Credit unions are all about people helping people and superior customer service. And since the Internet has created an “any time - any place” mentality, consumers now have expectations of immediate satisfaction. To meet the demands of this new consumer mentality, credit unions now need to offer an information application that will deliver enhanced customer service through the electronic delivery channel, consistent with other delivery channels, and give members the ability to:
  • Get pertinent information to support buying decisions

  • Easily search for the information by category

  • Ask a question through any delivery channel and get identical answers

  • Get the answer from a knowledge expert on that specific topic

In most financial service environments today, including credit unions, consumers often get different answers from different delivery channels. Credit unions also have a difficult time capitalizing on the valuable questions that members ask, because there is no central information source that answers a member’s question and makes the question and answer available to all credit union employees and members.

The key to saving money, while improving the member service experience, is providing the right answer to a question the first time it is asked by a member, and never having to research an answer to that same question twice.

In a multi-channel delivery environment, credit unions must focus on their primary strengths: outstanding customer service, fair pricing, and a sincere intention to educate their members about the products and services that are truly best for their individual and family circumstances. As products and services offered by credit unions continue to expand, member support and education must stay ahead of the curve to maximize the customer service proposition. This is where the Internet can enable credit unions to provide the level of member service and education that will allow them to truly leverage their competitive advantage, without requiring an expensive expansion of their branch or technology infrastructures. This new digital support channel provides a cost effective means to provide members and employees with the information they want, when they want it…. consistently…. regardless of delivery channel… every time.

The remainder of this article paper is focused on defining how credit unions can utilize technology to develop a digital support channel to better serve their members.


Six components of an effective digital support channel.

I. Make it easy to get information about your products and services.

Try going to your credit union’s website and quickly determine if your credit union offers international wires, and what the wire instructions and fees are. How long did it take you? If it took longer than 30 seconds, forget it. A member would have already picked up the phone, and is using that very expensive channel to get the information they should have been able to get within 15 seconds using your web site. You must make it easy for your members to quickly understand all the products and services you offer.

II. Provide broad and dynamic unbiased personal finance information and tools.

People like to be in control. They like to make their own decisions, but can only do so if they possess sufficient knowledge relevant to the decision. As credit unions, one of your primary goals is to ensure that your members have access to personal finance information, supporting tools for decision making, and the necessary products and services. You have a trusted relationship with your members, and you must provide the necessary unbiased financial knowledge that will enable your members to be in control.

III. Make it easy to use your products and services.

While operating in one channel, the last thing your members want to do is go to another channel to get support. Make it easy for your members to utilize and get support for your products and services and they will come!

V. Make it easy for your staff to support your products and services.

Today’s credit unions are much more complex than they were ten years ago.

Credit unions have multiple delivery channels, multiple product lines, and various business partnerships to provide members with alternative financial services, including investments and insurance. A cornerstone of customer service is the ability for your staff to answer a question correctly, quickly, every time, regardless of delivery channel. This level of customer service can only be achieved if there is an information repository for the employees, which provides all of the answers right at their fingertips.

V. Provide responsive and secure channels for asking questions and getting answers.

In today’s around-the-clock society, consumers are no longer content to wait for traditional business hours to get customer service. The key is to provide seamless customer support channels that can quickly and securely respond to your members’ needs. In the new millennium, response time is 50% of the customer service battle. Position your institution to win the customer service war by being responsive 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

VI. Integrate all support channels.

When a member contacts you in a branch, on the phone or through the web, not only do they expect consistent answers, but they also expect that they won’t have to repeat their question or scenario multiple times. A member should not have to search for the employee he/she talked with originally to get a resolution to the question. Therefore, you must ensure that all of your staff who support members and delivery channels have access to a real-time issue resolution tracking system. These staff members should be able to see a chronological sequence of discussions and actions related to each incident, whether it be a simple question or a more detailed issue, so that each staff member is enabled to further the resolution with the member.

Conclusion: The credit union community has built its reputation on serving its members. As the credit union industry becomes more complex, the credit union must find ways to decrease service response times, maintain consistency of information across all channels, and have the information available at any time in order to serve the diverse needs of its membership. By achieving these customer service axioms, the credit union industry will empower both its members and staff to create an information repository agile enough to handle the self service requirements of the electronic delivery channel users, and friendly enough to give a employee the answer he/she needs, with the click of a mouse. Regardless of who is receiving the answer, the end result is a satisfied member.

PART II : Find out how Fuze Digital Solutions can help create an effective digital support channel by clicking here.