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Written by Cyndie Martini
on July 12, 2016

Knowing the most current trends in the financial services industry is crucial for credit unions to remain and continually be relevant. According to Payments Industry Intelligence, one of the key trends for 2016 is adopting an omni-channel approach to banking.

An omni-channel strategy involves allowing members to access credit union services from a variety of channels, including a website, a mobile app, social media networks and physical branches. It should also include ways for the credit union to gather data from all available sources.

Building an omni-channel strategy

Creating a truly omni-channel approach takes time and careful resourcing. Payments Industry Intelligence pointed out that many financial institutions are cross-channel, which means they utilize several different methods to connect with members, but aren't necessarily omni-channel. This is because they lack synchronization across channels.

OnApproach, a data consulting company, pointed out that the first step to building a strong omni-channel strategy is to have a trusted online presence. Members research nearly every important decision they make online, and that includes shopping for the best rates for loans or savings accounts, and searching for the credit union with the best customer service and most options. Be sure you can be easily found online. Your credit union should have active, engaging social media networks, as well as a functional, easy-to-understand website.

People are relying on their phones to accomplish tasks they used to have to do in person. They expect to be able to access anything they can with their computer through their phone. Consumers also expect the mobile experience to be just as seamless as the desktop-based online experience. Be sure your mobile app is easy to understand and provides a wide assortment of features.

Credit Union Magazine pointed out that it is important everything be convenient and consistent. Members should be able to begin processes using one channel, and have the option to save and complete them using another.

"... It makes sense to provide anytime, anywhere access to our members' accounts," Walter Cunningham, the senior vice president and chief retail officer at Sacramento-based Golden 1 Credit Union, explained, according to Credit Union Magazine. "We want to build relationships with our members, and digital channels afford us the opportunity to extend that relationship."

Strengthening all modes of communication

Sometimes, it may seem as though mobile is overtaking all other modes of communication between a credit union and its members. However, this is not the case. Credit Union Magazine noted that even though many people prefer to connect with credit unions online or through a mobile app, the physical branch is still very much essential.

All employees should have brand training to know how to interact with members, and have information about various products and services offered by the credit union. They also should be knowledgeable about how to utilize online and mobile channels to benefit the member.

"It's very important that members interact with their credit unions in a personal, direct way," Mark Sievewright, Fiserv's president of credit union solutions, said to Credit Union Magazine."The good news is that we'll continue to see branch-based interactions move away from just transactions—such as depositing a check or withdrawing cash—to interactions that center more on sales, service, and problem-solving."

When all channels work together to produce a cohesive message and consistent services, members are able to access their financial needs however and whenever they want. To accomplish this goal, it's important for credit unions to envision what they want their member experience to be like, then determine the path they need to take to get there. This will result in an easy, hassle-free member experience that all credit unions should strive for today.

 

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