Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Top 10 Credit Union Website Must-haves for 2015

With all of the technological advances that keep coming at us, it's hard to know what ones to focus on or what ones are best for your credit union's website. We thought we'd sift through the current website trends and share the top ten with you:

1. Responsive Design Required

Having a responsive website is no longer a “nice to have” it’s a “must have” for any credit union. According to Global Web Index, while 91% of Internet users surf using a desktop or laptop, 80% use smart phones and 47% use tablets. That means you never know how people will be reaching your site, you have to make sure it looks good whether it’s a computer or iPhone.

2. Typography and Fonts Take Front Stage

Typography and fonts are for more than just plain text these days. Websites are using different typefaces to better express moods, brand personality and can even replace images if done right. Plus, it can cost your credit union much less than using stock images or paying for custom graphics.

3. Scrolling Not Clicking

Clicking from page to page on your website is so 2014 (or earlier!). Check out the newer websites from innovative brands and you’ll discover you have to scroll to view their website, not click. Not only is scrolling easier to navigate, it’s more fun and intuitive – plus you have more room for creative page design. Go one step further and add parallax design to give the images more depth and opens the door to creativity further.

4. Bigger Background Images

While lots of white space is still desirable on websites, so are large background images. There’s no better way to position your credit union on first impression than by making a big statement with a big image. It immediately sets the tone for your credit union’s personality. And be innovative with the images. Don’t just use images of smiling families, piggy banks, cars or houses. Try images that more personally represent your credit union or the community it serves.

5. It’s in the Cards

Cards are more than what you can get at Hallmark or a small piece of plastic to shop with. The most well-known example of website cards are what you find on Pinterest. Cards are a fun, graphic way to be able to fit a lot of visual content on one page that will easily work on various platforms.

6. Declutter with Ghost Buttons

When a website button not a typical website button? When it’s created to be a ghost website button. They use the same amount of website territory but in a much more minimal, less intrusive way. Want to make them more interesting? Animate them or have them change color when clicked on.

7. Video and More Video

From YouTube to Vine to Instagram Video, the moving image is growing in popularity – even if it’s sometimes shrinking in length. Online video is getting easier to create and upload. Not to mention that visitors to your website will stick around longer and you’ll more easily reach a younger demographic. Whether you use intro, promotional, instructional or special event videos, they’re an easy way to bring your website into 2015.

8. Putting Digital Branding First

When potential members are researching credit unions, what do they see first? Not your branch or marketing materials – chances are they’ll come to your website first. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Your website is the perfect place to create and position your digital brand.

9. Be a Storyteller

We’re not talking the “Once upon a time” kind of story. We’re talking the story of your credit union, its members, its community and its brand. The fonts and images you use to the website’s overall layout all add to your story. Is it saying what you want it to say? Whatever story you tell, just make sure it’s something your members (or potential members) can relate to.

10. The Website Revolution

The future of websites isn’t all website-related. (Confusing, I know.) Think about it … When you shop online at stores you frequent, check your account balance, look for coupons, etc. do you use a website or an app? I know I tend to use apps more, and so do many of your members. Sure, responsive design helps reach mobile members, but a credit union app can complement your site and enhance your members’ online experience. Just make sure your app offers more than just mobile banking and something your website does not. 

Need helping bringing out the best in your credit union's website? CU Solutions Group has the website talent, insight and tools to make it happen. Contact us today to learn more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The "Real" ROI of Credit Union Social Media

by Amy Neale, Content Marketing Manager

Let me introduce myself. Not only am I the main blogger here at CU Solutions Group, I also manage all of our social media platforms and consult with credit unions on their social media strategies. 

Why am I telling you this? Because a recurring comment I hear from credit unions when I’m talking to them about their social media is: “My boss doesn’t think it’s worth our time. He doesn’t think there’s enough ROI.” I’ve explained to my clients the real ROI of social media enough times to decide the topic needs its own article. So, here we go …

Defining ROI

If you check out Investopedia, they give this formula to calculate ROI:

When you’re talking about more concrete, black and white business investments this formula works. But when you’re talking about something more intangible like member loyalty and member service, it’s too gray for the formula to be relevant.

When your credit union hands out suckers its members’ children or pens to its members, does it use this formula? Or, if it takes part in a community event like a cancer walk or holiday fundraising, ROI is never a concern. That’s because all of these touch points fall under the public relations umbrella and are meant to boost goodwill and loyalty, not necessarily ROI.

