Implementing E-Tactics Goes Way Beyond E-Technology (Part
This is the second in a series of articles dealing with the challenges
credit unions face in implementing and maximizing their "e"
delivery channel. In Part 1 the author introduced the concept that
implementing e-strategies is more than just buying a new gadget or
adding a new service. Click here
to read the first article in this series.
Right now nothing
is more in style than adding e-statement and e-marketing capabilities
to credit union e-channels. And for good reason. Postal rates continue
to climb, privacy issues are making members more aware of the risk
they take when private information is mailed to them, and paper
statements are considered almost a nuisance by members who do not
read them, want to store them, or diligently verify their credit
But what penetration
is your credit union looking for from its e-statement investment?
Will your e-marketing results compare favorably with other marketing
programs? What is the expected result from these changes? It's not
about the product you pick; it's about how you implement the solution
and how you conceptually sell the member on its value that will
give you the results you are looking for. Once again, some members
will jump in based on their belief in simply doing everything over
the 'Net. But what is the long-term value of the product, and can
you convince others to use it?
It all begins
with securing email addresses. But it might not be that easy. Which
credit union database will store the email addresses? Is this database
easily accessed by the statement provider? By your e-marketing department?
By your staff? Can members directly update their email addresses
at any time? Or will your staff have to key in the changes? Can
members easily change their email addresses in your other delivery
channels (lobby, drive-up, etc.)? Does the software you use to collect
email addresses effectively edit so that "garbage" data
is not being stored? All of these questions need to be answered
prior to selecting a product or vendor. Have you talked with your
CIO or IT department to determine the long-term management of this
process of getting email addresses into a usable format, how do
you convince members to even give you their email address? Are they
concerned about how you will use the address? Do members who do
not see the current value in e-statements and e-marketing have any
reason to give you their email address for the future?
unions are beginning to understand that they will have to "buy"
these addresses. By buy, I do not mean go out and buy a list from
a marketing firm like you would for a neighborhood direct mail project.
Rather, the credit union will have to invest both resources and
time to this effort for these new services to be a success. For
example, you might need to hold contests where each member who gives
an email address has the chance to win, or offer promotional rates
or discounts to members who participate in an email campaign. What
will your credit union do to build its potential market for these
products from within your current credit union membership? How long
before e-statements and e-marketing have a real chance to be a strategic
and core credit union tool?
After you have
the email address and a potential audience for your e-statements
and e-marketing efforts, there are still many questions that must
be answered. How will you get members to sign up for e-statements?
Through contests? Direct mailings? E-mailings? Will opting in for
e-statements automatically mean the member will no longer get a
paper statement? If you are not mailing a paper
will members get your other newsletters and marketing inserts? Will
you deliver e-statements monthly or just archive e-statements to
give the member a new storage tool? Are e-statements the best way
for members to reconcile their accounts? Many credit unions are
using interactive transaction analysis tools now as a substitute
efforts will require the same planning. If your email database is
not easily accessible for inquiry and data selection tasks, how
will the marketing department effectively build email contact lists
for specific products? What do members believe are valid reasons
to contact them via email? How do we avoid becoming a nuisance or
"spam" source in the eyes of our membership? Can these
efforts more effectively reach a proactive set of our member market?
In the end,
the credit union's entire team must be ready to work together toward
the success of both these products. Have you worked with the member
service team so that they will promote the e-channel as the credit
union's most effective account reconciliation tool? Will the credit
union change its service fees so that members who ask for statement
copies will be encouraged to receive their statements via the Internet
instead? Is the traditional marketer ready to promote email marketing
with the same level of content as other marketing programs?
As a full service data processing and home banking solution provider,
WESCO deals with the issues of implementing e-strategies for credit
unions every day. If you would like more information about how WESCO
answers the important questions raised in this series of articles,
please contact Randy Karnes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or Scott Page (email@example.com).
We are also interested in your ideas and comments!