- To meet member needs of a new generation, credit unions must rethink their digital transformation and communications strategies.
- Multi-channel access, smart agent routing, and enhanced security are all considerations for a digital-first strategy.
- Choosing the right communications platform can help credit unions appeal to a modern generation of potential members.
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Credit unions often struggle to attract younger members. According to CUManagement, the median age of credit union members in the US is 47, and a whopping 71% of non-members ages 18-24 are “not at all familiar” or “not very familiar” with credit unions.
Competition for these consumers is fierce, with fintech and big banks offering digital services that have wide appeal to younger consumers. To be competitive in such an environment, credit unions must adjust to a younger demographic’s changing needs and interests. Credit unions must step up their digital strategies for a membership that increasingly demands digital communication options.
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Credit unions in the midst of a digital transformation journey may struggle to prioritize the multitude of areas slated for improvement, but one of the most important areas to digitize to improve member experiences is communications. Here are some of the capabilities credit unions should make available to attract younger members:
Providing access to all desired communications channels is the first key factor to engaging a digital-first generation of members. Channel preferences can vary widely among members, and even one member may have multiple communications preferences based on what their objectives are. For instance, a member may prefer phone communication for customer service issues but SMS messaging for account bulletins.
Common channels members expect in a digital-first environment are:
- Instant messaging
- Text messaging
- Web chat
- Web/video conferencing
- Social media
Some of these channels are ideal when a member has one or two questions for which they want an immediate response. Others allow for convenient interactions when the timing is not quite as urgent.
With consumers increasingly conditioned to expect an instant resolution to customer service issues, a cloud-based communications platform that enables real-time connection across multiple channels is now the standard.
With cloud-based communications, member services agents can receive incoming messages or inquiries and respond from anywhere. This ability means your agents can address member concerns when they are away from their desks. Some credit unions now also implement the work-from-anywhere model that allows agents to work from home, in the office, or a combination of the two.
Agents are more efficient with adaptable communication capabilities, which leads to a better member experience and faster response and resolution times.
After implementing a UCaaS solution, Catrice Lee, Call Center Manager for Essential Federal Credit Union noted:
“We can now also monitor support calls in real time and help fix issues as they occur. That is helping us speed our response times, improve our overall customer experience, and meet our business objectives.”
One way to speed up call resolution for credit union contact centers is to implement smart call routing. Leveraging AI, skills-based routing allows you to connect the member with the person most equipped to resolve the issue. For instance, a caller may have questions about a specific loan product, and the call is routed to the appropriate loan officer. Through accurate skills-based call routing, agents can apply their unique skill set, and members do not have to suffer through multiple transfers to get to the person best suited to handle the member’s concerns.
Inbound communications are not the only type of communication to evaluate as you develop a digital-first strategy. Credit unions often send members newsletters, announcements, updates, and private messages as part of their outbound communications strategy. Digital-centric members want to receive these communications on preferred digital channels.
The method preferred can vary by the type of message. Email is still often preferred for newsletters and more in-depth messages. In contrast, members may prefer text messages for quick announcements or updates.
To customize delivery for each individual, invite members to choose which channel they prefer for each common type of message you send. Ask new members for preferences when they sign up and then include these options in an account dashboard, which enables the member to update preferences over time.
Security is a major consideration as credit unions evolve a digital-first communications strategy. Members and agents may share private or confidential information or documents electronically. It is important that the shared messages are transmitted securely to preserve member privacy.
Credit unions should choose a communications platform that offers end-to-end encryption and multiple layers of security at every interaction point. Look for multi-factor authentication (MFA), which ensures that the actual member is engaging in the conversation. MFA not only protects your members from identity theft, but it helps your credit union meet enhanced regulatory compliance designed to protect against fraud and money laundering.
Cloud-based software offers advanced security capabilities for credit unions relative to more on-premises systems that require credit unions to gather and hold data locally.
Beyond security measures, there are other advantages of building your modern communications system in the cloud. The following are reasons why your credit union should deploy in the cloud.
- Easier scalability: Cloud-based platforms allow for easier, cost-efficient pricing. You add users as your organization grows.
- More uptime: Cloud solutions are dependable. You won’t face major service or access disruptions that impact your workers and members. For example, RingCentral offers an industry-leading 99.999 percent uptime.
- More adaptability: Cloud-based communications platforms enable work from anywhere at any time. Credit unions using a hybrid work model need the adaptability that cloud solutions provide.
- Reduced physical footprint for greater sustainability: Cloud-based solutions do not require additional office space or hardware to deploy and represent a more sustainable, eco-friendly communications experience.
- Cost advantages: Cloud-based communications platforms require less infrastructure, maintenance, usage, and employee costs than on-premises data centers.
Credit unions focused on attracting younger members and retaining existing members must carefully consider their digital services offerings to remain competitive.
RingCentral is a cloud-based communications platform that offers everything credit unions need to digitalize communications for the modern member. Our solution provides:
- Multi-channel communications, including phone, SMS messaging, chat, video conferencing, and more
- End-to-end encryption and HITRUST-CSF certification to ensure member data is protected at every point
- Contact center capabilities to streamline your call center communications
Experience the RingCentral benefits for credit unions; see how it works today.
Originally published May 05, 2022