7 Ways to Improve Credit Union Member Engagement and Boost Profitability

Ira Brooker    June 4th, 2024

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The relationship between a credit union and its members is unique in the personal finance world. While features such as lower fees, greater convenience, and higher savings rates may bring people in, it is often the personalized service and deeper engagement that makes them loyal customers. The most effective credit union membership growth strategies place a strong emphasis on communications. Making the most of digital communications technology is key for any credit union aiming to grow its membership.

Why Is Boosting Member Engagement Important
for Credit Unions?

Credit unions differ from many other financial institutions because credit union members are both customers and owners of their institution. That means that the engagement and overall satisfaction of members has a large and direct effect on the continued success of the credit union. If a credit union wants to keep up with growth and turn a long-term profit in a highly competitive industry, its strategy needs to include initiatives for creating a positive member experience.

The fact is that fintech firms and big banks simply have more resources at their disposal than do most credit unions. With more funding and tech prowess, these larger organizations can offer digital experiences that the average credit union can’t. To keep pace in this competitive environment, credit unions need to develop distinctive value propositions that appeal directly to their members. For younger, more tech-savvy members, that means creating digital experiences that reflect their needs and wants.

3 Critical Missed Opportunities to
Increase Profitability in Your Credit Union

One reason that some credit unions tend to lag behind other financial institutions in creating customer engagement is that they’re targeting an older audience who they may assume prefers using older, more familiar communications and support systems. While it’s true that the average credit union customer in the U.S. is 47 years old, and that members over 65 tend to be the most loyal patrons, studies also show that those groups are ready and eager to embrace updated technology. 74% of all consumers say they want online options for everything that they can do in person or over the phone, with more than half of consumers over all age groups saying they prefer digital engagement opportunities.

With that data in mind, it becomes evident that modern credit unions need a strategy to boost their digital presence in order to keep high levels of member engagement. A few key credit union membership growth strategies include:

1. Make it Easy to Open an Account

Before people get engaged with your credit union’s content, they first have to become members. An automated CCM solution makes it much simpler for new members to open an account. Features such as automated document generation, self-service portals, and electronic signatures speed up the process and allow users to open a new account from any device. The convenience and efficiency of automation creates a strong first impression for incoming members, helping to improve both new acquisitions and retention rates for existing members.

2. Emphasize Security for Personal Info

Safety and security of personal data is front-of-mind for consumers in an era of rising data breaches and other cybercrime. Your CCM system can help put those concerns to rest by pulling user data from multiple sources and protecting that information via encryption. CCM automation also provides at-a-glance visibility into every step in your communications process, making it much easier to identify potential threats and fix gaps in security before they become larger problems. Continuous data security monitoring allows your team to adapt to cyberthreats as they evolve, keeping your members’ vital personal and financial data safe and secure.

3. Communicate Clearly During Challenging Times

The nature of a credit union means that you will sometimes be called on to assist members through some difficult personal and financial times. Navigating debt, unexpected job changes, major purchases, and other unpredictable life events is a frustrating and confusing prospect for most people. A flexible CCM platform that allows your credit union to easily send personalized communications and explain concepts such as debt consolidation and financial counseling helps to establish you as a trusted partner rather than simply a financial institution.

How CCM Software Supports
Member Engagement in Credit Unions

Just as credit union members tend to be older than customers of other financial institutions, so do the tools they’re using. While it’s true that credit unions may not always have the budget and resources of larger banks, relying on legacy systems will ultimately be more costly. Manual communications and outdated tools put credit unions at a competitive disadvantage while also frustrating members with slow and inaccurate communications.

Upgrading to a customer communications software solution allows a credit union to consolidate systems and automate routine tasks. That leads to smoother, more efficient operations that require less training and troubleshooting. That means heightened productivity, increased employee satisfaction, fewer compliance concerns, and more effective communications and services for members.

7 Ways to Improve Credit Union Member Engagement with CCM Software

1. Say Goodbye to Paper and Embrace Fully Digital Communications

Most businesses began moving away from a paper-based workflow a while ago, but paper still has a place in many credit unions. A paperless, automated system helps drive credit union member engagement by making it easy to instantly track all of your communications and touch points. When human errors, bottlenecks, and other issues arise, the visibility provided by an automated CCM solution makes it simple to pinpoint points of failure, creating a faster, more accurate communications process.

A more digital approach can be a way to connect with younger consumers, who tend to be more tech-savvy than the average, older-skewing credit union member. For an audience accustomed to handling most transactions online, paperless communications can be a solid incentive that puts your credit union on an even playing field larger banks and fintech firms.

There are numerous other benefits to moving away from paper as well. Automated solutions reduce spending on not just paper, but also office equipment such as printers, shredders, copiers, and the cost of maintenance on those devices. It

The insights afforded to your organization by an automated solution allow you to take stock of all communications and touchpoints, which in turn helps to identify bottlenecks and possible points of failure. That information is vital to both predicting customer issues before they arise and pinpointing customer needs before you reach out. That helps reduce the time and money spent dealing with those issues.

2. Make Credit Union Communications Omnichannel

Modern communications technology allows customers to access organizations from a number of different channels, and today’s customers expect a consistent experience across all of them. For example, a credit union member might click on a link in an email to sign up for a new service. 

