Achieving High ROI with e-Mail

Many credit unions are turning to e-mail as the delivery channel of choice for account-related notifications, alerts, and promotions. But if your e-mail program takes lots of manual work to administer, the potential benefits can quickly erode.

 

By USERS INCORPORATED - A FISERV CONNECTION

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Many credit unions are turning to e-mail as the delivery channel of choice for account-related notifications, alerts, and promotions. But if your e-mail program takes lots of manual work to administer, the potential benefits can quickly erode. US Airways Federal Credit Union (Moon Township, $612 million, 80,000 members) is avoiding that problem by using software that automates e-mail management – driving down labor and material costs, while delivering the convenience members expect. And with a fast payback of less than six months, US Airways FCU has achieved a high ROI in the process.

A Better Way
“E-mail is a tremendous supplement to our Internet banking services, so it’s factoring into our plans more and more,” says Lisa Fitz, Internet Services Manager. In a survey, US Airways FCU’s mobile, tech-savvy membership indicated a strong interest in receiving e-mail from the credit union.

But managing the effort proved labor-intensive and costly. Member e-mails were managed in a separate Microsoft Outlook database that required manual maintenance and forced large e-mail batches to go out overnight, to avoid taxing the mail server. When some e-mails inevitably bounced back, staff members had to sort through pages of reports to find them, then make several attempts to contact members for valid addresses.

Eager to leverage the value of e-mail, US Airways FCU implemented an e-mail services software solution from its core processor, USERS. The software automates the management and delivery of member e-mail, eliminating time-consuming and costly manual work.

Using the e-mail services solution, US Airways FCU has eliminated the separate database and can now issue mass e-mailings any time of day, without impacting system performance. More importantly, the software has eliminated the labor needed to manage addresses. Because it’s fully integrated with USERS’ core system, the e-mail services solution flags a bad address and prompts the core system to “ask” for a valid one at the next interaction. If it’s an in-branch transaction, the system will prompt the staff to ask for an e-mail; if the next transaction takes place via USERS’ PCU Internet Banking, the system will prompt the member for a valid e-mail while logging in. “It’s greatly reduced the manpower needed and taken the burden off our Electronic Services staff,” says Fitz.

A Strong ROI
e-Mail Services has facilitated several successful e-mail promotions at US Airways FCU – including a highly effective skip-a-payment offer. Select members received an e-mail offering to skip their December 2003 loan payment, and 2,300 took advantage. The software helped in two ways: by eliminating the cost of a printed piece and allowing members to respond online, cutting call volume in half. “The response was phenomenal,” says Marketing Manager Lisa Weber. Members appreciated the chance to skip a payment at the holidays, while the credit union took in a fee of $10 for each loan payment skipped and earned the additional interest that accrued on $800,000 in skipped payments.

Building on initiatives like these, US Airways FCU implemented the new e-Lerts feature of e-Mail Services. Now, any member with an e-mail on file automatically receives real-time e-mail notifications of PIN, address or password changes – a fast, efficient way to confirm security-related activity. The software also automates e-mail notification of statement availability for the 4,000+ members who’ve opted in for e-statements.

Starting in June, US Airways FCU will take advantage of the software’s Personal e-Lerts feature. “Our members can ask to be notified when a particular check clears or when their account balance drops below a certain level, for example,” Fitz explains. The service should reduce call volume – just one reason US Airways FCU will promote it using e-Mail Services. “The Personal e-Lerts feature is just another reason why we want to encourage those members to provide an e-mail address,” she says.

US Airways FCU will continue to roll out new e-mail uses with value for the credit union and members. “We’re about to implement e-mail notifications within USERS’ WebLoan online lending system, and we hope to adopt e-mail delivery of NSF and overdraft notices,” Fitz says. “e-Mail Services gives us many opportunities.”

For more information about USERS’ e-Mail Services or other technology solutions for credit unions, visit www.users.com or call 1-800-523-7282.

 

May 24, 2004


Comments

 
 
 
  • Where is the ROI calculation? How much did the software cost and how many person hours did they save?
    Anonymous
     
     
     
 
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