Prices drive demand. That’s a given for gas, staple foods and even some luxury brands. But for financial services – mortgages and insurance, for example – most of us want more.
Recent research1 mirrors this understanding. Price is always relevant, but other elements are important too. Findings2 were that trust was a priority (42% of respondents), then rewards programs (36%), rates/price (34%), speed of transaction (32%), convenience (30%) and the quality of customer service (22%). Most people will consider a combination of these when choosing. Together they create a sense of value where price alone is no longer the deciding factor.
While the human element is vital, the key to meeting these needs lies in improving the quality of digital services. When systems work well, when they provide tailored services to individuals and offer good value, then the consumer is on your side.
Here, Credit Unions are ideally placed to benefit. As Not for Profits, they already score well on trust and rates. Growth in membership shows they’re doing something right: the market size of the Credit Unions industry in the US has grown 6.7% per year on average between 2017 and 2022, including 10.7% in 20223. However, opportunities remain, especially with creating the user-friendly digital environment.
At the heart of the digital experience is convenience. We’re used to running our lives on a smartphone or pc, or a combination of both. When we come across a service we can’t access online, we’ll probably look elsewhere. So, building a complete offering online, without losing in-branch service for that personal touch, is key to strong customer loyalty.
This is true even (or perhaps especially) for transactions like travel money for vacations and business travel. Making this convenient and reliable generates more business, especially if digital efficiencies help make the service competitive on price as well.
Money 4 Travel (from fintech specialists Essiell), for example, does exactly that. Members can order foreign currency cash securely from their smartphone or pc, with click & collect or home delivery. For the credit union, software sits neatly on existing systems, and its use is easily incorporated into branch routines. This short video explains how it works in more detail. An information pack and demo are also available.
By ensuring staff, software and systems behave together in a customer-centric offering, credit unions can build strong relationships with members. With those relationship in place, members will automatically look first to that favoured provider for their next transaction – even if the price is not the very lowest.
1 2023 Co-op CU Growth Outlook, May 3 2023
2 Shared at THINK 2023, in Tucson, Arizona. Reported on by Brock Fritz for the Credit Union National Association.