Credit unions that have successfully adopted a digital approach don’t view it as an “extra.” Digitization has become central to what they are because they transform their value propositions and evolve every level of the organization so that it becomes data driven, customer obsessed, and highly agile. Then why, decades into the digital revolution, are credit unions still trying to define what digital is and struggling to make the most of it?
Conventional businesses have trouble defining digital because it seems like an extra channel that they added on to their businesses. For customer service, this might be an extra channel for customers to use to interact with them; for sales, it could be an additional set of marketing channels.
However, it’s quite clear now — and emphasized by companies that lead by example — that digital is not about more; it’s about different. You need a fresh pair of eyes to view how your credit union can be positively transformed through digital practices. In a broader sense, digital requires you to travel three paths at the same time. It is the path you create to deliver a value proposition and make money through optimizing existing channels and opening up new ones. It’s also a new path for interacting with, engaging and retaining your members to build loyalty. It’s a different way of operating within the credit union, or within the industry vertical/geography you are a part of, to make these changes happen. From a member’s point of view, it’s providing members with exactly what they want.
However, embedding digital thinking within a credit union has to happen at a cultural level via change management. Leadership has to adopt and propagate an externally focused mindset. Whether the goal is to create cross-functional teams and get them to work together or to leverage collaborations with outside organizations and vendors, the people must embrace the changes. On an elementary level, being digital means having the ability to plug into the capabilities available outside of your expertise to make things happen fast. The externally-focused mindset also addresses the member journey, which is again central to adopting a digital approach.
In fact, taking the member’s perspective might be the best way to adopt a digital mindset. In order to create an agile and reliable business system, you really need to transform your way of working and collaborating, by understanding the individual role of different operational factors involved. In a typical member journey from A to B, you need to optimize the straight path from A to B, but also develop and elevate alternative pathways via C, D, and E for easy accessibility, faster service, higher satisfaction and lasting loyalty.
You may have to incorporate touchpoints outside of a credit union’s purview. You have to understand your members and look at their journey from their perspective in order to look beyond their borders to see what members are actually doing. This might mean, for example, considering their experience in making a purchase with another financial institution. Adding value to every interaction and gradually expanding into a broader ecosystem to provide aligned products and services to the member captures the essence of adopting a digital mindset.
Download the 10-Step Action Guide to Kickstart your Digital Transformation Journey.
Join us September 28 for the Digital Transformation Webinar Series: Grow Your Capacity for Change: How Credit Unions Can Thrive in Dynamic Markets.
CO-OP Financial Services partnered with NOBL, an Organizational Design Firm, to assess the readiness of credit unions for change. During this webinar, Bud Caddell, NOBL Founder, and Uwe Hook, Digital Transformation Consultant, will share with the audience an inside look at the opportunities and threats facing credit unions today, as well as first steps you can take to grow your capacity for change.