If you haven’t guessed it, I tend to liken social media to public relations or sometimes member service if a member seeks out your social media platforms with a concern or issue. PR and goodwill can’t be measured concretely enough to be put into a formula. 

Measuring Social Media

All this is well and good, but you still need to appease your management with a measurement even if it doesn’t fit into the ROI formula. A great article in Forbes, Why ROI is Often Wrong for Measuring Marketing Impact includes this statement from Dominique Hanssens, a professor of marketing at UCLA Anderson School of Management and a co-founder of MarketShare:

“Marketers rarely mean ROI when they say ROI. ‘Plain’ ROI is certainly an important metric for managers. But it falls well short of helping us understand marketing’s contribution to business goals, or how those contributions can be improved. ROI is too limited.”

We usually recommend tracking member engagement, which doesn’t always mean Facebook likes or Twitter follows. It means following up with member comments or complaints in the social arena so other members or even potential members can see that you take member service seriously. It means interacting with members when they comment on your posts. It also means keeping track of what posts get the most engagement and going with what works. 

Final Thought

Not everything we do as marketers can translate into real ROI. A final thought you might want to share with your managers should they ask about social media ROI … Why wouldn’t you use social media? It’s where your members live, no matter what demographic you seek and it doesn’t take much time/money to implement. Millennials, soccer moms, high-paid execs – they’re all on social media somewhere. Let them know your credit union is current with the latest marketing channels by engaging with them on social media. And if you don’t, I’m sure your competition will be happy to.

If your credit union needs a little help with social media and is interested in having a channel audit or social media strategy done, please contact CU Solutions Group today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Credit Union Member Complaint Management 101

by Chris Steffes, Remote Services Consultant, CU Solutions Group

All too often, growth strategy at the credit union is aimed at acquiring new members rather than supporting existing ones when issues arise.  While new members are brought in through the front door with attractive marketing campaigns, little attention is paid to the members leaving out the back and, as a result, a zero sum membership occurs, wasting the marketing spend.

It turns out that healthy membership growth happens when effective complaint management strategies are implemented first to retain existing members. Unfortunately for many banks and credit unions, complaint management is viewed as a necessary evil, rather than an opportunity to create an amazing customer experience at the point of member friction to improve customer retention and loyalty.  

The Cost of an Unhappy Member

There’s solid evidence to support the need for developing a complaint management program if credit unions want to achieve membership growth and increase the ratio of relationships per member. Research conducted by Customer Care Measurement and Consulting found the marketing cost to win new customers outpaced the cost to retain existing customers through resolution/goodwill strategies by five to one.

Credit unions assume that if members don’t complain, they must be satisfied with the experience they’ve received. In fact, less than 25% of members complain because it is considered too much trouble – either because of previous unaddressed complaints or due to a cumbersome process to submit a complaint. Low member satisfaction ratings are only identified when an account closing survey is conducted. In reality, 70 to 96% of consumers don’t complain to the credit union, but will become at least 20% less loyal and tell at least three people about their poor experience instead. 

In the new era of social media, members reach far more people – all prospective customers for the credit union – when they share their negative experience online. For reputational risk alone, credit unions should re-think their current members’ satisfaction and experience strategy.

Credit unions can turn silent unhappy members into loyal members. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. Credit unions who respond to members throughout the complaint process up to the resolution ensure a better member experience. Establish a culture among customer-facing staff which encourages and rewards complaint resolution.
  • Document the complaint. Necessary for compliance as well as reputation, ensure all complaints are logged in a CRM system, accessible to all customer-facing staff.
  • Respond quickly on all channels, especially digital. Establish a social media protocol, including appropriate scripting, that shows interest and empathy for member complaints, along with an overall strategy for complaint resolution on social channels. Never request a member who complained on social media to then contact the call center. Make it a point to respond to the complaint on social media stating that you’ll contact them via phone to understand the issue. And then, be sure to follow up.
  • No excuses. The biggest turn-off for any member is an excuse, as it will certainly lead a member out the back door and into the welcome arms of the competition. Provide any member’s feedback that exposes a gap in credit union policy or quality to management for them to address.
  • Ask for testimonials. Once a positive resolution is achieved, ask the member if they would write a testimonial on your social media page, or post on your website. Positive member feedback shared on a website or social media can be a key marketing tool for attracting new membership. Ensure member anonymity as much as possible by removing last names when posting feedback.
By implementing a few simple strategies, you can turn your biggest complainers into your greatest advocates.

If your credit union needs staff training to get everyone on the same page with complaint resolution, CU Solutions Group's HR consultants can help.