The new rules of member engagement

3 best practices for building stronger relationships on digital channels

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Key points: 

  • A member engagement module helps credit unions connect with members in a digital context.
  • Leveraging a member engagement module can help credit unions support their cross-selling efforts, significantly reduce application abandonment, and relieve regulatory burden.
  • To offer digital account opening without compromising member engagement, credit unions must choose a platform with a member engagement module that includes certain features.

In the not-so-distant past, the lion’s share of member engagement happened in physical spaces, where consumers and businesses would receive one-to-one support from staff. These face-to-face interactions represented opportunities for employees to promote products, develop long-lasting relationships, and provide account opening application support to mitigate the risk of application abandonment. 

But as the world of banking becomes increasingly digital, the opportunities to nurture member engagement are becoming more diverse and member preferences are broadening to include digital experiences. This leaves many credit unions wondering: how can we replicate our member engagement efforts in digital environments? 

The answer is a member engagement module. 

This article will address the challenges associated with promoting member engagement on digital channels and explain how a member engagement module with the right features can help you overcome them. 

What is member engagement?

Member or customer engagement refers to the emotional connection, and relationship, between a brand and its members or customers. According to Gallup, customers who are fully engaged with a brand represent a 23% premium over the average customer in terms of revenue, profitability, and relationship growth.

There are many ways to build member engagement, including creating great experiences, focusing on retention, and nurturing relationships. 

Why is member engagement important for credit unions?

It is well-documented that today’s members want access to more banking options. Research from the Qualtrics XM Institute found that, given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of consumers indicate that they plan to continue to engage remotely with their financial institutions. 

The 2021 Banking Impact Report found that 48% of consumers are likely to open an account at a community bank or credit union in the next 12 months and that more than half expect online account opening.

Digital represents a new way to connect with members, which requires that credit unions embrace new methods of nurturing member engagement. If credit unions hope to meet demand for digital in the coming years, they must take action to ensure that member engagement continues to thrive in a digital context. 

Nurturing member engagement in digital environments

As digital channels become more popular, particularly among younger demographics, credit unions are faced with the following three challenges to preserving and building on their members’ engagement. 

1. Cross-selling in a digital context

Member experiences that happen in physical branches typically allow for cross-selling efforts. In an in-branch context, members will visit periodically to withdraw cash, deposit checks, and perform various other banking activities. Each in-person visit is an opportunity for your team to build on the relationship and offer additional services or products.

Many credit unions have considerable success with their in-branch cross-selling efforts. But credit unions that are attempting to stay competitive by embracing digital channels may struggle to showcase additional products in digital contexts where they don’t see or speak to the members directly. 

The solution: highly customizable email marketing capabilities

Member engagement modules often let you create email campaigns to market additional services and products. You can build stronger relationships with your members through a welcome series, drip campaign, or engage them in other forms of email marketing. For example, you could create a segment that represents your most valuable members, and then send them emails with tailored offers, like for a platinum account.

Email marketing capabilities empower you to migrate your in-branch cross-selling efforts into the digital world, so you can make connections with members in their own homes. A sophisticated cross-selling engine will let you facilitate segmented communications, enabling you to promote products that aren’t available to every member.

2. Application abandonment

At physical branches, your staff can provide direct, one-to-one support throughout the application process. This mitigates the risk of application abandonment, which is significantly more likely to occur in a digital environment. 

To access support during an online application, members may need to book a call or visit a branch — both of which represent an obstacle to an individual who has chosen an online account opening method for its convenience and speed. 

The solution: automated application reminders 

Member engagement modules that include remarketing functionality enable credit unions to overcome abandoned applications. 

High application conversion rates play a critical role in determining the level of success that can be achieved by banks and credit unions. Compared to a low-performing solution, a high-performing solution can generate 3.5x as many accounts and up to 200x as much in deposits. 

But what makes a high-performing solution? Our ROI of Online Account Opening white paper identifies a 35% conversion rate as the benchmark for a high-performing solution. 

A graphic about bank accounts.

Automated reminders are essential to minimizing abandoned applications and increasing conversion rates. Member engagement modules with a remarketing system allow credit unions to automatically send an email to potential members reminding them to complete their applications. This simple step is responsible for a 6% boost in conversion, on average.

A remarketing system also enables credit unions to replicate an e-commerce-like experience. For example, abandoning your cart on an e-commerce website like Amazon would trigger remarketing emails that members have come to expect and even value. 

3. Compliance and regulatory burden

Two federal laws — the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) — require that credit unions provide consumers with notice of the reasons their application was denied. 

Given that many credit unions see thousands of applications every month, sending the necessary adverse action notices when their application is denied can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. 

The solution: an adverse action notice program

An adverse action notice program automates the process of sending adverse action notices to inform consumers why their application was denied. This not only lets your credit union stay compliant, it also keeps consumers informed of the decision right when it happens, so they’re not left waiting or wondering.

Member engagement modules that include an adverse action notice program allow you to send notices customized to the reason for application denial — whether a generic, TeleCheck, or Equifax denial.

Regulatory and compliance burden is weighing heavily on credit unions, particularly as the industry becomes increasingly digital, which introduces new compliance challenges. An adverse action notice program can lighten this load without jeopardizing compliance and represents real, measurable value for credit unions in cost and time savings. 

The MANTL member engagement module

The member engagement module is a key part of the MANTL platform and was designed specifically to address the challenges outlined in this article. It includes a powerful email marketing system, automated reminders that minimize application abandonment, and an adverse action notice program that relieves compliance and regulatory burden.

The MANTL member engagement module empowers credit unions to deliver the best member experience, while also automating as much of the account opening process as possible.

Take action now

To maintain and nurture member engagement while providing superb digital experiences, credit unions must alleviate each of the challenges outlined in this article. Doing so will allow them to meet digital demand while safeguarding their retention, member satisfaction, efficiency, and employee satisfaction.

Put simply, in an increasingly digital industry, overcoming these challenges is no longer optional. It’s a necessity.

Want to see the MANTL member engagement module in action? Reach out to our team to schedule a demo.

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