Video Banking Proves Popular for BluCurrent CU

BluCurrent Credit Union in Springfield, MO has implemented a popular video conferencing platform that routes calls from their branches to the CU’s member experience center. How popular is it? “Out of a five-point scale, our average rating is 4.5 for a positive experience and 93 percent of members would recommend it, which blew away our expectations,” said a BluCurrent spokesperson.

We see video conferencing as a very important up and coming channel for CUs which is why we developed our Branch Video Meeting Queues (VMQ) module. This easy-to-use software allows credit unions to book video conference appointments with both staff members and their accompanying video-equipped meeting rooms.

Key Takeaway: Better Lobby VMQ provides the member service management component missing from video conferencing systems, making it possible to seamlessly manage and serve branch visitors from any video-equipped location.

Merging the Member and the Branch Staff Experience

In a recent blog post entitled “Future of the Branch: Conclusion – It’s about employee experience too,” , an experienced FinTech blogger points out that “for branches to maintain longevity banks must focus on employee experience alongside customer experience, through integration of the technology available to both.” This is an interesting and important observation, but how can both your members and your employees use the same technology? The answer lies in scheduling software – the ability for members to book appointments to visit employees at the branch of their choice at the time of their choice.

Our Better Lobby Solution supports two Appointment Modules. The first module is used by staff to manage Branch Appointments within the Credit Union. The second module extends the Branch Appointment Calendar to the Web/Mobile channel so that members can digitally schedule appointments at their preferred branch without the involvement of staff.

Key Takeaway: Now is the time to empower your members to book appointments with your branch staff via our Mobile Appointment Scheduler – this affordable tool must be a key component of every CU’s Future Branch strategy.

The Mobile/Physical Divide Represents a False Choice

Amazon, the bastion of e-commerce, has opened stores, along with other tech giants such as Microsoft and Apple, in an effort to reach customers and create new experiences around their products and brands. Even as credit unions move towards a “mobile first” strategy, many of them continue to invest in their branch networks.

The bottom line is that the importance of providing easy access to one-on-one appointments with staff will only grow as members increase their use of mobile devices to manage their finances and organize their lives.

Key Takeaway: Although mobile looks to eclipse brick and mortar, branches remain very relevant, and one of the best ways to bridge the digital-branch divide is mobile/online appointment booking tools.

More Than Half Of Globe’s Population Now Using Mobile Banking

According to the Mobile Ecosystem Forum’s recent Mobile Money Report, 61% of people use their mobile phone to carry out banking activity. Yet, even with mobile banking’s booming popularity, around 28% of the 6,000 people interviewed for MEF’s report said that a branch was the preferred location for daily banking, compared to the 26% who prefer mobile.

So it is not a matter of channel replacement but more of channel enhancement and integration when it comes to mobile, branches, online, phone and ATM. The bottom line is that physical branches remain central to the retail delivery strategy for most financial institutions.

Key Take Away: Members will always choose the most convenient channels depending on their financial needs at the moment, so it is up to the credit union to facilitate this reality by implementing solutions such mobile and online appointment booking capabilities that help merge the digital and physical worlds.

Instant Issuance and Branch Appointments – A Perfect Marriage

Many progressive credit unions have implemented instant issue card programs in their branches with great success. Instant issuance enables members to walk into a branch and, within seconds, receive a fully-functioning, active payment card. But it is not just new members who ned this service. Increasing existing members who have lost their cards or need a replacement card due compromised card data that would benefit from instant issuance. This common scenario represents a great opportunity for members to book appointments with your branch staff to come in and pick up their card.

Plus with a traditional, central issuance model, consumers must wait an average of seven to 10 days to receive their cards and even then, data suggests that only 90% are ultimately activated. (http://www.cutimes.com/2017/02/03/instant-issuances-role-in-branch-transformation). The sooner the card is used, the faster credit unions can benefit from an immediate return on their investment.

Key Takeaway: Now is the time to combine your instant issue technology with an affordable digital appointment booking platform like our Mobile Appointment Booking Tool – a convenient solution that assures 100% card activation and faster interchange income.

