35SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Paul Robert Paul Robert has been helping financial institutions drive their retail growth strategies for over 20 years. Paul is the Chief Executive Officer for FI Strategies, LLC, a private consulting company … Web: fi-strategies.com Details It’s amazing how many times I hear credit union executives say their competition is the bank and credit union across the street – the same dastardly foes they’ve been battling for years. I can’t wait for the day when they say their primary competitor is the foe they can’t see – the online, e-commerce, fintech company that has been (and will continue) to disrupt the retail industry for the past ten years.Wal-Mart has changed its delivery and business focus to remain dominant. Barnes & Noble has changed its model to remain relevant. Macy’s has changed its buying approach to stay afloat. Yet, so many credit unions are still operating within the same model they have for generations. For too many, their response to the oncoming “new world” has been to maintain the status quo and expect the member to adjust to them.The day has come (it may have already passed) for all credit unions to accept what the retailing giants accepted a few years ago: they need to modify their business models to accommodate the new, sophisticated, demanding consumer if they want to remain dominant, relevant, and afloat. The new consumer doesn’t want to do business the same old way; they want to do business in a new and better way.The necessary change for credit unions to appeal to that new consumer is really about changing perspective, not so much about how they conduct their business. In many important ways, the changes needed in our industry are easier and more linear than in the retail lands of Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, and Macy’s. We don’t have to dramatically change our products or delivery channels or branch designs to be successful into the future. However, we do need to change how we view those products and channels … we need to view them from the eyes of the consumer.There’s a lot of talk about “member experience” and “member journey” and many times those important concepts are complicated with layers of detail that make them seem esoteric and, therefore, unattainable. Let’s boil them down to their essence – to succeed with an “experience and journey” approach, credit union executives simply need to see and feel their products and service delivery through the eyes and hearts of the member.For too long, we’ve been able to survive (and, in some cases, thrive) by expecting the member and potential member to adapt to our way of thinking, to our perspective on the ways of banking. In the future, credit unions that survive and thrive will adopt their way of thinking to the perspective of the member. They’ll walk in the member’s shoes and make strategic and tactical decisions based on that critical perspective.They will quantify the number of steps required to complete an interaction; they will define exactly how much time a member spent completing that interaction; and they will assess the member’s emotional reaction to that interaction. It’s not just a matter of making processes simple anymore; it’s a matter of reengineering every process around the consumer’s definition of simple, quick, and painless.Another buzz phrase in today’s world is “ease of use”. It used to be acceptable to just meet member expectations. Then it became necessary to exceed member expectations. Now we need to make it as easy to do business with us as possible. An increasing number of consumers are defining their banking expectations by the easy, simple, painless experiences they’ve had with their favorite retailers. There’s no reason, in their mind, that if they can do it, we, too, can provide a similarly positive experience and journey.Successful credit unions need to grade their ease of use in every interaction. And they need to grade it, you guessed it, from the member’s perspective, not theirs. How did the member/potential member feel about the easiness of the interaction? If it was easy in their minds, keep doing it. If it wasn’t easy, fix it. If it wasn’t as easy as the interaction with the online bank, blow up your process and reinvent it.Assessing members’ perception of experience has never been more critical. The old days of an annual satisfaction survey are long gone. Today we need to ask as frequently as possible, following each interaction with each branch and department. Gauge member’s satisfaction with your ease of use after every interaction in the branch, at the machine, on the phone, mobile, and online. No interaction or touchpoint is off-limits.As I write this, I’m returning from a client that has taken this concept to heart. They have been very successful in their lending initiatives, experiencing solid, steady growth over the past few years. However, they recognize that their consumer marketplace has become more sophisticated and is demanding easier access to loan products and services (thanks a lot Quicken Loans and Ally Bank).In response, they have formed a team of employees to analyze their current lending experiences through all channels and propose solutions that will optimize that experience with current and future members. The team will take the following approach:Observe and flow chart the current processes to fully understand what’s happening todayLook at what the competition is doing and see what can be learned from their processesMap the journey from the member’s perspective at every step (What a concept … experience through the eyes of the consumer!!!)Brainstorm and test new, improved ways of delivering each lending product as easily as possibleMark Twain is quoted as saying, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Too many credit unions have “known for sure” what the lending, new account, teller, online, call center experience should be like from their perspective. More credit unions need to “know for sure” what those experiences should be like from the member’s and potential member’s perspective. See it, feel it, experience it through their eyes, not just yours.If your credit union would like to analyze your delivery and optimize your experiences, my firm would be happy to help. Let’s talk about getting your team positioned to see your member experiences through new and fresh eyes and create the most “easy” journey possible. Please email me at [email protected], call me at 636-578-3280, or visit our website: www.fi-strategies.com.