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Clicks and Bricks: The Effective Integration of Evolving Technology

11/07/2013


Credit unions are facing the dual challenge of improving the efficiency of brick and mortar branch networks while responding to rapid technology adoption by their members. The advent of smart phones, tablets and other portable devices means consumers have more flexibility and choice when it comes to where and how they shop, transact and otherwise manage their busy lives. That expectation extends to everyday banking.

Credit union members today expect a consistent and seamless experience whether they are making product and service comparisons online, carrying out transactions through a call centre, managing their account from a smart phone or visiting their financial advisor at the branch. Providing members with convenient access is one thing; making them feel as though they are being served by a representative who knows them, remembers their history and can anticipate their needs is quite another.

Ensuring functionality across multiple channels depends on core banking systems and integrated technology. Helping members feel like they are known, valued and understood – no matter where or how they access service – requires something more. Client Relationship Management (CRM) software and database marketing tools can mean the difference between an adequate experience and one that is truly memorable. Smart deployment of member profiles and contact management systems across all channels can deepen relationships and build your brand. These innovations are already underway in many parts of the financial services industry, raising the bar for both credit unions and member expectations.

Successful execution of your multi-channel strategy depends on a clear articulation of the brand experience you want to create. Are the service attributes your members value when visiting a local branch consistent with their online or mobile experience? As members increasingly transact online and carry out comparative research before attending the branch for more complex advice or service, how are you managing the totality of that experience? Your virtual branch is an extension of your physical network, if not your biggest and most important in terms of routine access. Thinking of service channels as connected to a single brand experience — rather than separate and distinct — contributes to a boosted brand perception and more engaged members and visitors.

As credit union leaders grapple with an ever-expanding universe of delivery options, it can be difficult to harness their full potential. Limited resources, current capabilities and the competitive environment must be carefully weighed prior to moving forward. A multi-channel strategy that leverages your distinctive brand and preserves a tradition of service excellence, while not without its complexities, is capable of delivering unmatched appeal and member loyalty.

MNP has extensive experience providing accounting and business consulting services to more than 100 credit unions across Canada. Recognizing this is a time of opportunity for credit unions, MNP has a dedicated credit union services team that delivers service specifically designed to help credit unions achieve their goals. MNP’s credit union specialists provide strategic advice in Assurance, Taxation, Enterprise Risk Management, Corporate Governance, Consulting, Investigative & Forensic Accounting, and more.