Engaging members in the moment to build relationships for life

September 21, 2018

Being part of your members’ financial journey is key to knowing where, when, and how to market to them. The traditional marketing funnel is dead, and successful selling increasingly depends on being an integrated part of your members’ lifestyles.


By Olga Zakharenkava

Growing share of wallet is a perennial goal for credit unions. So why isn’t your member wallet share increasing? Is it possible that your engagement strategy has become a bit dated and ineffective?

Perhaps it’s time to revisit how you view your interactions with members, with an eye on making meaningful connections throughout the member lifecycle. This focus on genuine engagement can pay big dividends for forward-thinking, service-oriented credit unions. Let’s start by exploring what member engagement is, and isn’t.

Genuine Engagement isn’t Linear

One error credit unions sometimes make is to see marketing only through a lens of growing wallet share, and focusing on the ‘journey stages’ that fit into traditional funnel models, for example:

green

Or they take a “members-first” approach that nonetheless sees the member lifecycle as linear, with members proceeding through a series of needs in a predictable fashion that, for example, could look like this:

red

But the truth of the matter is, in a world where consumers expect to be in the center, member interaction happens in an unpredictable fashion. Many of the milestones in personal life are opportunities for credit unions to be part of members’ lives in a meaningful and relevant way. Google coined the term “micro-moments” a long time ago by today’s standards (2015), but it seems that many financial institutions have yet to embrace this concept even at a high level, not to mention adding the people, processes, and technology to support this.

We see it this way – the opportunity to engage is non-linear, because members are complex human beings with some needs that can be predicted and some that cannot. Any moment when engagement happens is an opportunity to build relationships – or miss out. And, as a result, the possibilities are infinite.

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So, how can your credit union become empowered to identify the right moments in members’ lives, and meet their needs in those moments?

Advanced Analytics to Identify Opportunities

To grow your business by growing member wallet share, your credit union needs to be top of mind whenever a financial need arises. Good news – you have a wealth of data that will help you to predict an upcoming need, and get your offer on the table before your competition steps in. And remember, your competition is not always another credit union or bank. Quite often your credit union will compete with ‘I will not do anything’ attitude, or plain lack of knowledge about available options! To combat this, you need to make the shift from reactive mass marketing, to predictive personalized marketing.

As an example, you might detect a pattern in your transactional data that indicates that a member is likely to not have enough money in their account to cover a recurring bill coming up in a few weeks. An automated email warning the member can help them avoid an NSF fee, building brand loyalty at relatively low cost to you. If you detect a repeated pattern of missed payments, perhaps a gentle invitation for financial coaching is in order?

Or perhaps a member mentions a new baby in the house – this data gathered into CRM by staff and put into action by business analytics and automated email may result in the opening of a youth account and an educational savings account as well.

Meeting Members’ Educational Needs

To provide a genuinely engaging member experience, you need to extend your focus beyond immediate marketing opportunities, because meeting member needs for education as they research financial products can help you be the service provider of choice when decision time arrives.

Consider the following ways to meet the member need for education, on-demand and through preferred channels:

  • Interactive tools
  • Personalized video
  • Mobile apps or games
  • 1×1 education in personal finance

For example, you could develop a series of interactive tools geared towards young children and students which educate, inform, and establish basic financial literacy.

This approach is certainly in line with credit union system values around helping members succeed, and it can also help you raise the profile of your brand. Implementing educational tools and programs makes you a better financial partner, and helps you be well positioned for the exploratory research and investigation phase of product selection immediately preceding an active engagement with a prospective consumer.

A Value-First Service Mentality

If you want to increase the business members do with you, always start with delivering more value to members. To award you more wallet share, your members must first feel that positive change in how their credit union engages with them and delivers value.

Where does that value come from? From delivering great experiences during each and every routine interaction, not just during sales activities. This can include everything from adding invitations to local events at their branch to member statements, to keeping a complete record of member interactions so they don’t have to repeat themselves to get an issue resolved. The key is that your members feel understood on a personal level.

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A screenshot of CRM tracking all interactions with a member*

Remember, studies show that highly satisfied customers buy 2X as many products as unsatisfied customers and that poor member service is the top driver of attrition, so your investment in service and convenience can really impact your bottom line.

A Holistic Engagement Strategy Needs the Right Technology Stack

Are you asking yourself how to structure your technology infrastructure in a way that will allow you to respond to member needs across all channels, in the moment, in a way that’s cost-effective, repeatable, and supportable at scale? The answer is twofold.

Firstly, you should consider an integrated platform for customer engagement, so you don’t have to integrate a series of point solutions and then maintain those integrations. An integrated solution will allow you to start by solving a pressing member engagement challenge, and then build from there, leveraging your rich member data across all applications and departments.

Secondly, be sure to work with an experienced vendor that can provide preconfigured templates and workflows and share best practices from engagements with other credit unions. That way you can start strong with a digital member engagement solution designed for the credit union system, and fine-tune your technology from that position of strength.

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*Data or personal names included into the sample CRM screen are for illustration only and do not represent real data or the real person. Any potential name or other data similarities or matches are not intentional and are purely a coincidence.

olga

About the Author

“Olga Zakharenkava is the VP, Demand Marketing at Doxim, a leading provider of cloud-based customer engagement solutions for credit unions and wealth management firms.”