Members’ expectations have shifted, but the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed them into high gear. 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 Kiran Analytics study 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 are not looking to improve the experience of your members in branch, your competitors are. 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 transactions for credit unions increased relative to the decrease in banks, according to Kronos. At the same time, the productivity of credit unions declined 9% as costs increased. Tips for improving these ratios include scheduling appointments (which many of you have been doing since the pandemic), optimizing staffing for deal volume, integrating capable universal associates to manage several different types of transactions and analysis of technologies to help members enter and exit 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 in-branch accounts was preferred by Baby Boomers (64%), Gen X consumers (54%), Millennials (48%) and Gen Z consumers (56%).
Aligning your credit union branch experience with the digital member experience is critical. 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 improved appointment scheduling tools and signature blocks. Things 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 relationships between members. 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 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 Wescom Credit Union wholly owned CUSO in Pasadena, California.