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Multi-Channel Engagement Necessary to Deepen Relationships with Members
Monday, May 12, 2014 6:35 AM

Credit unions should deepen relationships with their members through multi-channel engagement by focusing on their shopping, buying and servicing behaviors, according to Robert Rubin, creator of FindABetterBank.com—the largest database for “bank shoppers” in the U.S.  Rubin was a featured speaker at Catalyst Corporate’s recent Accelerating Success Conference.            

In a data-driven presentation, Rubin pointed out, “Online is now the primary research and shopping channel for a majority of consumers, but even those that prefer to research services online turn to other channels when actually completing the transaction.” As an example, Rubin said a recent survey found that 61 percent researched mortgages online, but when it came to opening the account, only 37 percent did so online—68 percent turned to a branch office.

Rubin is a managing director and leads the banking practice at digital strategy research firm, Novarica.  He is also an advisor for Filene, an independent, nonprofit “think and do tank” for the credit union industry.  According to Rubin, “There has been a shift in the way consumers select their financial institution.  They select products before they select the institution.”  In the new world, search engines, consumer websites and social media generate awareness.  Product comparisons, the online experience and accessibility are factors that are considered, but actual purchases are made everywhere—online, by phone and in person.                                                                                                             

Rubin noted the increased importance of mobile banking in attracting new members.  This year, mobile banking has increased 35 percent as a “must have” feature for a new banking relationship, according to a report from FindABetterBank.com.  Rubin also pointed out that cross-selling should be a focus.  A report found that 72 percent of adults under 30 who were shopping for checking accounts were also in the market for other financial products—36 percent were interested in savings or money market accounts, 26 percent in credit cards and 8 percent in personal lines of credit.

“Credit unions seeking to get ahead of the pack are taking action now. Key findings confirm that most prospective credit union members in a branch have also shopped online, so in-branch sales processes should be revisited with that in mind,” said Rubin. Products and services offered should be optimized for the entire shopping experience, not just for the final purchasing process.

There should be a focus on the website experience that includes online visibility and product competitiveness as well as search engine optimization. One simple fix is to move the “Apply Now” button up, closer to the top of the webpage. Usability is just as important as design when investing in a website as marginal changes to an online presentment can have a material sales impact. And remember to continually test usability to identify root causes of online fall out.

Another key finding is that a growing segment of credit union members are only available for digital cross-sell where additional product suggestions are presented to members that may complement what they are already searching for or using online. To target these consumers, Rubin suggested developing batch and real time analytical capabilities to drive cross-sell, including website redesigns as well as investing in test-and-learn capabilities to refine offer engines.