Improving Customer Experience in Banking

A survey of executives in the banking industry revealed that the top three initiatives planned for 2017 among leaders included: 1) removing friction from the customer journey; 2) use of big data and advanced analytics; and 3) improvements in integrated multichannel delivery.

At Better Branches, our solutions can significantly help with items 1 and 3. Case in point: Branch wait times certainly equal friction and our Mobile Appointment Booking Tool is perfectly suited to positively impacting branch traffic flow, while simultaneously creating an integrated bridge between your members’ mobile devices and your branch network.

Key Take Away: Branch Appointments help to move peak walk-in traffic to non-peak appointment times and provide a welcomed alternative for members who are facing a long wait for service. Plus they can play a key role in any credit union’s multichannel delivery implementation plans.

Instant Issuance and Branch Appointments – A Perfect Marriage

Many progressive credit unions have implemented instant issue card programs in their branches with great success.

Instant issuance enables members to walk into a branch and, within seconds, receive a fully-functioning, active payment card. But it is not just new members but increasingly existing members who have lost their cards or need a replacement card due compromised card data that would benefit from instant issuance. This increasingly common scenario represents a great opportunity for members to book appointments with your branch staff to come in and pick up their card.

Plus with a traditional, central issuance model, consumers must wait an average of seven to 10 days to receive their cards and even then, data suggests that only 90% are ultimately activated. The sooner the card is used, the faster credit unions can benefit from an immediate return on their investment.

Key Takeaway: Now is the time to combine your instant issue technology with an affordable digital appointment booking platform like our Mobile Appointment Booking Tool – a convenient solution that assures 100% card activation and faster interchange income.

Booking Rooms as well as Branch Specialists

The start of a new year is always a good time for predictions. Jon Voorhees, a consultant with Peak Performance Consulting Group , makes this prognostication for branches: “Customers may be able to communicate with branch personnel via Skype and more banks will also have private soundproof rooms in which customers can have face-to-face conversations with offsite bank specialists via video-conferencing.”

We could not agree more, and it is interesting to note that he mentioned rooms as well as specialists. We recently addressed this need with enhancements to our platform that coordinate video conferences for both staff, and up to two video equipped conference rooms that may be required for a meeting.

Key Takeaway: Make sure that any appointment booking solution that your credit union considers is capable of booking rooms as well as appointments for your employees.

Video Conferencing is a Top Branch Priority

At the recent Future Branches conference, attendees were surveyed on many topics. In terms of the “technology needed in the branch of the future,” 63% indicated that enhanced ATMs and video sessions with advisors were their top priorities.

“Mobile” finished second in the poll which is interesting because most people would not think about mobile and branch technology together. But they can certainly complement each other, e.g., our Mobile Appointment Booking Tool allows members to quickly and easily schedule appointments from any mobile device, tablet or computer.

Key Takeaway: You can “future proof” your credit union by investing in a branch scheduling software now and add video conferencing as your budget allows.

Consumers Expect Multi-Channel Services, Yet Many Still Prefer Branch

Fiserv’s recent Expectations & Experiences quarterly consumer trends survey reveals that while 53% of those surveyed said they prefer to use online or mobile banking for everyday transactions, a robust 44% favored a branch location.

Our Mobile Appointment Booking Tool provides an ideal way to blend the digital and the physical worlds. Members can use their mobile device or PC to book the most convenient time for them to visit their favorite branch, thus ensuring a speedy and productive visit.

Key Takeaway: Members increasingly expect financial services on their terms, and credit unions must make it easy for them to conduct business at their branches. The best way to achieve this is by implementing an appointment booking system.

Millennials are visiting Branches

Qualtrics, in conjunction with Accel, recently surveyed 8,000 adults to learn how the different generations approach their money and payment options. What they found is that while Millennials are heavy mobile banking users, 30 percent of them report that they visited a financial institution branch in the past week. Meanwhile, 33 percent of baby boomers said the same.

Key Takeaway: all demographics want to keep using digital channels and still visit branches, because convenience and access are important to them all!

