In my experience, and likely in yours as well, consumer expectations regarding financial products and services are always growing. This seems to be particularly true when it comes to online, mobile and alternate channels, and is in many ways attributable to consumer exposure to technologies that are redefining how we conduct business, interact with others and generally live our lives.
Take, for example, the rise of “apps.” Ten years ago most consumers had probably never heard of an app. Today there’s an app for pretty much anything you want to do online or on a mobile device, including keeping track of your finances. Want to check your account balance? There’s an app for that. Deposit a check? There’s an app for that too.
Like all service delivery methods, apps come with their own challenges. In many cases, apps are written for one platform – such as the Apple iPhone or a Google Android device, each with their own virtual store filled with custom apps. In addition to these wildly popular devices there are many other types of smartphones, tablets and traditional computer desktops through which consumers expect to interact with their financial institutions.
For credit unions that want to deliver services to their members anywhere, anytime, across different channels, platforms and devices, this plethora of choice can be a huge headache. Apps written for one platform have to be rewritten to work on others, which can take up lots of time and resources and often slow time to market.
Does that mean that it is impossible to deliver consistent anywhere, anytime, any channel access? Not necessarily.
Companies are emerging that address the problems associated with device proliferation. Technology from Fiserv partner WorkLight, for example, enables an app to be written once and then quickly and efficiently optimized and deployed to run in multiple environments. This streamlines the development process, dramatically improves speed to market, and lowers the support burden.
This cross-platform application development capability allows credit unions to extend new and existing banking and payments functions to multiple environments beyond their traditional online or mobile presence, and is particularly useful for creating lightweight, single-purpose apps. Additionally, it affords credit unions the ability to reach members through more channels, including social network sites, tablets and smartphones. This is a key strategic consideration for credit unions as these alternate channels are the ones Gen Y and younger members use on a regular basis.
Emerging cross-platform application development tools will enable credit unions to get to market quickly with multi-channel, multi-platform applications, leading to improved services and customer experience, and likely boosting satisfaction and stickiness. In the quest to meet consumer’s every-increasing expectations, technology that enables credit unions to deliver anywhere, anytime access will be one of our biggest allies.
Scott Hess is vice president of consulting and innovations, Digital Channels, at Fiserv Inc.