Five Ways to Accelerate Digital Adoption and Support Long-Term Growth

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By Adam Miller

4 minutes

There will be no returning to the status quo when this pandemic is over.

Long before COVID-19, member-centric digital experiences were important in every successful credit union’s long-term growth strategy to some degree. According to the January 2020 Digital Banking Report, 80% of organizations said that improving digital experiences was a top strategic focus. Even though digital as a priority has not changed, organizations across the board have been slow to implement. Only 34% of surveyed institutions have created a fully digital end-to-end account opening process, 31% have implemented mobile small-business banking and less than 25% have implemented fully digital onboarding and consumer lending.

Creating better digital experiences for members is essential as people try to plan for the future and navigate changes to how they do their banking. The reality is, there will be no returning to the status quo when this pandemic is over. Institutions of all sizes need to create excellent digital experiences, and they need to do it fast—or risk losing out on major growth opportunities.

Five Priorities for Quickly Creating Strong Digital Member Experiences

  1. Member-Centric Design. Creating digital experiences that address the biggest and most impactful member needs and pain points first, not just doing what is easiest or most profitable in the short term, is more essential now than ever. In a survey conducted in mid-April by JD Power, nearly 40% of respondents reported being unable to make a payment as a result of the pandemic—whether an auto loan, credit card, student loan or mortgage. When reaching out for help, members reported dealing with long wait times and lagging websites. Implementing digital capabilities that address these needs with smoother, quicker methods of communication and problem-solving will drive greater satisfaction and long-term loyalty, potentially capturing “switchers” from less digitally-proactive organizations.
  2. Balance Between Old and New. There is currently a significant generational divide between branch-centric and digital-only members—older members tend to prefer traditional methods of retail banking while younger members may have never set foot in a physical branch. Across the board, digital natives are harder to please with online banking, but what brings them exceptional value—simplicity, accessibility, self-guided education and a variety of communication options—can also make digital adoption easier for branch-centric members. Focusing on these multi-purpose priorities can make a big impact across your entire member base, fast.
  3. A Human Touch. Digital growth does not mean an absence of human connection—a true digital mindset brings humanity to every stage. Use language and personalized elements that replicate the experience of going into a branch and interacting with a friendly face. Digital is about much more than automating transactions. Leverage it to create personalized experiences that help members navigate complex processes and connect to your credit union. Amplifying the power of your people to reach members through digital channels gives your members immediate access to their trusted financial experts as well as autonomy and convenience to streamline their banking experience.
  4. Clear Expectations and Processes. A major limitation of digital experiences is the lack of body language and visual cues to help employees determine whether members are frustrated or uncertain. To circumvent this, data on where friction or abandonment occurs within digital processes can be collected and used to make small, but impactful, improvements. For example, if regulatory language is causing confusion, this data can be shared with your compliance team and you can work together to devise a solution. This approach encourages a collaborative mentality and creates a win-win for your team and your members.
  5. Simple Over Slick . Flashy imagery, pop-up automated chat bots, and other complicated design elements can enhance the member’s experience, but they have a time and a place. Cluttered visuals without substance can be a huge turn-off to members who just want to deposit a check or pay a bill. Stick to the basics and build from there. Your members will thank you for it.

Your Digital Path to Growth Starts Now

Regardless of previous timelines or expectations, it is clear digital banking is here to stay, and credit unions need to focus on what matters to members. Prioritizing exceptional member experiences is essential to capturing both the hard-to-please digital native crowd and digitally-averse branch-dependent segments, both of which are essential for success.

Adam Miller is director/CX practice at CUES Supplier member Temenos.

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