Live chat is now the most popular customer service channel, and it’s not hard to see why. According to Invesp, live chat is by + Read More
Today’s credit unions have to contend with an incredibly difficult challenge – finding the balance between online access and human interaction. They need to offer the convenience of self-serve solutions, while providing personalized support and human experiences. In our digital-first world, live chat serves as the perfect solution to achieve this.
In this blog, we’ll look at the four top reasons why credit unions need to offer live chat services in 2022, from improving member experience to gaining member insights.
It’s important to begin by looking at how digital channels improve the experience of credit union members. As members migrated toward digital channels out of necessity throughout 2020 and 2021, new habits formed, and the convenience of digital services became apparent. With that said, studies show that there is still major room for growth, with opportunities for financial services organizations to differentiate based on the digital experiences they provide.
The Deloitte Center for Financial Services conducted a survey of digital banking in March 2021 that speaks to the shifts happening among banking customers. One-third of survey respondents agreed that they are using digital banking channels much more now than pre-pandemic. Interestingly, although the survey speaks to the convenience of digital technologies, it also highlights the needs of banking customers that impact how people connect.
While people value the speed and convenience provided by digital banking channels, they still seek human interactions in a variety of services. Due to the often-sensitive nature of transactions with financial institutions, these individuals look for empathy in their service that cannot be provided by automated transactions like mobile apps.
Deloitte’s findings speak to the significant opportunity that financial organizations have when digitizing traditionally in-person services:
“Humanizing chatbots, and other digital interactions, and providing faster resolution to consumers’ issues, whether they are disputing a transaction, reporting a lost or stolen card, or reporting fraud, is going to be important in making digital banking behaviors stick.”
For credit unions looking to expand digital services in 2022, these kinds of high-value interactions with members are where live chat with human agents can excel. For an example of the positive experiences provided by live chat for credit union members, we can look to Cabrillo Credit Union’s implementation of Comm100 Live Chat.
Cabrillo Credit Union introduced live chat to ensure that they’re staying relevant to members while providing an alternative communication channel to phone support. Since its introduction, growth of live chat has seen growth year-on year and has now been incorporated into their online banking platform. With the average wait time of live chat at 15 seconds compared to 45-50 seconds for phone, it’s easy to see why the popularity of live chat is growing among members.
Kelli Davis of Cabrillo Credit Union can speak to the humanizing ability of live chat:
“Live chat can be very personal. Often people think you can’t engage the same way you can on the phone, but you can. It’s fun, members like it, and you just have to not be afraid to engage and put a little humor or happiness into someone’s day through the written word.”
These key ingredients of live chat services for credit unions – its convenience and its ability to humanize digital services – will see continued adoption by credit union members in 2022 and beyond.
Recommended Reading: Transforming the Financial Services Client Experience with Chat and AI
Understanding that live chat provides members with a better experience leads us into the next reason why credit unions need to adopt live chat – member engagement. With more financial services being offered digitally than ever before, banking options have increased, and credit unions need to respond by improving member engagement through digital services.
In PwC’s 2021 Digital Banking Consumer Survey, they highlight the changing relationship between banking customers and financial service providers. Financial services organizations are increasingly seeing customers move away from the need for physical branch locations to meet their needs. PwC labels these consumers as “phygital”, meaning that they’re actively supported by both digital and physical branch services. As these phygital users have increased to 25% from 17% a year ago, branch-dependent individuals have decreased to 35% from 42% the year prior.
With members less reliant on physical branch locations, credit unions are increasingly seeing the need to adopt digital channels to remain relevant. Affinity Credit Union’s introduction of Comm100 Live Chat for members is a great success story in digital engagement.
With their members seeking online channels for communication, Affinity looked to live chat as a way of connecting with younger members:
“We thought we should really have the ability to chat with our customers through our website. Our younger generation – how they communicate is through text – to them that’s talking! This is a way to communicate with our members, and the more ways we give them to communicate with us the better we feel we are at keeping a solid relationship.”– Colette Branigan, Affinity Credit Union
With Comm100 Live Chat in place, Affinity’s members have new ways to connect, using live chat for everything that they would have previously called in for. Contact Centre Manager, Patti Lopinski, said of live chat that “It all makes a difference…they can ask a question and get an answer right away.”
Besides providing new ways for credit unions to engage members and offer new services, one of the key reasons to adopt live chat in 2022 is for the valuable insights that it can provide. With live chat in place, credit unions can learn more about how and why members are reaching out and adjust services accordingly to be more responsive to changing needs.
In their 2021 article, Prediction: The future of CX, McKinsey & Company highlights the opportunities available for organizations to learn from customers through digital channels:
“Those with an eye toward the future are boosting their data and analytics capabilities and harnessing predictive insights to connect more closely with their customers, anticipate behaviors, and identify CX issues and opportunities in real time.”
With the opportunity to improve member services through live chat insights in mind, we can look at the example of Lake Michigan Credit Union’s implementation of Comm100 Live Chat. With half a million members across the United States, Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) is one of the largest credit unions in the country, with a strong focus on member experience.
Jasmina Duric, Manager of E-Services and Support Department at LMCU has spoken to the strong member response to the introduction of live chat:
“We’ve received nothing but positive responses. Members love the ease of being able to be anywhere and connect with us over chat instead of having to go into a branch or calling in. They really enjoy the convenience of live chat overall.”
With these positive member experiences following the implementation of live chat, LMCU met their objectives. The additional benefits of live chat came with the reporting features of Comm100’s platform, providing insights to continued improvement of member services, including monitoring chat quality, agent performance, and visitor satisfaction.
Over time, live chat reports have allowed LMCU management to compare agent performance during different time periods and identify key visitor pain points. With insights into wait times for visitors and how many chats are currently in the queue, live chat helped to improve member services. With this data in hand, LMCU can allocate team members and increase staffing to decrease wait times and abandoned chats.
We’ve looked at how live chat is good for member experience and for credit union member insights, but live chat also improves the agent experience. By reducing reliance on less efficient support channels, and with features available that are unmatched in traditional phone support, live chat offers support agents a better experience. As anyone who’s worked in customer service knows, happy support agents mean happy members for credit unions.
Credit unions introducing Comm100 Live Chat have raved about its ease of use and features for agents:
“Comm100 is easy to use, reporting is quick, the UI is sleek and modern, the upgrades are always changing for the better. We loved the canned messages responses and how easy the system is to use and upgrade.”– Veridian Credit Union
“We find it very user-friendly – all of my staff does. We’ve also done training for other departments for them to start using chat for certain things, and they’ve expressed that it’s very user-friendly. Some of the things that we really enjoy are canned responses – that’s something that we use probably most often in chat. The team also enjoys having private canned responses as well as group canned responses.”– Jasmina Duric, Lake Michigan Credit Union
The canned messages feature favored by Veridian and LMCU allows teams and agents to set pre-defined responses for greetings, frequently asked questions, and other common communications. Agents benefit from reduced typing and improved speed, and members benefit with quick, professional responses that are personable and friendly.
As credit unions expand digital services in 2022, the opportunities for live chat to enhance both agent and member experiences will only grow. Live chat gives agents the tools that they need to work smarter, not harder.
To see how your credit union can improve member engagement in 2022, book a demo to find out more about Comm100 Live Chat.