Willis Chang knows better options always exist. When he can’t find them, he builds them with the help of his teams.
He’d been working in the credit union industry for more than a decade when he decided to up the ante on member experience.
Chang, vice president of innovation and application delivery at $4 billion asset Kinecta Federal Credit Union in Manhattan Beach, Calif., wanted those channels seamlessly linked.
For instance, if a member got halfway through a mortgage application on her phone, she should be able to finish it at home with a call to a loan officer who could walk her through where she left off to completion.
Chang’s plan was bigger than just home loans. He wanted all platforms and channels to communicate about all sorts of transactions, so that Kinecta employees would always have a 360-degree view of the member and both sales and service needs could be fulfilled.
That vision doesn’t sound impossible in this high-tech day and age, but Chang searched high and low and couldn’t find a vendor that had the right software offering all the functionality Kinecta needed.
So Chang made the obvious choice. He decided that Kinecta would build its own.
His team was all-in from the start, Willis says, but they did encounter some resistance from above.
“My boss initially opposed custom development on strategic components with this much importance,” Chang admits. “So we went on a full-court offensive.”
Already having developed an omnichannel strategy with his chief information officer, Chang put together a proposal demonstrating where customer development could have additional value, especially around user experience and functionality. He leveraged his team’s success in developing several in-house applications, including a customer relationship management system, to get the chief information officer’s blessing.
“You can’t buy omnichannel off-the-shelf because it doesn’t yet exist,” says Marsha Mathias, vice president for corporate communications and government relations at Kinecta. “But Willis is the brains behind the well thought-out plan to bring this kind of member experience for Kinecta’s members.”
The credit union continues to push forward, working to build artificial intelligence and communications capability into that omnichannel approach. Chang attributes the success to the Kinecta culture, which he says fosters innovation and keeps him engaged in and committed to his work.