Amazon’s “Buy now with 1-Click” made it so simple to have those noise-cancelling headphones on their way. PayPal asked “Was that easy?” as a simple gauge of success following the transfer of funds to a linked account. Even the TSA offered up “Happy or Not Happy” emojis to choose from as a gauge of the airport security check experience.

Simplicity and ease works in sales, delivery and experience. How are credit unions—of all sizes—making sales, service, and experiences uncomplicated and effortless for their members? Below are practical and proven ideas and methods where dozens of different credit unions are succeeding, offering insights to help your credit union make simplicity a strategy for all aspects of your operations.

• Give your members the option of deciding how, where and when they want to use the CU. Robust self-service features through technology (mobile banking, remote deposit capture, person-to-person payments, mobile loan applications and funding, live chat, video chat and more) give your members access to you in real time. Better yet, you can provide connection to their credit union on their time.

• Multi-device access (computer, tablet and smart phone) screams for a seamless experience across each device. In short— the look, feel and utility of each platform should be uniform, allowing members equal access and use. Many credit unions also offer single sign-on features for online and mobile banking systems, allowing members to conduct more business across product lines and partner relationships. Simplicity can drive sales and product use.
• Personal Teller Machines (PTMs) can help extend your hours of service without increasing staff coverage at all branches. Centralized tellers help handle member transactions across your branch footprint, and PTMs serve as ATMs in the off-hours. While your members may be too far from your branches during the day, PTMs offer a way to provide the same level of live, professional service before they begin and after they end their professional days. “A branch on every corner” becomes “a branch at every hour.”

• While abundant self-service can accomplish much, occasionally, members need a live conversation. As you develop your front-line sales and service leaders, ensure each person holds the expertise, consultative abilities and sales talents to be the lead for the member’s complete experience. Member-facing colleagues are the CEOs of each transaction and can be the singular, simple and successful source of each member’s customized experience.

• Simplify your brand and marketing messages—for your members to understand and your staff leaders to deliver. In seven words or less, what do you do for your members? One CU said, “Earn More. Save More. Live More.” Every marketing message fills one of those needs, and every staff member recognizes how he or she fills a need at a day-to-day, transaction-by-transaction level. Strategy is understood, evident and accomplished at every level.
• Think like a member in your product development and rollout. It’s easy to get mired in the details of executive planning, design and execution—that’s our job, after all. But, what is the end experience like for your members? Many credit unions use focus and beta groups of members to “smooth the edges” before a member-wide deployment. However, more have a simple question on every agenda: “How does this improve the member experience?”

• Make the business of serving your members easier for your staff, too.
Whether it be software upgrades, process improvements or constant training on member service—it’s hard to extend simplicity when administration is complex. Consider eliminating rules, policies and procedures that complicate matters over time. Well-thought-out elimination of rules rarely raises risks, but often increases the member’s experience—leading to higher level of product use.

Several years back, researchers discovered that a customer’s ease of doing business with an enterprise was a better predictor of repeat and increased business than other common measures of loyalty. The easier a consumer’s experience, the more likely he or she would continue to purchase from a given business. As you design and deliver on your strategic and operating goals, ensure that the complexity of financial services is met with simplicity as you partner with your members. Their ease increases loyalty, acting as a catalyst for growth, engagement and profitability at your credit union.

Jeff Rendel is president of Rising Above Enterprises, a credit union consultancy focused on leadership, sales and strategy. He can be reached at jeff@jeffrendel.com or 951-340-3770.