State of the union: 4 credit union technology trends impacting member experience

Victoria Beverly

November 15, 2023

Tethr's team recently attended several credit union technology conferences across the U.S. One of our favorite parts about going to these events is getting to speak with contact center and member experience (MX) leaders. We always learn a lot: about industry trends, current pain points, and how credit union leaders are approaching MX challenges. Below, we're sharing our top takeaways from these conversations.

Most credit union members today are concerned about two things: their money and personal information being safe, and the credit union being trustworthy and easy to work with. Credit unions are finding themselves at a crossroads: grappling with the economy’s challenges that demand innovative solutions, and competing with banking and fintech companies that are gaining an advantage with customer engagement. 

Credit union leaders are facing a multitude of challenges, including an increasing need for:

  • Product innovation
  • Fraud mitigation
  • Authentication
  • A seamless shift to digital
  • Automating the quality of their member interactions at scale

Read more below on the challenges, and how credit unions can overcome them and deliver an exceptional member experience.

1. Product innovation powered by member sentiment

Credit unions must improve their products to meet their members' changing needs in a competitive economy. Understanding member demographics, preferences, and member sentiment is pivotal for these leaders in tailoring and releasing products that resonate with their members’ financial goals and aspirations.

Unbiased member feedback on product offerings allows credit unions to make decisions preemptively around things like offering flexible loan terms, lower interest rates, and exclusive member benefits to maintain a competitive edge. Also, crafting savings products with attractive interest rates and unique perks can work wonders to attract and retain members. Regular market insights, industry benchmarking, and member feedback data are invaluable to credit unions today in shaping products that both differentiate the member experience and contribute to loyalty.

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2. Authentication & fraud mitigation in real time

Members trust credit unions with sensitive information. And as credit union technology is rapidly advancing, so are the techniques employed by fraudsters and social engineers who target credit unions and their members. In Alloy’s study of 250 credit union leaders in the US, 27% of the respondents reported losses of over $1M in 2022. What’s worse: 91% of the responses confirmed that fraud has increased year over year since 2021. With this challenge comes the increasing need for holistic and diligent authentication processes. Authentication must strike a delicate balance between robust security and seamless member experience. 

Credit union member experience and call center leaders have realized that, as a result, they must invest in credit union technology, such as fraud detection systems powered by conversation intelligence and machine learning. These systems analyze patterns and detect anomalies in real time, enabling swift responses to potential threats. Continuous member education is also essential, empowering them to recognize phishing attempts and safeguard their personal information.

3. Member experience for the digital age

The digital revolution has transformed the way members interact with credit unions. Gallup research shows that in 2021, the proportion of credit union members who were “digital forwards” — people who use digital tools for all their simple banking needs and attempt digital for the most complex ones — was 38% (up from 27% in 2020).  

Online and mobile banking have become an industry norm (especially for younger credit union members), so credit unions must help their members who are accustomed to traditional in-person services get comfortable with digital experiences. To achieve this, credit unions must invest in user-friendly interfaces and intuitive credit union technology that will simplify complex transactions and provide round-the-clock access to services.

4. Automating member experience quality at scale

Automation lies at the heart of this digital transformation. Chatbots (equipped with natural language processing capabilities and guided by conversation intelligence) can handle routine queries, freeing up human agents to focus on more complex member issues. 

Quality assurance automation for these interactions can streamline back-end processes, reducing the margin for error and enhancing operational efficiency. Implementing automated quality assurance platforms ensures that every member interaction, whether human or machine-mediated, adheres to the highest standards. Conversation intelligence can analyze member interactions, identifying areas for improvement and providing actionable insights to enhance the member experience further.

Final takeaways

In the face of these challenges, credit unions must retain and grow their member base and remain competitive, leveraging their member interactions and unbiased feedback to navigate the complexities of the modern economy. 

Credit unions and their member experience teams face tough challenges like authentication, product competitiveness, and digital transformation. However, these tough challenges also present a unique opportunity for credit unions to redefine their member experience, streamline operations, and reinforce their position as pillars of trust in the financial industry. 

By embracing technological advancements, nurturing process innovation, and being up-to-speed on how AI can help them combat fraud and risk, credit unions can not only overcome these challenges but emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before. Being aware of the trends, identifying the gaps in their processes, and finding a solution will help them ensure a prosperous future for their members and the communities they serve.

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