As consumers today, we have an attention deficit challenge and are striving to fill every empty moment of our time with content and engagement. In fact, consumers now spend on average two hours and 57 minutes a day on mobile devices, checking in with smartphones and tablets 180 times before putting them away for the night.
This dynamic is impacting how consumers think, behave and interact with others – and how they engage with financial institutions as well. With communication increasingly moving through mobile and digital channels – and these platforms advancing at the speed of light – what can we learn?
1. About the Market…
CO-OP continuously evaluates market, technology and consumer behavior trends. What we know about consumers in this digital age is that, above all, they value experience. According to research, 78 percent of millennials would choose to spend money on an experience over a product. Across all generations, consumer spending on experiences over products has increased by 70 percent in the last three years.
But, there is also a growing impatience among consumers for experiences that are poorly executed. The bottom line is that credit unions have one chance to make a first impression – and frequently today that impression is made online or via a mobile device.More than ever, it is essential for credit unions to keep a close eye on technological advancements.
2. About Members…
Mobile and digital channels have taught consumers that they can order up anything they want, exactly the way they want it – and receive it on demand. As a result, members today expect instant gratification and flawless utility from everything you do.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the consumer bond with mobile and digital platforms transcends generations. Consider that 45- to 54-year-olds adopt digital technology at the pace of digital natives, and that the majority of gamers are women over the age of 44. Demographics are no longer our best predictor of member behavior.
Consumers today expect to be treated as individuals. Accordingly, your credit union should be designing a product mix that is personalized, nurtures connections with members, and recognizes their differences in lifestyle and values. This approach is known as human-centered design, and it is powerful.
3. About Payments…
What consumers expect from payments is also changing, and competition in this pivotal market is now coming from everywhere. The top 10 most innovative payments companies today are not payments companies at all, and include the likes of Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon and Facebook. Tokenization, Uber-style payments and real-time money movement are no longer novelties, but are now part of the payments landscape.
With the payments market moving so quickly, it can be difficult for credit unions to know exactly when and how to act. What we do know is this: to remain innovative – and viable – in the future, credit unions have to make strategic investments in those advancements that will keep them competitive and relevant to members down the road. Ultimately, payments should be woven into the fabric of the member experience. And, like everything mobile, they must be fast and seamless.
4. About Branches…
Branches should play a key role in your overall digital strategy – and vice versa. New mobile and digital technologies can help credit unions gain efficiencies in the branch to create better experiences for both employees and members.
At the same time, there is tremendous value in augmenting digital, mobile and self-service channels with the high-touch experience that only your employees can give. The most successful credit unions take a holistic approach to branch transformation that finds its roots in community, is forward thinking with regard to products and services, and considers the member experience at every touchpoint.
5. About the Future…
In the age of mobile, one challenge that we face as a movement relates to our legacy systems. Enhancing and updating these systems is of paramount importance to the future of your credit union – and especially to the success of your future mobile and digital initiatives.
While shiny new technologies, such as mobile payments, capture headlines and investments, the ability of these innovations to deliver on their promises is only as good as the engine driving them. Modernizing your legacy back-end systems can make all the difference in the way your members experience mobile – and can provide the seamless integration across products and channels you will need to facilitate a host of future innovations that have yet to be imagined.
When evaluating new products, remember to place high value on human-centered design. With this approach, you can better serve members with experiences that are intuitive and engaging, and in many cases that meet needs they didn’t even know they had.
Visit CO-OP’s Mobile/Virtual Resource Center to learn more about the credit union fintech landscape.