Understanding, partnering and celebrating—at scale—are key to building and sustaining member engagement.
Having high-quality products and services is no longer a competitive advantage for credit unions—it’s an expectation. The critical differentiator in building lifelong relationships with your members is how well you understand, guide and encourage them on their financial and life journeys. The good news is that creating meaningful relationships with your members is a lot like building any other relationship: It's based on understanding, partnering and celebrating.
The challenge for credit unions lies in building such relationships at scale. How can you make sure each and every one of your hundreds or thousands of members feels that you understand them, partner with and educate them to help meet their unique needs, and celebrate their successes?
Your organization can follow these three steps to build a scalable member engagement strategy that drives lifetime relationships.
1. Get to Know Your Members as People, Not Data Points
To deliver an incredible member experience, credit unions need to understand what makes their members tick.
Too often, credit unions base campaigns and marketing strategies on data points like income and loan amounts instead of members’ personal milestones, like buying their dream home or launching a small business.
With every new account, create an orientation and onboarding process that will give you a full picture of your members’ needs, desires and expectations. Ask your new members:
- What are your financial and life goals?
- What are the financial roadblocks that you need help overcoming?
- What guidance and education do you need before making a major financial decision?
At the start of these relationships, make sure you ask for your members’ communication preferences, too. Some may prefer service over the phone and in person, while others may want to communicate exclusively via app, text or email. Be sure to respect these preferences.
2. Develop a Data-Driven Plan to Help Your Members Achieve Their Goals
Once you know what your members want to accomplish through their partnership with your credit union, you can create member success journeys. Now you can bring in the data.
While getting to know your members’ wants and needs upon account opening makes their experience more personalized, member data enables internal journey tracking to help you manage your relationships at scale. And remember: You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Data is key.
Always identify and monitor key metrics of your member engagement campaigns to learn how you can improve your strategy. These metrics might include:
- open or response rate to a product promotion;
- number of refinances after a targeted loan refinancing campaign; and
- number of touchpoints before a new account is opened.
Over time, you’ll be able find best practices for when and how to reach out at the right time of the member’s journey so that they have what they need to succeed.
3. Celebrate Your Members’ Wins
Affirmation is an important part of any healthy relationship. People love to know that their achievements are recognized and celebrated.
Members should be the star of the show throughout their credit union experience. Your member is the hero of your credit union story. When you celebrate their wins—the dream home they purchased after years of careful saving with your guidance, for example—you show that you’re invested in their long-term financial health and personal success. And other members can see themselves in these member-centric stories as well.
How do you make this happen? Make your members’ stories the centerpiece of your brand. Showcasing your members’ achievements doesn’t just deepen your relationships—it’s also a great marketing strategy to draw prospective members to your credit union to find out how you can help them achieve their goals, too.
You can spotlight your member success stories (with permission, of course) by:
- sharing milestones on social media or newsletters;
- inviting members to share their stories in videos and virtual events; and
- nominating members’ businesses for industry awards.
This is why having data to track your support of your members’ financial goals is so important. It ensures you come full circle to help them realize what they set out to do when they first opened an account. And then you can celebrate.
Cultivate Lifelong Member Relationships by Being There at Every Step of the Journey
Many consumers’ relationships with their financial institutions are practically nonexistent. When members view their credit union relationship as simply transactional, who’s to say whether they’ll continue doing business with you the next year.
This creates a major opportunity for credit unions to stand out from the crowd. Credit unions already have a reputation for serving the community. Take it a step further and demonstrate how you serve each and every member.
Show up at the beginning of every relationship by asking about your members’ hopes and dreams. Leverage data to help them get there. Celebrate once they’ve made it. Your members won’t be able to imagine going anywhere else.