Article

Future-Proofing the Member Experience

smiling young Asian woman in green shirt holds up yellow notecard with a smiley face drawn on it
Stephanie Schwenn Sebring Photo
Contributing Writer
Fab Prose & Professional Writing

4 minutes

Look to these four pillars to guide every interaction.

Future-proofing is a term you may have heard in other sectors. For credit unions, it means serving your members exceptionally well today while anticipating what’s next—tomorrow, next month and years in the future. It centers on expecting and delivering what members require for a superb member experience. It’s something that PSCU has made entirely its own.

“A year ago, we sought to find the right words to embrace our ideals for credit union growth, service and relevancy. Future-proofing now signifies the path we’ve carved in our support of our owner credit unions,” explains Brian Scott, chief growth officer for CUESolutions Bronze provider PSCU, St. Petersburg, Florida. “The discussion began with where credit unions are today, what’s coming and how we could support them in their mission. And ultimately, the goal is to serve members the way they prefer to be served.”

To support this initiative, Scott dissects the member experience into four pillars: 

  1. Ease of use. Is it effortless for members to do business with you? To access or get approved for your services? Even to communicate with you?
  2. Convenience. Are you offering the breadth of services and technology that fit your members’ needs right now? Are they poised to evolve alongside their changing needs?
  3. Personalization. This is an expectation of almost every consumer, no matter who they are, where they live, or their age or lifestyle. Members want to see their names and be presented with a timely solution relevant to their needs.
  4. Security. Members hear stories daily of data breaches. Communicate often and well how you’re protecting their data and identity.  

Leaders need to understand why it’s so important to future-proof their CUs, stay relevant and thereby insulate themselves against the competition. 

“There are many external threats and competitors ready to infringe on your market share,” says Scott. “Think of SoFi and Rocket Mortgage. Both burst on the scene, leveraging their unique brands and gaining significant market share in a short amount of time. It’s essential to think about the rise of these brands, who your competitors are, and what can help and hurt you when future-proofing your credit union.”

A pathway to successful future-proofing is to understand your member’s interactions with you, whether for a mortgage, auto loan, debit or credit transactions, financial planning or something else. 

“Map that journey,” says Scott. “Experience it like your members. Find their pain points or friction and fix it. For example, I recently refinanced my mortgage and couldn’t easily find one source’s rates online. That’s a glitch and an easy fix. Perform an audit on your online services to find those glitches.”

A test is to consider what would happen if you charged members a monthly fee for your mobile app (or another service), says Scott. “If your member wouldn’t be willing to pay for something, why is that? If it’s not good enough to pay for, the service must evolve to be better. It must pass this hurdle to future-proof the member experience.” 

A good example of making the journey easy for members is when you can make becoming a member online a 60-second undertaking.

“Maybe your members have children, and they bring them inside your credit union. Is the visit one that elevates the child’s experience? Make it entertaining and educational. As that child continues his or her journey, evolve the experience so that it remains worthwhile and enjoyable.”

Also, think outside the box. “Have one teller or one loan officer master your new idea and use that idea on real members and real transactions,” says Scott. “You’ll learn right away if it’s a good idea or something not worth pursuing.”

Whatever product you’re offering, is it future-proof? When designing the product’s experience, have you checked every box of the four pillars: ease, convenience, personalization and security? These pillars should be the rationale and direction of every service you provide at your credit union.  cues icon

Stephanie Schwenn Sebring established and managed the marketing departments for three CUs and served in mentorship roles before launching her business. As owner of Fab Prose & Professional Writing, she assists credit unions, industry suppliers and any company wanting great content and a clear brand voice. Follow her on Twitter @fabprose.

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