Consumers Love Mobile Banking Apps… But Still Need Branches

This is the title of a recent article in the Financial Brand and in the article they also cover four areas that impact a consumer’s satisfaction level with their financial institution. They are:

  • Location Convenience
  • Ease of Doing Business
  • Transparency and Fairness
  • Security and Reputation

The vast majority of credit unions certainly excel in all four categories and we strive to help them blend the first two on the list with our Mobile Appointment Booking Tool. In action, it could be as simple as booking an appointment online or on a smartphone to come by discuss a new auto loan or HELOC, so something more sophisticated like having them see a targeted ad in a mobile app for a specific banking product, research that product, click a link schedule an appointment at the branch.

Key Takeaway: Mobile banking and branches are perfect partners in making it easy for members to conduct business with your credit union.

Phygital Banking

Phygital (physical plus digital) is a marketing term that describes blending digital experiences with physical ones.  As members become more reliant on their smartphones for their banking needs, there will be more instances that arise in which they will want to connect the digital experience with the branch experience. Our Mobile Appointment Booking Tool is a perfect example of connecting the digital (smartphone, PC, tablet, etc.) to the physical (the nearest branch that is most convenient for your members to visit).

Another example of a phygital presence is evident in the trend where credit unions send universal bankers out on the floor with a tablet to greet members and direct them either to a teller or an account manager – we facilitate this process with our Kiosk for Self Check-in and Concierge solution.

Key Takeaway: It is not difficult – or expensive – to increase the integration of digital with the physical branch if you have the right software solutions in place.

The in-person experience at branches is still important!

A new study of more than 9,500 consumers by Market Force Information found that one-fifth of respondents said they went into a branch in the last 90 days to speak with a branch employee about new products and additional services. Those who did reported 5% higher satisfaction levels than those who didn’t, and they were 8% more likely to recommend their financial institution to others.

These numbers illustrate exactly why we developed our Mobile Appointment Booking Tool – so that your members can schedule an appointment at their convenience to come talk to your branch staff about new products and additional services.

Key Takeaway: You may be able to convince members to use your digital channels, but make sure that your brand doesn’t suffer. Provide them with the option to meet in person when they want to learn about your credit union’s other products and services, and/or when they need financial advice.

Technology is great, but sometimes face-to-face is better

In support of their branch network The Nationwide Building Society, a large credit union in Great Britain, is running TV ads with the message: ‘technology is great, but sometimes face-to-face is better’. The synergy between the branch and the digital channels is directly evident: when Nationwide opens a new branch, the number of people using its smartphone app in the area “increases considerably”. 

The credit union is also currently upgrading their branch network to support video conferencing equipment to connect members with remote financial specialists to offer financial advice.

Key Takeaway: We continue to advocate for building bridges between the digital channels and the branch and support that philosophy via modules such as our Mobile Appointment Booking Tool and our Video Meetings Queues.

Summit Credit Union Enjoys Robust Branch Traffic

Summit Credit Union is a large – $2.4 billion in assets and more than 153,000 members – and progressive credit union that is the second largest credit union in Wisconsin. Rebecca Gerothanas, SVP of Operations at Summit, states that electronic banking is gaining in popularity; there is no doubt about it,” but she quickly adds “people still want to have a branch nearby and come to our branches for a variety of financial needs.”

Their 34 branches remain busy opening new accounts, providing loans, and offering investment services and dispensing financial guidance. The last three activities are particularly well suited to appointment setting capabilities delivered by software such as our Mobile Appointment Booking Tool, while the first is optimized by software like our Better Lobby platform that supports both visitor self check-in or concierge staff check-in.

 Key TakeAway: Credit unions still rely on branches to add new members and deliver stellar support to existing members so credit unions must build software bridges between their branches and their digital channels in order to help keep their members happy.

 

Branches remain essential to CU’s relationships with members

FDIC Chief Economist Richard Brown says that “this thesis…that we have mobile banking and high-tech banking, therefore the branch offices are dinosaurs and going away appears to be substantially overstated.” ATMs never replaced tellers when they came online as predicted by many pundits, and now mobile can’t possibly replace them either.

It is a safe bet that branches will shrink in size over time and become more sales oriented versus transaction oriented, but the fact remains that branches remain crucial touchpoints for acquiring new members and doing more business with existing ones.

