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Delivering Convenience Is Anything but Easy
Tuesday, May 30, 2017 6:25 AM

Rich Trace, VP of Wholesale Lending and Commercial Protection, CUNA Mutual Group

Meeting your members' demand for convenience is changing the dynamic of the credit union/member relationship. Members want to do business when, where and how it best suits their lives, and that may not be around your office hours or locations.

You may believe you know your members better than anyone. You may think the loyalty your relationship is based on is stronger than the appeal of competitors. And, you may think you're already meeting their expectations and delivering a member-friendly customer experience.

But there are a few problems with those assumptions. Loyalty only gets you so far. At some point convenience becomes more important. As technology empowers people to manage their busy lives, they'll inevitably gravitate to the path of least resistance as long as it delivers value and meets their needs.

In fact, a chief retail officer at a large credit union recently said, "Most members are loyal to their credit unions. They want to do business with them, but convenience trumps that."

Also, don't confuse your vision of convenience with your members' vision. According to an IBM study, 62 percent of retail banking executives surveyed said they deliver an excellent customer experience. But just 35 percent of their customers agreed.

As a credit union, your challenge is how to compete in today's technology-driven world. You need to adapt quickly and often to satisfy changing consumer demands and deliver a convenient experience. As a result, you may have to divert time and resources from other priorities.

For example, providing a new digital product or channel involves a number of considerations, including:

  • Technology expertise
  • Financial investment
  • Data security
  • Compliance issues
  • Ongoing maintenance

Of course, you must address these issues while meeting the ultimate objective: making it easy for your members to do business with you.

While delivering convenience is vital to meeting your members' expectations, it's a never-ending process. With the technology revolution continuing to pick up speed, you can feel caught between a sense of urgency and taking a measured approach.

Overshadowing everything is the need to get it right. Your members trust you to get it right. If you don't, it's now easier than ever for them to take their business to a competitor who does.

Previously posted on CUNA Mutual Group Insights, May 3, 2017.

CUNA Mutual Group is an endorsed five-star business partner of Credit Union Resources, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cornerstone Credit Union League.