We expect a great experience no matter where we shop, where we are entertained, where we eat, or how we manage our money.
I use “we” because increasingly there is little if any difference between the experiences we want to encounter as individuals and what members are expecting from their credit unions.
On that premise, let’s start with a simple question: When you think of your experiences with Amazon, how would you describe them?
Most people likely will use terms such as “simple,” “easy,” “consistent” or “reliable.” It has taken Amazon years and countless dollars to achieve that response.
How can your credit union get to that point too?
Step 1: Focus
Today, many credit unions provide digital accessibility to members. I work with numerous credit unions that are progressive in their approach, but the best focus on holistically evolving their customer experiences well into the future.
They are looking two, five, and even 10 years beyond where they are now.
That’s focus. This isn’t just about a cool new widget, it’s about creating a personable experience across all channels and ultimately creating members for life by keeping pace with the speed of their lives.
Back to Amazon. Like a credit union, Amazon offers various channels. I can shop using the web, mobile, Echo, or a Dash Button, making it fast and easy.
The interchange between these channels is what differentiates the Amazon experience. With one click, one word, or one push of a button I can order and pay for whatever I need. It is fast, easy, and consistent.
That’s exactly where we are headed in financial services. Rest assured, this type of experience is certainly on the minds of your members—younger and future members in particular.
Focus on defining what you need to achieve in 2018 and in the next five to 10 years to cement your brand in members’ minds as being simple, easy, consistent, and reliable.
That Amazon-caliber experience is what you are shooting for, and it’s achievable.
Step 2: Technology enablement
Technology will have a big part to play in the experience evolution. Consumers want things like actionable, integrated alerts that help them manage their finances faster.
Meanwhile, staff are looking for ways to access data across different sources and devices while simultaneously enhancing the face-to-face member experience.
For example, biometric technology can greatly reduce friction (wait time, wallet fumbling, etc.) for both members and staff, and is becoming a normal and integral part of how members bank.
As one of my colleagues recently put it, use technology as a force multiplier to help you build the experience at your credit union.
Step 3: The Cotton Candy Frappuccino experience
Not too long ago, Starbucks created something called the Cotton Candy Frappuccino. It’s a vanilla, Frappuccino-based beverage that feels and looks exclusive, and happens to be pink. My kids, who are 8 and 12, cannot get enough of them.
Starbucks isn’t just going after customers with a move like this, it’s creating new relationships.
My kids and Starbucks are speaking the same language, and my kids are willing to pay to continue that customer conversation.
When you look past all the sugar, it is a brilliant, innovative move for engaging the next wave of Starbucks customers. Ten years ago, I doubt Starbucks executives were thinking about colorful kid drinks. But they are now.
Credit unions aren’t creating clever beverages. But when you look at your services, are you and your members speaking the same language?
Do they recognize the value you provide on an ongoing basis, and have an affinity for your brand?
My point here is that credit union leaders can and must give themselves permission to think big-picture, innovate, and invest in creative, engaging and meaningful customer experiences that enhance the already strong credit union value proposition.
JAIME DOMINGUEZ is director, product management, for Fiserv.