Members’ expectations have changed, but the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed them to the limit. As their expectations have changed, so must your delivery of products and services. In an era where social distancing and masks will likely remain the norm in public, have you taken into account the impact on the member experience when they start returning to your branches?
A study by Kiran Analytics found that whether a financial institution had more than 100 branches or less, the # 1 priority for financial service providers was to improve the branch experience. And if you’re not looking to improve the in-branch member experience, your competition is. The study found that financial institutions are turning to technology to improve the customer experience and increase efficiency.
Interestingly, branch wait times increased over time instead of decreasing, and before the pandemic, the volume of branch transactions of credit unions increased relative to the decrease in banks, according to Kronos. At the same time, the productivity of credit unions declined by 9% as costs increased. Tips for improving these ratios include scheduling appointments (which many of you have been doing since the pandemic), optimizing staffing versus transaction volume, integrating capable universal associates manage several different types of transactions and analyze technologies to help members get in and out efficiently. .
Branch strategies must evolve as consumers get used to digital services, but they will always need their branch. Contrary to popular belief, branches remain the preferred method of opening new accounts across generations, a Deloitte study found. Opening new branch accounts was preferred by Baby Boomers (64%), Gen Xers (54%), Millennials (48%) and Gen Z consumers (56%).
It is essential to align the branch experience of your credit union with the digital experience of members. Weaving digital efficiency and security with human interaction in the branch is a powerful punch!
Integrating technology into your branches offers many benefits to both the credit union and its members. Member service can be significantly improved with things like appointment scheduling tools and improved signature blocks. Items like these can streamline and improve member verification for added security and faster transaction times when a member swipes their card or enters a PIN rather than sharing it with the cashier who then punches it ( and may also have misheard). When personal financial information needs to be shared, it’s on a screen rather than verbalizing it through the kiosk where anyone else nearby can hear it. It can also prevent members from feeling embarrassed when their account is overdrawn or protect them from damage caused by another member overhearing their money market account balance. WRG’s Tellergy also enables personalized marketing offers to improve cross-selling. Freeing the cashier from these tasks allows them to better serve more members as it gives them time to establish that human connection that many branch users seek and move them faster.
These many benefits of automating your caisse’s in-branch experience are important because they help build trust and a sense of security for members. They allow cashiers and technology to deepen member relationships. They demonstrate an understanding of the needs of your members. In fact, a 2019 study by Auriga and ATM Marketplace suggested that there are great opportunities in this area, with 69% indicating plans to introduce assisted service devices to branches within three years. As banks close branches, especially in rural areas, credit unions have a great opportunity to showcase their modern philosophy of helping people with member-centric branch services.
As we move forward, explore how you can streamline your caisse’s in-branch experience and protect your members’ personal financial data and privacy, not only on the web, but in your branches as well. Provide the service your member deserves and exceed their expectations to earn their loyalty for years to come. Take advantage of solutions that improve the experience for members and your team.
Kerry Schiappa is Director of Sales and Marketing for Wescom Resources Group, a $ 4.9 billion 100% Wescom Credit Union CUSO in Pasadena, California.