How Can Credit Unions Avoid Becoming Commodities in a Digital World?
Today, more and more consumers are turning to digital solutions for their financial needs. They’re spending less time at banking branches and more time searching for alternative financial solutions on their mobile apps and desktop platforms.
Trust in banks seems to be falling drastically. A recent study by Accenture found that only 29% of respondents trust their banks to look after their long-term financial wellbeing compared with 43% two years prior. If banks are to survive, they must regain consumer trust.
Credit unions, in particular, are being pressed to find ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. They are primarily concerned with reaching out to the younger generation, a demographic that’s increasingly turning to digital solutions to manage their finances.
So how can credit unions rebuild trust with their clients—and attract new ones? Here are some of the top ways that credit unions can remain competitive in the digital age:
Improve the Customer Experience
The key to the success of any business is to meet customer needs and go above and beyond in delivering top-notch service. This isn’t just about addressing problems but continually working to prevent them in the first place and providing customers with a positive experience that isn’t rooted solely in trying to fix some issue.
Teksetra recommends the following strategies for credit unions and other financial institutions to improve the customer experience.
Reduce Customer Friction
Customer friction prevents customers from doing whatever it is they want to do. Limited business hours, long wait times, and poor website quality are all common sources of customer friction and pain points that credit unions should seek to address as soon as possible to avoid losing business.
Credit unions can do this by first identifying the causes of friction, getting down to the customers’ level to understand their experience, and using those insights to develop better solutions.
Develop Personalized Digital Solutions
In today’s world, consumers are reliant on tech, and they appreciate being able to use digital solutions whenever possible. This is why it’s crucial for credit unions to leverage tech to their advantage.
How might you improve the customer experience digitally? What digital solutions can you offer customers—whether through a mobile app, a desktop application, or otherwise—that you couldn’t deliver through traditional means?
Evolve Your Branches
There are several ways that credit union branches can evolve to serve customers in an ever-changing digital climate better. The ultimate goal should be to form connections that can’t happen digitally.
To start, branches can improve communication with customers, putting more of an emphasis on interaction. Tellers can greet customers directly; other staff can point them in the right direction.
Increase Digital Signage
On the surface, digital signage may seem like nothing more than a gimmick, but it’s a highly effective way to grab customers’ attention and convey information. By implementing digital signage, credit unions stand a better chance at retaining customers and providing a more “modern” experience to those they serve. In this way, customers get the best of both worlds, and they reap the benefits of tech without sacrificing the human element of visiting a branch location.
One of the primary advantages of digital signage is that it allows businesses to get their brand out there. This is especially important for credit unions, as they need to stand out from the crowd and prove their worth in an era when many people are turning to digital financial services. Branches can also use digital signage to display their social media handles and encourage viewers to get in touch with them online.
We’ve all stood in line at the bank wondering how much longer we’ll have to wait to be served. With digital signage, credit unions can display wait times to customers and other important information regarding their visits. This can be incredibly useful for those who don’t have the time to track down a staff member for help.
There is perhaps no greater way for credit unions to advertise their services to branch visitors than through digital signage. Who doesn’t notice a bright, flashing sign with bold text? Credit unions can attract new customers and spark a newfound interest in old partners by advertising services and special promotions.
A traditional hallmark of branch locations, lobbies have largely fallen to the wayside. Today, most people want to get in and out as quickly as possible, partly because branches have failed to provide updated lobbies. So what should these futuristic lobbies entail to ensure the success of credit unions going forward?
Reduced Retail Footprint
With fewer people visiting branch locations, lobbies today should be built smaller but more efficiently, allowing customers to easily navigate the space and find what they need. Modern lobbies should provide a sense of security, invoke a modern feel, and encourage the flow of foot traffic.
Lobbies should be the main area for conversations and advice, offering visitors a sense of safety and comfort. Staff should be readily available to assist customers.
Portable devices have made it possible for tellers to get out from behind their desks and move around, chatting with customers and providing a friendlier experience. As the frontline employees of your credit union branch, tellers should have the freedom to act as brand ambassadors and foster customer loyalty on the ground.
Become “Branches of the Future”
It’s estimated that as many as 10,000 bank branches in the U.S. have closed their doors since the late 2000s. With more people managing their finances online, credit unions that wish to stay in brick-and-mortar businesses need to transform and modernize their buildings. In addition to lobby improvement, the future bank branch will incorporate several features to enhance the customer experience.
A New Look
Future credit union branches should create an environment where customers feel comfortable and well-informed. Many future-focused branches offer designed spaces that look more like an Apple Store or Starbucks than a traditional banking location, giving customers a more relaxed feel.
Connections Over Transactions
With the rise of mobile banking, fewer customers are visiting branch locations to make basic transactions—they can do that on their phones from the comfort of home. Instead, they’re seeking more complex services, ones that require personal assistance from branch staff. This is why it’s crucial for credit unions to foster relationships with their customers and provide a space where they feel comfortable sharing their concerns and finding unique solutions to their problems.
Powered By Technology
Credit union branches of the future will rely heavily on technology. Popular, innovative solutions include interactive teller machines and audiovisual tools. By maintaining a tech focus, credit unions can better serve their customers while maintaining a direct communication line with each person who walks through their doors.
See How Teksetra Can Help!
To compete in the digital world, credit unions must—perhaps ironically—leverage technology to provide a customer experience that is both modern and personal. After all, customers would have no reason to visit a credit union if it didn’t offer something inaccessible through digital means. Customers like to know that someone is looking out for them and taking care of their finances, and visiting a well-designed credit union branch can grant them this assurance.
Teksetra offers end-to-end technology solutions for several industries, including finance. With Teksetra’s solutions, you can reduce downtime, augment your team, consolidate vendors, and more, leveraging technology and the human touch to improve your credit union branch. Reach out today to learn more!
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