Aside from the obvious COVID discussions, crisis communications, and social distancing guidelines, the country is in the midst of the first true mindset shift in our lifetime. Most consumers’ current concerns are primarily centered around loss of income, tighter budgets and, of course, the lasting effects of the pandemic. People are facing an economic landscape unlike anything they have experienced before, and unless it involves a product or member service need, engagement with your brand likely isn’t at the top of their list.
So, what does this mean for your credit union? It means it is time to lean into the change and make your very own shift. Things are already crazy, so let’s get wild. Continue reading to see what changes your credit union can make to “get wild” in this unprecedented time.
Re-write and re-tell your story
Now that the initial shock and panic brought about by COVID-19 is starting to pass, credit unions are faced with shifting their actionable strategies to face the uncertainty of the months ahead. While this time can be challenging, frustrating, and scary for financial institutions, it’s times like this that force us to redefine who we are, why we’re here, and how we fit into our members new lifestyle. Questions to ask yourself about your brand:
- Who are we today vs. who we were pre-pandemic?
- How do we plan to rally behind the growing sense of community in the world today?
- What is our role in the changing needs of our target market?
- How can we remain relevant in this changing environment?
- Is our value proposition still relevant (or do we even have one)?
Above all else, simplify your story, share your why, and rewrite your narrative.
Back to basics for staff training
In the middle of an economic recession and health crisis, financial institutions can innovate by listening to your members and providing a stand-out experience. Fewer visits to branches means fewer opportunities for engagement, so your staff should be extremely well versed in areas such as inclusion, diversity, culture, and cross sales/engagement to name a few. If you aren’t confident in your ability to engage, retain, and earn new business, now is the time to get back to basics with product and sales training for staff while members are still debating whether or not to set foot back into your retail spaces.
When in doubt, change it
Considering rebranding? Changing your name? New website? Do it. Don’t wait. Banking environments are already in the crux of change, so take advantage of the consumer mindset shift and introduce new, positive changes to your members in the next 6 to 12 months. Now more than ever, members are less likely to be heavily affected by positive branding and platform changes (as long as your online banking or core system doesn’t crash, you should be good).
PSA: If you do not already utilize online account opening software, do not finish reading this article. RUN to the nearest account opening platform and continue reading once the service has been implemented.
Let’s face it, consumers have changed their priorities, and service providers who can deliver upon their engagement needs are those who are thriving. Banking is a necessity, yet consumers only engage with their PFI when needed and now more than ever, they choose not to engage in person.
According to Gordon Hasket Research, one-third of shoppers bought food online during the early phase of pandemic shopping (week ending March 13). Of those shoppers, 41% said it was their first time, and more than half of first-time orders went to Walmart — which has benefited from investments in online pickup and tech improvements it made before the COVID-19 crisis came about.
The bottom line? Consumers aren’t going to rush back to brick and mortar engagement anytime soon if they don’t have to. Do you want your credit union to be the only reason they have to? Trust me, you don’t.