Coronavirus shows why credit unions need a digital engagement strategy

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It seems like ordinary life has come to a screeching halt as COVID-19 continues to take over. The number of confirmed cases is on the rise across the globe and seems to double every few days. Although we are uncertain of what the future holds, we can expect this number to keep growing.

Whitney Loe is director of business development for credit unions at Ignite Sales, Inc.
Whitney Loe is director of business development for credit unions at Ignite Sales, Inc.

As a result, the coronavirus is disrupting the global economy. In the U.S. alone, Wall Street continues to take a hit, businesses are closing and unemployment claims are surging. States like California, New York and many others are issuing orders to stay at home as we familiarize ourselves with the novel term of social distancing.

Credit unions are not spared from the impact of this humanitarian crisis, spurring management to limit branch hours or send employees home to self-quarantine with the rest of the world. However, while still prioritizing the health of its employees and members, credit unions can continue to deliver an exceptional banking experience and achieve superior relationships with members.

Life slows down, credit unions carry on

Even in times of uncertainty, there is still a need for banking services. Although we’re facing an economic slowdown, it’s not unusual for financial institutions to see a rise in demand for account openings, loan requests, credit availability, and new or replacement credit and debit cards. Even more so, members will be looking to their trusted credit unions to provide financial advice to navigate the unprecedented times that lie ahead.

Indefinite branch closures and social distancing bring forth the question of how credit unions can continue to engage with members when separation is imperative to slowing down the virus Credit unions are known for delivering personalized service, but will these temporary barriers hinder efforts to deepen relationships with members?

Relying on physical no longer works

COVID-19 has revealed just how reliant we have become on physical interactions to facilitate engagements. Paired with an insufficient understanding of the benefits of digital engagement alternatives, credit unions are left with a lot of ground to cover while also facing this pandemic head on.

While many CUs have made strides in embracing digital tools, there is still work to be done. A report from Accenture gives insight into this adoption, stating that only 12% of banks appear to be fully committed to digital transformation and investing in a digital-first strategy, while 38% are in the midst of transformation. The coronavirus outbreak calls for credit unions to take advantage of the digital transformation.

No branches, no problem

According to a study from Celent, delivering personalized service is one of the primary factors that drives an exceptional experience. Credit unions may be unsure of how to approach this during a period of social distancing, but adopting advancements in technology will be critical to staying afloat during these tough times.

By digitally transforming member engagement, credit unions can continue to give personalized and valuable service – just a bit differently. Advanced, easy-to-implement member engagement technologies are available today that can propel credit unions to digitize the engagement process and significantly increase member satisfaction.

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With these advanced member-facing technologies, CUs can engage and educate members through guided conversations that are unique to each individual, digitize desired conversation flows and provide accurate recommendations on products and services. Members craving person-to-person interaction can connect with employees via video chat or over the phone, or choose to initiate self-guided conversations through the credit union’s website or mobile app.

Member-facing conversation guides dive deeper into consumers’ financial needs, giving credit unions more opportunities to learn about the people they serve. At the same time, members can gain insight into how their credit union can meet their needs and improve their financial wellbeing. Members still benefit from a personalized experience, all while staying safe and healthy in self-quarantine.

Superior relationships are still attainable

A 2018 survey revealed nearly 60% of consumers said that being treated as an individual was more important to them than fast the service was. Being known is a basic human need that involves both information and empathy but is only effective when demonstrated in relevant and helpful ways. Credit unions shouldn’t let COVID-19 hold them back from individualizing their members to establish superior relationships.

By digitizing engagement to strategically intertwining an intuitive design, ergonomics, interactive features, compelling products and descriptions, and an emotional connection, credit unions can give members the feeling of being recognized as an individual. Combining these components to develop outstanding member engagement is made easy with AI and analytics-enabled technology presented in the form of guided conversations and accurate product recommendations.

As news about COVID-19 continues to develop and take over our daily routines, credit unions will remain a constant in the lives of their members. It’ll be up to the institutions themselves to ensure digital tools are in place to best help members when times get tough and their financial futures are in question. We will get through this pandemic, and as we do, credit unions can comfort their members and provide guidance through personalized engagement and superior relationships.

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Digital banking Coronavirus Digital transformation Growth strategies Customer service
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