That link would then take them to the credit union website to fill out an online form. If they have questions about some of the requirements, they can call a customer service line to speak to a representative.

An omnichannel communications system ensures that members receive the same experience across all of those channels. The representative in this case could reference the information the member has already provided online rather than requiring them to re-submit their data. 

This also allows users to move seamlessly between platforms and devices, offering the same experience on a mobile phone, a tablet, and a desktop computer. That level of convenience and consistency keeps members engaged and builds customer loyalty that boosts profitability.

Learn more about Omnichannel Communications

3. Use Data to Drive Credit Union Profitability

Data is one of the most valuable assets any modern organization can have, and an automated customer communications solution offers a powerful tool for gathering, storing, and analyzing member data. Automated software makes it easy to pull data related to member activities, demographics, and concerns. That offers deep visibility into the ways members really use your services and how you can improve their experiences.

Those data insights allow your credit union to track each customer’s journey and personalize communications to meet the needs of specific groups or even individual members. They also provide valuable information that can shape future communications campaigns, marketing strategies, and technological upgrades. That helps to grow your business by adopting a true customer experience mindset, which can boost revenues as much as 8% higher than less customer-focused competitors.

4. Use Personalized Communication to Boost Member Experience

Personalized service is everything in today’s competitive business landscape. Research shows that 80% of customers prefer a more personalized customer experience. That’s particularly true in an industry as personal as banking and finance, and even more so for credit unions. As a member-based business, a credit union needs to ensure that every member feels important and has their concerns heard. Personalized communications are an excellent step in making that value tangible to your members.

A CCM software solution makes personalizing communications quick and simple. The style and tone of each communication can be adapted for specific audiences, including accessible documents for members with disabilities and translations for non-native English speakers. Automated software seamlessly distributes documents via whatever platforms and channels customers prefer and makes it easier for members to provide feedback about their experiences. That adds up to a personalized communications strategy that builds loyalty and engagement.

Discover how to personalize communications with CCM software

5. Use Smart Documents to Boost Member Experience

Modern technology provides more avenues than ever before for providing credit union members with the experience they personally prefer. Creating interactive documents for customer-facing platforms allows customers to take a hands-on approach to their financial communications.

Clickable buttons and hyperlinks create shortcuts to key functions. Embeddable video and audio files, photo galleries, and PDF forms provide a more informative and stimulating communications experience. A channel-agnostic document design lets members easily navigate across channels and devices without losing functionality or having to re-enter their information.

Smart documents also provide an added incentive for younger, more tech-savvy customers to make the move to a credit union. Leveraging smart document technology allows your institution to build digital experiences like portfolio analyses, electronic signatures, automated application processing, and more. That kind of digital presence is a must for attracting new members in an increasingly online banking landscape.

Find out more about Smart Documents

6. Use Self-Service Features and Digital Forms to Empower Members

Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do for your members is to make it easier for them to help themselves. A CCM system including self-service features is a reliable way to empower credit union members. 

By giving them more control over their own data, you can assure your customers that their information is accurate and their specific needs are being met.

The hands-on experience created by self-service options and interactive digital forms gives members more control over what features and services they want to access. 

That also drives engagement by allowing more choices for personalization, which in turn benefits your data analysis. Self-service functions offer unique insights into your member’s preferences and behavior, helping you to tailor future communications to meet their needs.

7. Leverage Journey Mapping and Orchestration for Member Insights

Understanding how your members really use your credit union’s website and other online resources is crucial to providing them with the customer experience they need. Creating customer journey maps — visual representations of how customers interact with your brand — provides deep insights into how members come to your credit union, what their goals and needs for that relationship are, what causes members to leave, and other key indicators of credit union member engagement.

Automating CCM systems simplifies the process of tracking key metrics and milestones such as opening accounts, setting up direct deposits, visits to your branch, online and mobile banking transactions, loan applications, and more. That data can then be easily applied to create more personalized communications and to streamline existing communications processes to better reflect your member’s goals and preferences.

Find out more about Customer Journey Mapping

Boost Credit Union Member Engagement with MHC

A customer communications management software solution from MHC is an ideal way to increase credit union member engagement. Our software employs optical character recognition (OCR) to pull data from a variety of sources, allowing members to communicate via whichever channel they prefer. Omnichannel distribution makes it simple to deliver communications via any platform your members use. Intuitive personalization functions and data analytics help you tailor your messaging to connect strongly with your members in the tone and timeframes that work best for them.

Ready to find out more about MHC’s selection of automated CCM solutions? Contact us today to schedule a demonstration. One of our in-house CCM experts will be in touch to find out about your credit union’s specific goals and needs, in order to build a software solution tailor-made for your organization.

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Ira Brooker

Ira Brooker is a freelance writer and editor based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has been writing blogs and copy about software-as-a-service solutions for most of the past decade. Before exploring accounts payable and workflow solutions with MHC, he wrote about fields including cybersecurity, workforce management, online accessibility, audiology, retail sales, and much more. When he’s not doing business writing, he also indulges in writing fiction, journalism, arts criticism, and bar trivia.

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