As consumer expectations for exceptional experiences continue to push the envelope, the mobile channel is not the place for credit unions to cut corners when it comes to investing dollars, time, or energy. By making strategic investments, credit unions can optimize their mobile strategies and provide the services that today’s members have come to expect.
Researching Wants And Needs
With close to 12,000 financial institutions from which to choose, the competition for a share of consumers’ financial needs is fierce. Credit unions should continually invest in consumer research to understand how best to meet the needs of current and future members by simply listening to them. This can be done cost efficiently through simple focus groups or a lunch-and-learn program within physical branches. For a more in-depth approach, research can be outsourced to a design firm that specializes in consumer research and user-centered design to provide more rich, robust insights.
As indicated by the availability of approximately 3.8 million apps, today’s consumers are not app averse. Research shows that consumers are interested in apps to manage their finances and actually use multiple apps to do so, even going so far as using specific apps for particular segments of their financial portfolio.
Credit unions should carefully consider the organization and placement of app features in order to best serve users’ needs. What and how the members interact with the app creates the experience, engagement, and connection with the credit union brand. Good design generates increased usage, which in turn increases engagement.
Partnerships That Matter
There is no “one size fits all” for everything credit unions need to offer as a robust mobile experience. The digital space is complex, like a Lego set. Anyone familiar with Legos knows you can build the same shape with three Lego bricks as you can with 300. Theoretically, you could have three partners that come together to create a mobile app, but the reality is that it takes more than three partners to provide a secure, feature-rich digital experience. However, it does not have to require 300 partners. Take the time to carefully vet and select strong partners that are leaders in the size, shape, and color of their particular field.
Spreading The Word
It is not enough to have an app in the app store. Credit unions must spread the word about the availability of their app, along with touting its new features and functions. Self-serving through cost-effective digital channels like an app can result in cost savings from more expensive channels like branches and call centers.
Leveraging social media is a cost-efficient way to promote an app’s new features and functions. Take advantage of in-product messaging such as a pop-up message or window that is displayed upon logging into the app to highlight new features as they are released. Educate frontline staff with a talk-track to highlight app capabilities for members who may be transacting through other channels.
If your credit union is launching a brand-new app or completely redesigned experience, alongside a strategic focus on attracting new members consider investing additional dollars by going beyond traditional marketing channels and making a larger splash to a broader audience, such as billboard or other out-of-home advertising.
PSCU’s research has confirmed the need for the foundational elements of a mobile experience, such as quick and easy access to balances, transactions, and payments. It also indicates a strong appetite to have multiple features, such as Alerts and Controls, integrated into the same app experience. However, creating a successful app is a delicate balance between offering the right mix of features so as not to degrade the usability of the app — too many features create a cumbersome experience.
A solid mobile strategy is a part of a larger digital strategy that should span across channels. PSCU’s strategy for increasing member engagement, for example, is to create a feature-rich digital experience whereby members can seamlessly move across channels and easily manage their cards, creating a top-of-wallet experience. Credit unions can accomplish the same with features like in-app promotions managed by their organization, in-app messages promoting new features, and an integrated suite of services to put control of both debit and credit cards in one convenient app for members.
Cindy McGinness manages online and mobile channels, as well as digital payments, for PSCU’s consumer-facing solutions. In this role, she shapes the product vision, directs the product road map, and is responsible for the performance and expansion of PSCU’s consumer-facing digital solutions in market.