Increasing member engagement is no easy feat. With hyper-personalization across so many people’s day-to-day experiences, whether it’s Netflix’s personalized show recommendations or Amazon’s curated homepage of product suggestions based on purchase history, the bar has been set high for credit unions as they seek to offer great, personalized experiences. The truth is, people are starting to expect these types of experiences across every industry and every business. Add in the acceleration of digital transformation, and you’ve got an endless list to consider if you want to keep up with member expectations.
What can you do to increase member engagement? Since engagement is about taking a proactive approach, credit unions should look for ways to build meaningful connections with members and to continuously improve upon the experiences they provide.
To get started with a credit union member engagement strategy, we’re sharing ways you can measure and increase engagement to drive member loyalty and member retention:
Indicators to measure and increase member engagement
There are a variety of ways to measure and increase engagement, and could be dependent on your product and service offerings. Overall, it’s best to look at metrics that show how active your members are, how many products they have with you, and how many referrals you receive. Some metrics to measure include:
What percentage of members have an active checking account?
What percentage of members have an active savings account?
How many members have mortgages?
How many members have lines of credit or loans?
What percentage of members have at least two products? More than two products?
How many new member referrals do you receive?
How many members have an active online account?
How many members engage with your emails?
How many members follow you on social media?
What percentage of members take your feedback surveys?
This is a general, high-level list to consider, but all of these key metrics can make up an overall key performance indicator (KPI) that your team uses to regularly track engagement. Some of these metrics might be more important to your credit union than others, so be sure to measure what matters most for your team.
Creating a strategy to increase member engagement
People choose credit unions because the member benefits typically include access to more customized products, higher interest rates on savings accounts, lower borrowing costs, and reduced fees. There are several other reasons why people choose credit unions, such as a commitment to their community, but what matters most is continuously showing members why they chose your credit union in the first place. And this is why building an effective member engagement strategy matters.
According to the Credit Union Innovation Index, 21.9% of members would consider switching to more innovative financial institutions. As members look for more ways to engage with their credit unions, it’s important to adapt, meet new demand, and provide the best experiences possible. Here are some best practices on how to increase member engagement:
Transparency and clear communication
Clearly communicating in every aspect of your business is vital to ensure more engaged members. Transparency plays a huge role in this as well. As mentioned, many members choose credit unions for the low fees, high-interest saving accounts, low interest rates, and how involved they are in helping their local communities. So be sure to always be upfront and clear about your rates, your product offerings, what you’re doing in the community, and what you’re doing to make members' lives easier.
There is a variety of ways to communicate with your members, so make sure to keep them updated across it all:
On your website
On your social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Through one-to-one outreach from your employees
During one-to-one appointments
Through targeted, direct mailings
And more… If there’s something changing or something your members need to know, don’t wait to communicate! There’s nothing more important when it comes to building trust, creating deeper relationships, and increasing engagement than being transparent and having open communication with your members.
Holistic strategy to improve the member and employee experience
There are several ways to improve the member experience. Sometimes the smallest things can have the largest impact. But one of the most critical aspects that sometimes credit unions forget about is just how connected the member experience and employee experience are.
By improving the employee experience, you will also increase employee engagement. This means creating a work culture where employees are passionate about their work - where they take pride in helping your members find financial peace of mind.
Engaged employees are more likely to reach out to check in on members and be sure your credit union’s services are meeting their needs. They are more likely to recommend additional products and services that can help your members. They are more likely to be empathetic in their interactions with members. This increased engagement translates to happier, more loyal members, which is why having synergy between the employee and member experience is key.
Enable hybrid banking
There’s no doubt about it - today’s members are looking for easy, seamless, and convenient banking experiences. Giving members a way to choose how they interact with you also shows that you are empathetic to their needs. By meeting each member’s unique needs through a variety of banking channels, your credit union can ensure you are doing what you set out to do: helping guide members to a better financial future.
The goal is to provide the right interaction option at the right time. This could be a chatbot, this could be an in-person appointment, this could be a self-serve digital banking experience, this could be connecting with an employee virtually through a remote video appointment - whatever the channel, members have a variety of needs and want to bank on their terms. By enabling these interactions through technology, your credit union can be there when your members need you most.
Want to learn more about enabling hybrid banking at your credit union? Download the eBook, “The rise of hybrid banking” to learn more about how you can provide the hybrid banking experiences your members want.
Conduct regular member surveys and create an advisory group for feedback
A consistent touchpoint is to send out regular surveys to gather member feedback. Taking this feedback and finding quick ways to make improvements, as well as making more long-term strategies, will show your members you truly care.
This is also a great way to gather more in-depth feedback from particular members. You can reach out to current members who provide useful feedback and ask for a one-to-one time to gather additional insight on how to improve. What’s more, you could create a member advisory group that meets in a regular cadence to gather consistent feedback from your most engaged members.
An important thing to remember is that almost every business your members are interacting with are asking for feedback too - after every service they receive, after every interaction with a customer service representative, after every event they attend - so make it personal, and be transparent about the changes you’re implementing that have come directly from member feedback so they know it’s a valuable use of their time.
Drive personalization through data
A recent report from BAI Banking Outlook shows that two thirds of financial services organizations “sometimes” or “infrequently” use customer data. Member engagement is personal, and data empowers you to create unique member journeys. In fact, there’s no better way to proactively engage members than to personalize their experiences at every point in their journey.
A data-driven approach to membership engagement ensures you are sending the right message at the right time, and making your members feel heard and cared for. By leveraging the power of data, your organization can continue to adapt their strategies across digital and physical touchpoints, providing the hybrid, personalized experiences members are looking for.
In the end, member engagement matters because it leads to long-term member loyalty, and can bring in new members through referrals. Additionally, it gives you multiple opportunities to continue to improve your engagement tactics and stay true to your mission of empowering your members and improving your community.
Want to learn more about improving the member experience and increasing engagement? Check out these resources:
How to cater to the human element of banking (podcast episode + recap) - with Thomas Novak, VP/Chief Digital Officer at Visions Federal Credit Union
At JRNI, we help credit unions drive engagement while delivering exceptional service. JRNI helps schedule and manage in-person and virtual appointments that provide personalized, one-of-a-kind experiences. Learn more about JRNI for Credit Unions here. Additionally, watch the video below to learn how Visions Federal Credit Union quickly surpassed their appointment booking goal after implementing JRNI as a way to improve their member experiences:
About the author
The JRNI team is made up of product, customer, and technical experts who are focused on driving personalized experiences - for our customers, and for theirs. The JRNI blog enables us to dive into how retail and financial organizations can use personalized experiences to grow profitability, build stronger customer relationships, and drive customer loyalty.
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