Amplify Your Member Outreach Strategies with Three Key Tips

CUNA Mutual Group outlines ways credit unions can use data to provide meaningful assistance to members as they shift to financial recovery.

2/23/2021

No two credit union members will experience the economic impact of COVID-19 in exactly the same way. That’s why it’s so important for credit unions to adhere to the principles of segmentation and personalization when performing pandemic recovery outreach. 

In addition to strategizing around individual members, credit unions must also think about the moment. As people look to recovery, their needs will inevitably evolve. Two-way communication enriched by data insights is critical for credit unions to provide the right outreach to the right members at the right time. 

According to Strategic Link partner, CUNA Mutual Group, regardless of a credit union’s current level of analytics maturity, there are basic tenets of business intelligence they can tap into right now for relevant, meaningful assistance to members. Here are a few ideas:

Leverage First-Party Data

The credit union industry is a tapestry of divergent financial cooperatives. This distinctiveness from credit union to credit union means the member data you hold within your own systems is robust and full of intelligence potential. While it’s true that intelligence can be made richer through the integration of third-party data, doing so is not a prerequisite to providing relevant and targeted assistance to your members. 

Use the data you already have to identify the members who most likely need to hear from you first. Look at things like direct deposit histories to quickly identify those members who have experienced a radical or sudden drop off in income. Check out employer groups to find members who work for organizations in particularly hard-hit industries. Even age or race/ethnicity can point you in the right direction, as there are populations that have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and its economic effects. 

Customize Recovery Plans 

Design distinct recovery plans based on a number of persona segments. That number will depend on the human and analytics resources you have at your disposal. Credit unions with larger relationship or outbound calling teams can tackle many more segments than those with smaller staffs. You may choose to segment by employment status, debt-to-income ratio or products (e.g., mortgage, indirect loan, deposit). 

After your segments are built, begin outreach to a small group of members to gauge their level of stress and identify their biggest pain points. Be strategic about which staff members reach out to which credit union members; faster connections are often made when people are speaking with someone who can relate. For example, it might be difficult for a millennial to understand the financial situation of someone nearing retirement. From there, craft a scalable recovery plan that can work across the segment. Make engagement with the plan manageable by rolling out bite-sized goals in phases. Most importantly, check in with different members throughout the process to ensure the plan is working for them. Adjust where necessary.

Be Transparent

Many financial providers — credit unions and beyond — have created loan modification programs to help consumers cope with personal economic crises related to the pandemic. Some of these programs are friendlier than others in terms of down-the-road consequences. No doubt, your credit union’s member-centric assistance strategies were designed to help, not harm. However, you still want to be sure members understand the risks, if any, of taking advantage of these programs. There may be members in your credit union who are delinquent for the first time in their lives; information you may consider “the basics” of debt management may be brand new concepts to them. One call from you could prevent a desperate member from visiting a predatory payday lender. 

Prioritize your outreach to first communicate with those members who have already enrolled in your assistance program(s). Your goal with this group is twofold: Primarily, you want to determine whether the assistance helped and to what degree; second, you want to ensure the member fully understands any negative consequences that may pop up if they are not adequately addressed. Of course, your outreach should also provide detailed guidance on how to avoid those outcomes.  

Maya Angelou famously said that people will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. This is at the core of the credit union experience. Consumers have greater choice for financial providers today than ever before. The ones who join a credit union do so because they want to be seen and heard — to be an individual who is, at the same time, part of something larger. 

Lean on your compassionate team members and unique member intelligence to deploy human-to-human, yet data-driven, outreach. It’s how you’ll create those experiences members can truly feel and won’t soon forget.

To learn more about CUNA Mutual Group, visit its partner page online or contact the Strategic Link team.