When it comes to self-service, your members today expect a speedy, seamless experience at every digital touchpoint. While the personnel you hire remain the warm, friendly face of your credit union branch, your self-service channels also provide a rich member experience that engages and empowers them, and frequently sits squarely in their comfort zone.
“The world is quickly migrating to a self-directed and self-service means of doing business,” said Sarah Bang, Chief Strategy Officer for CO-OP Shared Branching. “Kiosks today can help you set up your home computer system from miles away, or purchase luxury items 24/7 from high-tech vending machines. And there are apps for ordering food, scheduling appointments and downloading movies. These platforms all offer unbeatable service in two very important ways – they are convenient and they are consistent.”
According to Bang, convenience represents just one of many reasons your members so often choose self-service. Consistency is one of the many reasons credit unions offer them.
“Consumers frequently prefer self-service, as long as it is intuitive,” she said. “They don’t want to have to read instructions every time they step up to a machine or launch a mobile app.”
Banking at the Speed of Mobile
According to Nathan Rogers, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, for CO-OP Financial Services, simplicity and convenience are the hallmarks of a top-notch self-service experience. However, there are additional reasons consumers gravitate toward these platforms.
“Consumers appreciate self-service for its efficiency – and they expect it to operate at the speed of mobile,” he said. “Apple has written the rulebook for self-service, with iPhone transactions that are uniform, well explained, simple, smooth – and always quick.”
Bang notes that studies show many consumers like the privacy of a machine, especially where their finances are concerned. “This is especially true when there is some level of embarrassment involved,” she said. “For example, if a member can make a late loan payment at the kiosk without having to face a teller, they frequently will select the self-service channel.”
Addressing Self-Service Challenges
To deploy self-service well, Rogers advises credit unions ensure as much functionality as possible across all channels.
“Many of your members will expect to accomplish everything from a smartphone or laptop that they can do in the branch, and they want the experience to be easy and consistent across all channels,” he said.
Delivering self-service at this level can present challenges, Rogers adds.
“This is where organizations such as CO-OP can assist,” he said. “Credit unions that lack the staffing and other resources to deploy and support new, emerging self-service technologies can partner with us, for example, to leverage our CO-OP Connect platform, which offers end-to-end support of transactions across mobile, online, ATM, full-service and shared branching channels – all through a single interface. With CO-OP Connect, credit unions don’t have to manage multiple vendors and platforms themselves, and they can still provide a full-featured, enticing self-service experience for members.”
Rogers also cites CO-OP’s extensive offering of APIs as a unique advantage for credit unions. “With the CO-OP API Suite, credit unions can deploy individual features of our products and integrate them into their existing systems,” he said. “This saves time and money, and allows members to enjoy extended functionality across self-service channels that are already familiar to them.”
To make the most of a credit union’s investment in self-service, he emphasizes the important role full-service plays.
“The member is always comforted in the branch when a full-service employee is there to provide assistance with the technology,” he said. “Outside the branch, the same goes for your digital offering. If a member has a mobile banking issue Saturday night, that member will expect to access your call center immediately for help – not Monday morning.” Which is why, Rogers adds, CO-OP offers 24/7 call center support services for credit unions.
“If I were a credit union CEO today, I would be very concerned that my members and guest members felt valued in every channel,” said Bang. “And I would apply the same kinds of strategies for self-service platforms that I apply to any other aspect of the member experience. When managed well, self-service channels are great tools of convenience for members, and valuable resources for credit unions in their quest to create a warm and welcoming experience for members.”