The Value of Community
At Connect, we have continual dialog with our credit union clients to ensure we deliver the ultimate online and mobile loan application user experience for their loan applicants. Today’s consumers expect an expedient application process with quick, if not immediate, decisioning on their loan application.
Values-Based Communities and Loyalty
People helping people is certainly a principle that today’s consumers value. Some of today’s top-performing companies such as IKEA, Whole Foods, and Zappos have core values that create a unique connection to their customers. Values-based companies instill an inspiring internal bond with their employees, and that cohesive connection becomes an outward reflection of the company. That reflection of the company attracts consumers with those same core values, creating a community of advocates.
There is no other sector in financial services like credit unions to exemplify how core values create a lasting community. After all, the term used to describe credit union membership is “common bond.” Those values and bonds create engaged and satisfied members (customers, in retail lingo) for the credit union. According to a Rosetta Consulting study, an engaged customer, regardless of industry, is five times more likely to say this is the only brand they will use in the future, 90% more likely to make repeat purchases, and spend 300% more per transaction than others. So, it pays to foster engagement and loyalty.
Can Loyalty, Technology and Innovation Coexist?
Values-based organizations need to continually innovate to meet the technological demands of their current and potential clientele. The Millennial generation, for example, factors in a business’s core values when deciding where they will conduct their business. But, if a business is not innovative and technologically savvy, it will have a hard time attracting the Millennial mobile-first generation.
There’s a term (isn’t there always) that describes how technology and loyalty work in tandem: “loyalty innovation.” This label was coined several years ago to reference digital transformation strategies that financial services companies use to attract and retain customers. Today’s digital customers look to the companies they do business with to provide security, personalization, and convenience.
An Accenture Strategy report noted that 81% of consumers become frustrated working with companies that do not make it easy to do business with them. In fact, 73% expect more convenience and 61% expect service to be faster. Consumers want to see that the company invests their consumer purchase loyalty into technologies that improve the digital experience. Credit union members certainly fall into this category.
Lack of member awareness about a credit union’s investments in improving the digital experience hurts the institution’s loyalty innovation efforts. It is essential not just to innovate, but also to continually communicate and build awareness about those innovative initiatives to retain existing and attract new members. This outreach will encourage members to engage with your new advancements, resulting in increased logins and longer stays within your digital application.
So, are You Inspiring Member Loyalty?
Today’s consumers want to conduct their business with innovative values-based companies. Many of those values-based companies have created a community of loyal followers. To establish and maintain loyalty, companies need to meet consumers where they want to do business. The digital-first generations expect an innovative, efficient, frustration-free digital experience.
From their inception, credit unions have had a loyal following. But to create the next generation of credit union members, credit unions must also stay ahead of technological innovations. The credit union mantra of people helping people is a value proposition that has stood the test of time. A loyal community with a common bond is a competitive threat. Small communities with that common bond may not appear to be a venerable force, but those communities banded together certainly are.
Credit unions have all the right components to meet the values-based requirements of today’s consumers. Those consumers, however, must be met in their channel of choice. We are at the apex of the new digital credit union community and the next generation of members. While technological advancement will be required to attract and retain members in the digital credit union community, the importance of people helping people is an altruistic value that resonates with all generations. Whether sequestered at home or being out and about, a sense of belonging makes people feel good. And that is what the credit union community is all about.