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I hear a number of concerns from credit unions today: external forces such as slowing loan growth, squeezed margins, evidence of compliance and financial regulation bills are challenging business as they look for new ways to drive growth. However, one force left off this list–while unassuming–is the most important to the future of your business. It’s competition for today’s consumer. The evolution of technology is fundamentally changing the way consumers want to interact and is creating competition in places that never before existed. The good news: Within this new consumer class lies great opportunity for those that can capture their attention. The bad news: Today, you can lose your member’s loyalty at the push of a button. How can credit unions position themselves to stand out? Consider this consumer’s interaction:
Bob wakes up. His phone displays an SMS text reminder from his local florist: “Sue’s birthday is tomorrow. Last year, you ordered the medium bouquet. Upgrade your bouquet and receive 20% off.” He taps yes and completes the transaction. The florist automatically emails him a copy of his receipt that includes a promotional offer for a nice bottle of wine at the new local restaurant. He checks out its website and then tweets a message to see if anyone recommends it. Many do. He quickly goes to the link on his receipt and reserves a table–redeeming his offer. The next day, when Bob and Sue arrive, their table has a note wishing Sue a happy birthday. After leaving the restaurant, he tweets about the great experience he had and sends out the restaurant’s link.
Today, you can lose your member’s loyalty in mere seconds and with the push of a button. The window from the time a consumer gathers information to the point at which the consumer makes decisions has become exponentially smaller. Credit unions once competed for the loyalty of your members against banks and other financial institutions. Now, you must compete with every other business that is setting the bar ever higher with a digitally empowered consumer experience.
Thankfully, your solution is rooted in what you have always done: think about your member first. However, to be relevant to this new empowered consumer, you will need to leverage technology to achieve your goals.
There are two concepts I’d like to introduce. One is about preference and the other is about presence.
Preference is “What do you know about me?” “Do you know my age?” “Do you know whether I like to talk to a person or do it myself?” “Do you know what I’ve bought from you in the past?”
Presence is “Where am I at this moment?” “Am I currently in the car going to my son’s football game?” “Am I going to work?” “Am I at work?”
At the intersection of presence and preference you will find your member’s lifestyle. Can you cater to my lifestyle at 6 a.m. on the train while I am on the way to the office? Can you meet my needs at 6 p.m. when I’m on the bleachers at my son’s football game? Or when I am on the beach on vacation? Can you be there too?
Credit unions must master these two concepts–preference and presence–if they are going to continue to retain and attract members.
Consumers have grown accustomed to companies such as Amazon and e-Trade that offer instant gratification and can meet their needs 24/7–wherever they are. Credit unions need to ensure that they are offering fast, efficient, multichannel flexibility with numerous, alternative ways to make simple transactions, like deposit checks–at the branch, at the ATM, at home, at business and commercial locations.
The ability to offer banking that saves time, like intelligent deposit ATMs or online scheduling vs. something they have to work around is key.
Are you providing your members with personalized information that is relevant to their particular lifestyle? While they may have unlimited access and seek to inform themselves first, your members are looking to you to provide them with the most valuable products and solutions that are most relevant to their particular needs.
Imagine the power of using your own technology to be highly accessible, highly available and have the right conversations. At NCR, we like to call this CxBanking–or consumer experience banking. It’s banking that offers a seamless, converged channel experience that meets your members wherever they are, caters to their preferences and delivers value by offering solutions that are relevant to their individual lifestyle.
We can learn lessons from a variety of industries on how to deliver value to the digitally empowered consumer. Doctors’ offices prepare for patient appointments thanks to online self-scheduler software.
Airlines are helping time-starved consumers bypass check-in lines by delivering their boarding passes directly to their phones. Can your members use their mobile phones to bank with you? Grocery stores are putting DVD kiosks outside their stores, so that customers can rent a movie whenever they want not just during business hours. How would your members respond if they could make and clear deposits at the ATM even after the credit union has closed? From flights to flowers, businesses everywhere are adapting to meet consumers at the intersection of their presence and preference. So can you.
Bill Nuti is chairman/CEO of NCR Corp.
Contact 212-589-8433 or firstname.lastname@example.org