Key Takeaway: Your members still want to visit your branches, so make it as easy as possible for them to do so – allow them to make appointments with your staff at the most convenient time and location of their choice.

The Branch of the Future Will Still Be a Branch

Over the years, telephone banking and ATMs were going to replace the branches, then online and mobile banking were pegged as “branch killers.” Members now have more banking options ever – especially when it comes to handling routine transactions and balance inquiries, yet survey after survey shows that consumers in all age groups still value branches.  

Dave Martin, a long time banking consultant (www.bankmechanics.com), rightfully points out that people “do not really want physical access to branches. They want physical access to bankers. Branches just happen to be where we keep them.” While mobile/online banking, bill pay and ATM networks offer tremendous convenience, they will never replace the personal assistance of a human being at a branch.

Key Takeaway: Not much shows that you value your members’ time more than allowing them to book appointments with your staff – this is truly service with a personal touch. We’ve made it easy and affordable to implement one-on-one appointments with your CU’s branch employees by using our Better Lobby Mobile Appointment Booking Tool.

Blending your branch and digital channels

Accenture, the multinational management consulting services company, surveyed more than 4,000 retail bank customers in the US and Canada and uncovered these attitudes about using branches  :

  • 87% indicated they will continue to use the branch in the future
  • 49% said they anticipated using the branch two years from now because “I trust my bank more when speaking to someone in person”
  • 47% said “I receive more value from my bank when speaking to someone in person”

The report concludes that “banks need to find ways to blend the digital and branch experiences to provide more value-added services to their clients.” We concur wholeheartedly with this assessment, and this is why we developed our popular Mobile Appointment Booking Tool.

Key Takeaway: One of the best ways to blend the digital and branch channels is to allow your members to book appointments with your branch employees via their mobile device or on their PC.

Video is coming to all channels

Some observers contend that video banking will be the next chapter in a credit union’s digital transformation. Research co-sponsored by Efma and Vidyo found that nearly 80% of all surveyed FIs plan to offer video-enabled banking services.

Respondents noted that regardless of the channel (mobile, desktop, branch or ATM), the most important capabilities for video banking services were:

  1. click-to-call
  2. call scheduling
  3. call recording
  4. call escalation

In preparation for this transformation and to help address item 2 above, we developed Better Lobby Video Meeting Queue Module (VMQ).

Key Takeaway: Now is the time for credit unions to start working on their video implementations and a perfect first step is to look at Better Branches Branch Video Meeting VMQ solution that provides the member service management component missing from many video conferencing systems.

Millennial Branch Traffic Integrates Mobile

A recent BI Intelligence Digital Banking survey revealed that 75% of millennials either never visit branches or do so once a month or less; however, 62% of millennials still find some value in branches, which led the researchers to conclude that FIs must strive to find the right balance between digital and in-branch services.

Our Better Lobby Mobile Appointment Booking Tool is the perfect solution for striking this balance. With a few taps on their mobile device, members can book an appointment at the branch that is most convenient for them and at time that ensures virtually no waiting. On the back end, the appointments flow seamlessly into credit union employees’ calendars so they are fully prepared to engage with the member and quickly address the reason for their branch visit.

Key Takeaway: Credit unions that roll out mobile functionality that forms a bridge to their branch networks will be making a move that positively impacts the member experience, branch sales, and overall staffing productivity.

Brochures or Digital Signage?

Many credit union marketing departments are foregoing brochures for in-branch digital signage. This trend is noticeable in credit unions of all sizes. Case in point: Laramie, WY-based UniWyo Federal Credit Union, which has $271M in assets and about 24,000 members, recently replaced paper brochures in their lobbies with screens.

We have addressed this trend head on with the release of our Branch Queue Display module which is the latest addition to our industry leading Better Lobby management platform. Because we developed this module to be responsive, credit unions can run it on virtually any screens that they have in their branches.

Key Takeaway: it makes perfect sense to combine digital marketing with the ability to show waiting visitors their place in the queue. It visually demonstrates to your members that you are a technologically advanced credit union that places a high value on your members’ time during each branch visit.