demographic they represent. Credit unions and banks need to therefore ensure that they are meeting customer expectations.  Also, they can come up with a range of products and services, revamped for the post Covid-19 era and beyond.

Positive employee engagement:

Having a happy employee might not appear as an overt advantage, but an employee who is more comfortable at his workplace is bound to be more productive and build greater assets for the company. Flexibility in work schedules, a warm workplace and potential for growth are some of the parameters for employee well being.

The benefits of a positive employee experience include lower staff turnover, improved staff productivity, higher sales and better customer service. As per a latest study by MIT, company profitability can increase by 25% with high levels of employee experience. .

Thus, taking a proactive approach in recruitment, training and advancing staff skills means a better utilization of human resources who will be well equipped to local communities and a growing consumer base.

Technology Trends:

Majority of consumers prefer a superior digital experience over competitive rates and fees. While banks are investing billions to improve their mobile banking and overall digital experiences, credit unions and microfinance banks do not have the capital bandwidth to make that level of investment. But making some small changes can yield a huge impact for this sector. An easily navigable website for instance helps customers organize their time and queries better while avoiding long queues. It will also be helpful in guiding both potential and existing clients to find what they are looking for.

As per the 2020 Credit Union Innovation Index, only 11% of credit unions have innovated their data analytics in the past 3 years. Having 24/7 access to the credit union or microfinance bank through online chats is the easiest way to adopt digitization to ensure members feel supported and communicated with. Going digital is the best method of creating positive and accessible experiences for one and all. While digital strategies are associated with tech giants and industry leaders such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft, smaller organizations can adopt inexpensive and accessible strategies to improve overall customer experience.

How can Credit unions benefit from these trends:

There are online tools and digital channels that can not only prove to be an improved sales and marketing experience but useful for a personalized experience with your banking organization. This includes capturing big data to have a complete understanding of each community, geography and member.

One way in which one-on-one connections can be enhanced is by using appointment-setting software. Also, Dynamic queuing system can provide a quick and efficient way to cut to the chase for the customer.

CRM is also another important piece of the data analysis, an inexpensive medium to help track important members’ information such as birthdays and anniversaries. This can also help for further personalization efforts, spoken earlier in the article.

Credit unions and microfinances can improve their member experience by creating a data and digital driven strategy to strengthen employee engagement, embrace simple yet effective technology innovations and create a personalised experience for every member. Hence, CUs and microfinances can explore easy methods to drive member engagement.

In today’s tech dominated world, digital transformation cannot be overlooked by credit unions and microfinance banks. Attracting the younger, tech-savvy and smarter generations, will involve smarter products and services along with a higher trust quotient. This will in turn allow these institutions to be differentiated from the banking industry and not get lost amidst the growing competition of the post pandemic world.

Final thoughts:

Like other businesses, if you too are looking to develop IT Solutions in Financial Services industry, Mindfire Solutions can be your partner of choice. We have gained significant experience over the years working with Fintech Companies. We have a team of highly skilled and certified software professionals, who have developed many custom solutions for our global clients over the years.

Here are a few interesting projects we have done. Click here to know more:

Case study on e-Wallet mobile application.

Test automation of digital payments.

Case study on Smart card for pocket money.

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