Credit unions have one big advantage over banks — the ability to create more personal relationships with their members. And the good news is that technology can help bring those relationships into the digital age without losing what makes credit unions so appealing to customers.
On the contrary, technology can enhance the customer experience even more.
With that in mind, we looked into some credit union technology trends to jump on in 2022 to help you service and engage your members more effectively.
Technology is changing expectations
COVID-19 has accelerated the march of digital technology into all aspects of our lives. The reality is, credit unions post-pandemic face a different landscape than before. Customers now expect to be able to manage their financial lives seamlessly and digitally. At present though, credit unions trail behind the big banks in terms of their digital capabilities.
Yet, some 58 percent of consumers would still rather do business with a credit union or regional bank than the big ones. The reason? Superior customer service and a more personalized experience.
So, credit unions do need to step up their digital game. But, instead of straight up copying what banks are doing, it’s better to do it in a way that plays to your strong suits. That way, you can continue to differentiate yourself and evolve to meet modern expectations.
5 credit union technology trends
Let’s take a look at some credit union technology trends that can help institutions improve member experience.
1. The rise of video chat
Video chat's popularity is very much on the increase. In fact, in certain projections, the video conferencing market is predicted to reach $13.82 billion in 2023, and beyond $20 billion in 2024.
For credit unions, it offers a perfect opportunity to bring the experience of physical branches into the comfort of members’ homes. This way, you can replicate the kind of in-person service that members value, while benefiting from the speed and efficiency of technology.
This approach is particularly useful when it comes to more delicate or complicated matters — such as mortgage applications or investment conversations. People feel less anxious when dealing with real, living beings instead of being left to complete online forms or questionnaires on their own.
So, if you’re thinking of jumping on the video chat train, here are a few things to consider:
- Ensure good connectivity. Choose lightweight software, and make sure your branches have high quality connections.
- Keep it secure. Given the nature of the information being exchanged, data security is of paramount importance. Ensure any software has end-to-end encryption.
- Be well prepared. Employees need the right equipment so the lighting, sound, and immediate surroundings should help, not hinder interactions with members.
- Train employees. An intimate understanding of the technology is essential for a smooth customer experience.
2. Cobrowse has entered the game
Fintech and shadow banking have automated many of the traditionally more taxing aspects of financial dealings, such as loan applications. But people often need human support with these kinds of interactions, too.
One of the ways credit unions can support members online for applications and similar dealings is by using cobrowse technology, a customer support tool that’s gained in popularity in recent years. Small wonder when you consider that an Aberdeen Group study showed cobrowsing is pivotal in increasing customer satisfaction and reducing support costs.
Cobrowsing provides a way to help members through potentially confusing or intimidating processes remotely. With the member's permission, agents can use visual tools to point, click, or annotate anywhere on a member’s screen — whether that’s via a website or mobile app.
Cobrowsing levels up customer experience in lots of ways, such as helping you:
- Resolve issues quicker. Visual context allows agents not merely to tell members what they need to do but actually show them. That way, average handle time is greatly decreased.
- Enhance video calls. Integrating cobrowsing with video chat brings a whole new dimension to support calls, increasing engagement.
- Decrease drop-off. Customers often abandon complex interactions, but, with cobrowsing, they can be effectively guided through to conversion.
- Maintain security and trust. Trust is key, so cobrowsing lets members control their experience by masking specific elements of a page, like credit card input fields, for example.
3. The power of advanced analytics
Great customer relationships rely heavily on an in-depth knowledge of members. Back in the day, this was only possible if members visited their local branches in-person and built up a rapport with those employees they regularly dealt with.
That’s why, one of the credit union technology trends we’ve seen emerging is about analytics — and how it helps institutions get to know their customers better. As recently as 2016, only 5 percent of credit unions integrated data effectively enough to execute even basic analytics. But that’s rapidly changing.
Analytics can be used to help discover more about members’ needs and desires, from the particular products and services they’ve interacted with, or the channels and mediums they prefer to use. This information enables credit unions to create a tailored, personalized experience for each member. That could be anything from the content provided, to the particular advice and services recommended.
4. Chatbots are your new colleagues
Chatbots have opened up a new way for credit unions to serve members in a digital world. With 60 percent of millennials saying they’ve used chatbots and 70 percent saying they had a positive experience, it’s clear why they’re a big part of the future of customer service.
These self-service applications provide instant answers to frequently asked questions and common service issues. But they do much more than that.
With carefully designed chatbot scripts (a document which outlines conversational messages based on user intention), they can be imbued with a personality that reflects how an institution wishes to be seen. This way, a chatbot not only helps members in the same way a human could, it interacts with them like one as well. And these friendly programs can be available 24/7, building member relationships while human employees are off the clock.
5. Credit unions are going omnichannel
If you want to harness all the other credit union technology trends, you need to bring everything together in an omnichannel approach. That is what will help credit unions deliver the kind of personalized experiences that really stand out.
Getting there requires sophisticated tech in the form of a customer experience platform. That, in turn, enables the centralization of data that allows for a unified view of members. Credit union employees (human or otherwise!) will then have all the contextual information they need to ensure a continuous conversational experience where each interaction flows naturally from the last, no matter when or where that happens.
It’s all about trust
Ultimately, when it comes to dealing with people’s money, one thing matters above all else — trust. And that’s an area where credit unions already have the advantage.
So, institutions shouldn’t aim to change what they are, but rather embrace credit union technology trends to do what they already do well, in a better way. This can help lay the foundations for long-term success well into the digital age.