Credit unions require faster and more efficient contact touchpoints servicing and onboarding new members in today's digital world. Traditional phone support and email are no longer sufficient. Credit unions need chat. As more consumers move into the digital channels, their requirements are shaped mainly by their experience with their preferred digital businesses. The primary communication for digital business is chat.
Consumers get frustrated when they cannot get quick answers. They despise waiting in long phone queues, and digital users also become impatient when they cannot get immediate responses online. Digital players who do not offer a chat option front and center within their applications risk customer abandonment and potential customer loss. The availability of chat as a communication channel to support service questions can highlight the value your credit union places on fast and efficient service to your members and prospects.
But chat is not just for fulfilling service needs. It is also becoming a critical channel for sales. According to a study by Intercom
, an average of 82% of website visitors who’ve chatted with a company are more likely to convert into customers AND pay 13% more for products than non-chat users.
At a high level, it’s clear that chat is more than just sales and service. It can significantly affect how your digital channel and products are perceived in the market, by both current customers and potential customers.
Creating A Good First Impression
Most credit unions do not have large marketing budgets. It is critical to seize the opportunity for every prospect visiting your digital channel. Whether prospects are visiting to conduct research or fill out a product application, chat enables you to be right there with them. I know what you’re thinking; prompting an unsolicited discussion with a visitor is like having a car salesperson attack you when you first walk into the dealership.
But the converse is also true. How many times have you had a question or were ready to make a purchase, and an employee could not be found? Anywhere. How long do you stand around or walk the aisles to find an employee if you are trying to make a purchase? Chances are, you walk out. And that scenario does not create a future-forward good impression of becoming a customer.
So, the issue is not about being too aggressive or passive, but being just right (think about Goldilocks…). The end goal is to create a comfortable experience for the end user.
Now let’s think about the message on the traditional chat badge. "Talk with an agent" is pretty cold. "Questions? We have answers!" is much more inviting. The idea is to create a comfortable, on-demand (critical) tool to greet and assist visitors.
The absence of chat altogether creates a bigger problem. That tells a prospect "Figure it out and then contact us if you want to do business." Yikes! If word of mouth is the most valuable form of advertising (from a cost and trust standpoint), then blowing the first impression opportunity is a critical failure. And, oh, by the way, where will the negative experience be posted? In digital communication channels!
Creating a New Account/Loan
The prospect has performed their research and may have asked a few questions on chat. The next step of being available within the application process is also critical. If an applicant becomes frustrated because they have questions once they have started the application process, that can lead to an abandoned application and lost opportunity. And this is a competitive differentiator.
Online consumers are looking to have questions answered by a live person during an online purchase, and this has become a critical feature. In other words, if you are not there and available via chat to provide assistance, your probability of sales conversion is significantly reduced. There are so many stories about how account abandonment is caused by a long and/or complicated new account opening process. Think, however, how many of those potential accounts might have been saved if the applicant simply had the opportunity to ask questions while completing the application.
Consider the last time a prospect walked into a branch or called the contact center to open an account – and had no questions during the process. Very little to none. It’s true that being in the right place at the right time is critical. And chat enables you to do that.
Consumer Digital Expectations
In today's digital world, fast and efficient service levels are critical for consumer engagement and conversion. In fact, your business has seven seconds
to make a first impression. The digital engagement process should not feel intrusive or heavy-handed. Consumers want to feel guided and not pushed. When a consumer visits your digital channel(s) for the first time, just letting them know that you are available should they need assistance tells them that you are concerned about providing the same level of service as your physical channels.
The assumption that digital users are savvier than those who use physical channels can be costly, especially since many of those physical channel consumers who moved into digital over the past two years are wading their way farther into digital now. New and savvy digital users alike expect a pleasant and supportive experience in the digital channel.
Ready with Answers
Financial decisions are among the most significant and emotional processes a consumer can go through. Being there to provide support, information, and guidance will create a good impression for both new and existing members. Expecting an applicant to complete an account or loan application without the ability to ask questions creates a probable abandonment scenario. And what is the impression of your digital channel if the applicant has to call the credit union (and wait in a call queue) while in the midst of a digital account opening process?
If I say "You have questions. We have answers.” -- you probably think about Staples. What a great advertising campaign. That statement says no matter your reason for visiting Staples; they are there to assist. Isn't that the message that you want your digital channel to convey? If your digital channel lacks the service/sales support available in your physical channels (including the contact center), the acquisition, upsell, and retention opportunities are missed. Anything less can send the prospect or member to a competitor.