Credit unions face many challenges as channels diversify and members demand digital options. According to a recent Experian QAS survey, financial institutions are operating through an average of four different channels, the most popular being the organization's website.
While these new channels are exciting endeavors, many credit unions are experiencing problems with collecting accurate contact data. According to that same data, 91% of financial institutions suspect their customer/member and prospect data might be inaccurate in some way. On average, respondents think that as much as 18% of their data might be inaccurate. Even worse, another 27% of respondents are unsure how much of their data is inaccurate.
Credit unions need to come up with ways to improve data accuracy across channels, but especially in digital channels that are not necessarily controlled by the institutions. Information collected in these channels is used for member on-boarding, communications, lending applications and much more. Since most of these processes start shortly after information is collected, it is very important that the credit union ensure the accuracy of information at the point of capture.
One method for improving data accuracy is to eliminate the possibility for human error, which 65% of respondents in a recent study cited as the main cause of data inaccuracies.
Combating The Problem
There are several ways credit unions can combat this issue.
1. Identify data entry points. Credit unions need to understand how information enters their system and through what means. Consider all channels and data entry points so a full data workflow can be created. Then prioritize projects based on high-volume channels or excessive data quality errors.
2. Utilize automated verification processes. Software solutions can be leveraged to prevent inaccurate information, like poor address and e-mail contact details, from entering the database. It is important to incorporate software solutions in digital channels, as this is the only way to ensure self-entered information is completely accurate.
Credit unions can use two main types of software implementations. The best method is to implement software at the point of entry, in the branch or directly in an online banking portal. In this instance, when a member enters information, they are prompted for any missing information and accuracy is ensured right away.
The other option is to run a nightly batch clean. This allows CUs to clean all information taken that day and flag any missing or incorrect details. Credit unions can then reach out to the member the following business day to correct information. While this option doesn't change current collection processes, it does put extra work on back-end operations and can delay on-boarding and lending processes. However, ensure the accuracy of information prior to entering important business processes.
3. Incorporate technology that continues to clean information over time. Credit unions should regularly monitor databases. Even with software tools at the point of capture, regular database maintenance is required. Regular cleansing allows institutions to review information and make sure installed tools are still effectively managing data to the expected level of quality.
By taking these simple steps to improve data quality, credit unions can be confident that all channels are not only convenient for members, but also supply accurate and reliable information.
Member focus sets credit unions apart from other financial institutions. Credit unions should ensure they maintain accurate member contact information to ensure a positive experience for each and every member, leading to long-term relationships.
Thomas Schutz is SVP-general manager of Experian QAS. For info: www.experian.com.