The barriers facing financial services when integrating or adopting digital channels is well documented and most of us have probably experienced the challenges when our own banks or superannuation funds try something new. Getting it right is especially important when you are growing and scaling and so is getting to know your customers or members. They do not all have the same needs so your extra value comes with being able to combine relevant messages with necessary services and useful tools.
Stephanie Maxwell is the VP of Digital Channels for Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, which started as an Alaskan financial institution for the military, expanding to oil and now working in California, Washington and Arizona. She shared her insights at the recent MX Digital Banking Week.
The service must not be consistent regardless of location and channel.
Keeping members engaged in the channel of their choice is essential for good service, so make each channel important. Remote areas can provide unique problems when adopting digital channels so be prepared. Alaska USA managed to not miss one transaction when a 7.6 earthquake hit because all online banking immediately switched to the Californian server.
Employee engagement and education enhance your service.
Make sure you have conversations with your employees about money and that they receive financial education that is relevant to the enquiries. They need to understand the intention behind each product to be able to give the best recommendation.
Employee training has changed a lot so keep it relevant using tools like microlearning and video instructions. Maxwell says they incorporate empathy training and partner different departments with community groups so as to be exposed to local stories and teachings.
Get to know your members and give them what they need. Use your data.
In Alaska, the work is seasonal so it’s important to know and understand what their members need. The credit union recognises that some workers and small businesses make their annual income in three months, so making money available when they need it is important to avoid the lure of loan sharks or payday loans.
Every financial institution that has been around for a while has the issue of data layers that don’t speak to each other. Maxwell says that finding a partner to cleanse their data (MX) and then find useable insights to make informed decisions was very important in detecting financial behaviours that may not be talked about. This then drives relevant product delivery.
Be more than just a financial service provider.
Be present in the community and listen to their needs, reduce friction in your services to improve delivery. Use data to get to know your members and try to motivate good habits by ensuring the tools they are looking for are available, friendly, personal and affordable.
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