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The digital imperative

November 23, 2020
A woman sitting while holding a tablet

By Jeffrey Dillon

The digital evolution continues to advance at a sometimes dizzying pace. New fintechs seem to appear on an almost daily basis. Meanwhile, successful start-ups are joining forces with established companies, expanding their capabilities and potential reach.

Consumer behavior is telling companies that they want and need fast, easy and simple solutions to manage their busy lives.

  • 60% of all smartphone owners use mobile banking1
  • 82% of 18 to 24 year-old smartphone owners use mobile banking1
  • 41% of U.S. consumers own a voice-activated device (Virtual Assistant)2
  • 77% of Virtual Assistant owners connect their devices to their smartphone3

The result is a rapid growth in consumer choice, offering unprecedented access to products and services, while elevating convenience and simplicity in importance over price, features and benefits. The opportunity for companies, including financial services and insurance firms, is the ability to deliver value like never before. As you develop and implement your digital strategy, consider these three factors.

The connected consumer

Your members are connected like never before, to the point that a website almost feels like “old-school digital.” Younger members are likely to be “digital natives,” growing up in an environment moving beyond mobile to include voice, wearables, and the Internet of Things — all opening a whole new array of choices.

Continually identifying and providing the channels your members prefer is vital. If it’s not easy and convenient for them to do business with you, it doesn’t take much effort to find a competitor that will meet their expectations.

Channeling your inner data

Providing member-preferred channels is no easy task. Cost, expertise, and risk come into play. But weigh these factors against the value gained through each of touchpoint — data. Data is the ultimate insight engine when it comes to understanding the connected customer.

The key is to combine your existing data with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools, and skilled analytics to reveal member trends, behaviors and expectations down to an individual level. These insights allow you to deliver relevant, hyper-personalized offers and experiences that are valuable to the member, unique to your credit union, and differentiated from your competition.

Moving at the speed of digital

A digital-first, member-focused perspective is a core piece of strategic planning. While credit unions may understand this core objective, what may not be clear is how quickly and successfully the competition is moving.

  • Financial services and insurance companies are forecast to spend $12 billion on AI alone by 20214;
  • Digital disruptors are managing to siphon off 40% of incumbent revenue growth across industries5; and
  • By 2030, 80% of financial heritage services firms will go out of business, become commoditized or exist but be unable to compete.6

The scope and pace of change, along with mounting competitive pressures have created a digital imperative to act more quickly and decisively. It’s not about implementing technology, but rather establishing an organization-wide digital mindset and culture.

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