PSCU Senior Innovation Strategist Jay Lauer

Responding to members’ changing needs

Personalization, data provide a deeper look into members’ needs and preferences.

October 29, 2021

“Do we know what our members want? The short answer is ‘yes,’” says PSCU Senior Innovation Strategist Jay Lauer.

The longer answer provides a deeper look at where the financial services industry is going and how institutions can use the tools at their disposal to get there. Credit unions have a head start, as they are naturally set up to respond to members’ changing wants and needs.

“Credit unions by nature are member-focused,” Lauer says. “Those principals have provided credit unions an opportunity to establish and develop personal relationships with their members.

“We’ve made ourselves available, we’ve become good listeners, and we’ve developed the needed member understanding to be effective in our mission,” he continues. “We also know times have changed, technologies have advanced, and our business and service models have as well.” 

Improved technology gives credit unions a better idea of member demographics and who they are serving. Credit unions can get data on loans members have applied for, inquiries they’ve made, and any other interactions.

Lauer says credit unions have done a good job responding to changing membership needs, but that will be tested as the pace of innovation, commerce, and life continues to accelerate.

“The pace of change in consumer behaviors has accelerated,” he says. “The rise of digital certainly has a lot to do with it, but society, the economy, and defining our next normal will play a leading role as well. There’s no time to rest on our laurels.”

Lauer says COVID and innovations in technology have led to societal change that has consumers evaluating their core beliefs and internal motivations. An Accenture study found that traditional consumers’ wants and needs break down to quality (26%), price (25%), service and personal care (12%), ease and convenience (11%), trust and reputation (10%), health and safety (9%), and product origin (7%).

‘Active, personalized member engagement programs position us to address the needs and wants we should expect from our membership going forward.” – Jay Lauer.’
Jay Lauer

There’s been a quantifiable shift in consumers’ wants and needs, including quality (21%), price (19%), service and personal care (14%) and trust and reputation (12%). 

Members are willing to budge on quality and price to attain satisfaction in other personal areas, Lauer says. “Perhaps they’re willing to pay a little more for ease and convenience, service and personal care, or trust and reputation. Those align nicely with the credit union mission.”

Consumers also want personalized, up-to-date communications that align with their beliefs rather than blanket messaging. 

But data limitations can hinder personalization and credit unions’ ability to know their members. 

A Dell Technologies study found that 67% of firms say they need more data than their current capabilities provide, while 70% say they are gathering data faster than they can analyze and use. Customer data platforms can help streamline that data by aggregating it from multiple sources and segmenting it by identifying groups of members with similar attributes.

When the data is segmented accurately, content can efficiently be sent to members through website personalization, push messaging, social media, direct mail, email communications, contact center interactions, and in-branch interactions.

“What’s the next best action? What serves their needs?” Lauer says. “Active, personalized member engagement programs position us to address the needs and wants we should expect from our membership going forward.”

Lauer addressed the 2021 CUNA Operations & Member Experience Council and CUNA Technology Council Virtual Conference.