Article

Amazing Engagement

green digital heart made of 1s and 0s
Stephanie Schwenn Sebring Photo
Contributing Writer
Fab Prose & Professional Writing

3 minutes

Successful credit unions embrace data to fulfill member needs.

What do you call it when a credit union proactively uses data to create personalized experiences for each of its members? Jeremiah Lotz calls it “intelligent engagement.”

“At PSCU, we specifically define intelligent engagement as an opti-channel strategy ... (choosing/optimizing channel based on data), where experiences are more proactive than reactive as well as personalized,” says Lotz, VP/digital and data management for CUESolutions provider PSCU, St. Petersburg, Florida. “It embraces data and analytics, using readily available information to the fullest extent—which enables credit unions to use data to create experiences specific to each member and his or her individual needs based on the value and opportunity that member represents.”

Solve Problems, Support Dreams

When discussing intelligent engagement, it’s hard not to make a comparison to Amazon, which seamlessly presents purchase recommendations based on all available data—a customer’s ID and password, searches, preferences, location and even an individual’s preferred social media platforms. While most CUs aren’t yet meeting the bar set by Amazon, all of them have a lot of data to support their intelligent engagement efforts, Lotz says. 

“The vast amount of data at their disposal ... is the foundation to craft Amazon-like encounters through intelligent engagement,” stresses Lotz, “not ‘selling’ to your member but providing a concise recommendation, solution or response based on a person’s needs or desires. It offers the assurance you can solve a problem or fulfill a dream. Use data wisely for clearer solutions and avoid ... canned offers.

“Examine items like logical data (information about individuals and their relationships within a data set) to create unexpected and delightful experiences,” Lotz adds. “Intelligent engagement will also incorporate a member’s preferred channels—social media, text, email, direct mail and more.”

Intelligent Engagement Today

Leveraging a member’s data and purchase history, predictive models can forecast a member’s propensity for a service or how likely it is that a member will take a particular action. In turn, the CU can promote an appropriate offering to that member.

Intelligent engagement strategies may help a credit union discover that a member has a large upcoming purchase (and would be receptive to an appropriate loan offer), is experiencing unemployment or another financial hardship (and could need a consolidation loan or financial counseling), just got a new job (and might welcome a credit limit increase), plans to have a child (and might need a home equity line of credit to support preparing the nursery), or is moving into another life stage (such as retirement, which could be supported by financial counseling). 

“Credit unions should identify these critical member journeys and leverage their tools to build on these prospects,” Lotz says. 

Implementation Considerations

Intelligent engagement should be the catalyst for discussing technology and data assets to improve the member experience. Lotz also advises partnering with companies that are ready for the challenge.

“Ask a lot of questions,” he says. “What does our engagement look like now? What do we want engagement to look like? And how can we leverage our data to achieve an elevated level of engagement? Consider the data from the core, payments systems and other platforms.

“If you don’t have a strong grasp on your member journeys, start a conversation internally and with your partners,” adds Lotz. “Learn how to better coordinate multiple partners. Some credit unions are [staffing differently] ... to facilitate the process.”

Members’ needs are ever-changing, concludes Lotz, and those needs require that CUs align their data to support a positive member experience. Meet your members in the channels they choose but still incorporate your entire footprint, including physical branches, as you plan to serve them along their entire life journey, he advises.  cues icon 

Owner of Fab Prose & Professional Writing, Stephanie Schwenn Sebring 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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