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As financial institutions emerge from the disruption of the pandemic, credit unions find themselves in an interesting position. By all available metrics, this is a period of unprecedented growth for credit unions around the world. The World Council of Credit Unions recently reported a 29% global growth in CU membership year-over year.
With such growth, partly driven by raised bank fees, comes great opportunity to expand membership. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the ways credit unions can take advantage of this buoyant market by exploring four ideas to increase credit union membership.
Today’s financial customers demand speed and convenience through digital services, and credit unions are taking notice. Elissa McCarter LaBorde, President and CEO of the World Council of Credit Unions, attributes the recent growth of membership in credit unions to a focus on improved digital services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Clearly, to attract new members it’s important for credit unions to provide an outstanding digital member experience.
To deliver on this, credit unions are turning to live chat. Live chat gives credit unions an accessible and frictionless path to engage with potential members. Unlike phone support that comes with long wait times and frustrating IVR, live chat allows members to quickly reach out and receive the answer to their problem in real-time. Prospective and current credit union members also want to interact digitally. In CFI Group’s Credit Union Satisfaction Index (CUSI) survey, it was found that 81% of credit union members had visited their union’s website in the past 60 days. Moreover, 90% check their balance online or via their mobile app at least once a month, 71% to pay bills, and 68% to transfer funds.
Live chat is also incredibly easy to use and popular for all ages, as Cabrillo Credit Union experienced when they launched Comm100 Live Chat in 2021:
“It wasn’t much of a surprise to see the younger generations engaging first… but we are starting to see Baby Boomers learning the technology and using the chat. It does require some patience by our agents as they discover the technology, but our members appreciate it, and they love using it.” – Cabrillo Credit Union, Kelli Davis, Assistant VP of Member Support
The reasons for choosing a credit union over a traditional bank are numerous, but one component that often stands out is community involvement. Unlike banks, which profited over $147 billion in 2020, money deposited at a credit union stays in the community and can create real change through local reinvestment.
82% of credit union members say that it’s at least somewhat important to bank with an institution that contributes to the local community. On top of this, members who recall their union’s involvement in the community are two times more likely to recommend the credit union, compared to those who do not recall seeing involvement. For any credit union looking to increase membership, ideas to increase credit union membership should include a focus on local participation.
“Credit union members often have a direct connection to their credit union, so their relationship to the credit union is not just fiscal. As a result, members have high expectations from their credit union.” – Mark Galauner, Senior Insights Consultant, CFI Group
With this in mind, credit unions should do more to celebrate their community involvement if they want to attract future members. Historically, credit union employees have been significant contributors to local initiatives. In 2017, credit union employees contributed 302,035 volunteer hours to their communities. Celebrating these kinds of success stories can help credit unions to attract new members who highly value community involvement and contribution.
To attract new members, maximizing the opportunities for engagement is key. While live chat is an incredibly effective channel for member engagement, few credit unions can afford to provide live chat support 24/7. To continue member support even after agents are offline, chatbots can be introduced to handle a wide range of member inquiries and service requests without human intervention.
To provide their members with 24/7 support, Cabrillo Credit Union introduced Comm100 AI Chatbot in 2020. The chatbot manage members’ questions independently when agents aren’t online, opening the window to engagement. The chatbot proved popular among members and agents alike as members received 24/7 support with no wait times, while agent workloads were reduced.
“We love our chatbot. We were initially slightly nervous about it… so we started out with about 10% of incoming chats being answered by the bot. However, we soon saw the successes and where it needed correcting, and we now have it set managing about 30% of incoming chats.” – Kelli Davis, Cabrillo Credit Union
As credit unions seek new ideas to increase credit union membership, more and more are successfully turning to social media to increase engagement. Out of 430 banks surveyed, nearly 97 percent engage with their customers on Facebook.
Besides providing brand visibility online, social media presence allows credit unions to provide a support channel that their members want to engage with them on. This is especially true of Millennials who will compromise the majority of future credit unions members and should be a focus for every credit union acquisition strategy.
Offering another channel of communication to members may seem too resource-heavy. However, by using a digital omnichannel platform like Comm100, credit unions can connect their social media platforms to every other digital channel within one agent console. This means that whenever a query comes in, whether from Facebook, live chat or email, it is funneled into one platform. Say goodbye to platform switching!
To learn more about how to improve credit union member experience and explore ideas to increase credit union membership, take a look at our complete guide below.
Member engagement is the bedrock of any successful credit union. Read this complete guide to find out how you can take it up a level with digital support.Read more