The importance of omnichannel customer service for credit unions

It sometimes seems weird to think that the launch of the first iPhone – what many people commonly think of as the “first” smartphone (at least in the way we think of smartphones today) – happened in 2007. In only 11 years, smartphones and digital messaging have revolutionized the way that people communicate and seek to do business on a daily basis. Nor has the pace of change been constant; if anything, consumer expectations around the need for digital customer service have been shifting at an accelerating rate.

The rise of the omni-digital banking consumer

Digital banking is on the rise, and consumers expect banks to meet their digital banking needs. A rapidly-growing number of banking consumers are using digital channels exclusively to handle banking transactions.

Some facts to consider:

  • 91% of consumers are banking digitally.
  • 46% of consumers bank exclusively via digital channels.
  • 60% of smartphone users use mobile banking in some way.

PwC, 2017

Unfortunately, the pace of digital transformation in the banking industry has lagged behind that of many other industries. While most banks and credit union offer digital banking for routine banking transactions, there is a fundamental mismatch between financial institutions’ self-assessments and actual customer experience: Only 21% of banks and credit unions plan to increase spending on digital CX by 10% or more. Further, more than half of retail banks and wealth management firms believe that they deliver excellent customer experience, but their customers don’t agree.

Fintechs emerge as the new challenger

The major advantage that credit unions have in a market crowded with options is their ability to consistently deliver superior customer experience. As a member-owned and operated institution, credit unions are able to create loyalty through customer experience excellence by delivering personalized service. However, increasingly customers are growing frustrated with the slow pace of change of the financial services industry, and they are more willing than ever to switch institutions if they find what seems to be a better option.

This widespread discontent has set the stage for the rise of fintechs – digital-first companies that have taken advantage of the unmet demand for digital banking technology. Companies like Stripe and PayPal have become market disruptors; consumers have become accustomed to being able to access their data and information from anywhere on any device.

So what can credit unions do to differentiate themselves in a market where they are feeling the squeeze between retail banks and fintechs? Invest in what they’ve always done best: delivering consistent, excellent, and personalized customer experience.

Stay competitive with digital customer care and CRM integration

Retail banks have the size and customer base to offer a wider range of products and flexibility than credit unions, which is why customer experience has always been the differentiator for credit unions. In order to keep that competitive advantage, credit unions need to implement omnichannel customer service to empower their members to receive support on the channel of their choosing.

The need to invest in new customer service platforms shouldn’t act as a roadblock, however! The fact is that true omnichannel customer service delivers both customer experience excellence and operational efficiency. Digital customer service is approximately 3 times more efficient than voice-based customer care. Not to mention that omnichannel customer service when integrated with a CRM gives agents a 360-degree view of each customer’s interactions across all channels. This allows you to increase rates of first call resolution, saving your employees time and averting the common customer frustration of having to explain their issue repeatedly.

To learn more about how ITC can empower your institution to deliver omnichannel customer service excellence, simply request a demo.

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About the Author: Anna Kreider