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15 posts categorized "Mobile"

August 22, 2013

Have you ever spent $1,000 on candy?

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by Jimmy Marks

[EDITOR'S NOTE -- Ron's off this week so we're throwing it over to Jimmy who's got a few things to say about Candy Crush Saga and the future of mobile games - and mobile money.]

I teased my wife mercilessly. I told her she was just wasting her time. I told her she looked like a crazy person, freaking out over a "game over" the way five-year-olds do when they're all out of Mario's.

She didn't hear a word of it. She was too busy playing Candy Crush Saga, a game where you line up different colored candies and they blow up and you line up other candies and...well, you're basically pattern-picking and trying to empty out rows and rows of brightly-colored candy. I thought it was juvenile. I thought it was stupid. 

Then, I played it. And WOW, is it ever fun

The game struck a nerve with me recently, though, when I started taking note of how often you're encouraged to "buy up". Extra lives are dangled in front of you when you've hit zero and you can always purchase more bonuses that will make the candy exploding a lot easier to manage. I'll admit it - I've dropped $0.99 on a five-pack of lives (to my wife, I offer my most heartfelt apologies). There are times when I can be reasonable and just put the game away until all my lives are replenished and I can play again. And then, there are times when I'm just too human and I cave.

I drew the line yesterday when, after reaching my newest level, I was told I had to complete three side-quests to keep playing. I could do this one of three ways: 

  1. Get on Facebook and bug my friends about it (more on that later...)
  2. Buy my way over to the next level for $1
  3. Play quests. You have to beat three small, short levels in order to move forward. You can only play one level in a 24-hour period. WHAT?!(more on THAT later, too...)

3r01rw

(Above: How I feel when I run out lives in Candy Crush.)

Continue reading "Have you ever spent $1,000 on candy?" »

May 09, 2013

Thinking Like a Software Company: Some Thoughts on Mobile, eWallets and Where We're Going

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 by Ron Daly 

I caught a look at this article from BankInnovation about Bank of America's mobile users. Recently, BofA Senior VP Marc Warshawsky disclosed that the number of mobile logins to their electronic banking services outnumbered the "online" logins (that is, from a personal computer) for the first time. Apparently, BofA customers can't get enough of the megabank's mobile apps. Warshawsky had a few words for how to manage mobile as smartphone penetration increases.

From the article:

How should banks approach mobile? “Think like a software company,” Warshawsky said. But he added a word of caution to developers: “Not everything is the right thing to do for customers just because you can do it.”

A sharp observation. But I wonder what he means by "think like a software company", especially when software companies aren't really "companies" these days - some are just a handful of developers, or even one developer, working remotely to make an app. Hard for a company as large as BofA to tell other large institutions that the key to success is thinking small and light, don't you think?

To try and expand on this very small soundbite and think it out a bit, I made some notes. Tell me if you agree or not: 

Step 1: Function first, form second, platform third

If I were a developer, I would want to create a product first and foremost. What's the pain I'm trying to salve over with this app? Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper, had a single goal in mind: make articles easy to read when you're able to read them. He worked hard to create the code that would strip out all the ads from an article and present the information in a way that was easy on the eyes (Instapaper makes it easy to adjust brightness and font size - great for guys like me who love their iPad and hate having to find their glasses). He then brought that to bear on the iPhone, the Kindle, the computer monitor, the iPad...and now that he's sold a majority stake to BetaWorks, you'll likely see the app on every platform out there. But what makes it worth the time and money? Simple - it does one thing well on the back end and presents it beautifully on the front end, no matter which "front end" you're using.

Step 2: Change is good, and necessary, and (relatively) easy

There's a world of difference between the "software" we were used to in the 90's and early 00's and the "apps" we can't live without today. "Software" was a big, branded box of discs and booklets and download codes. Want to update that software? You need another box and another authenticity code and another set of booklets. And, most likely, you'll wait five years.

"Apps" live in our little icon squares and update every few weeks...maybe every few days. When developers find bugs or want to push updates, it happens quickly and, typically, efficiently. Adobe's taken note of this - their super-expensive and super-sought-after Creative Suite is going subscription, meaning updates and changes will be pushed automatically - no more buying upgrades to CS packages. Don't be afraid to upgrade your mobile offering when the time comes and be sure to focus on bug reports, breaks and user feedback.

Step 3: Find new ways to simplify and specialize

Malauzai, our mobile app partner for our My Virtual StrongBox app, has made a few headlines recently thanks to their common-sense approach to app development. River City FCU has a high number of Spanish-speaking members. The solution? A multi-lingual app that can serve both English- and Spanish-speaking markets effectively. Users complained about having to enter login credentials to check a balance. The solution? An app that will display balances and recent transactions without logging in but requires a full login for transactions. Simple, compliant, effective. 

Our own app's got some smart problem-solving features, too. Some folks don't have scanners and want to make electronic copies of paper documents. Solution? Take a picture with your iPad's camera app and it stores the image in your online safe deposit space. Simple!

Step 4: Always be closing...er, opening, that is.

Warshawsky warns against overwhelming users with too much functionality in an app. While you may not want to jam every possible user action into your mobile app, you should definitely leave yourself open to opportunity. If a member checks in three times a day, how can you be sure they'll be seeing what they "should be" seeing? That is, how can you make certain that when a member's ready to move on a home loan or an auto loan, they think of you first? Better get smart about giving people clear paths to a deeper relationship.



Apps are a way to keep current and bring mobile convenience to members. They are, however, just another mile-marker on the road to mobile dominance in our culture. What happens when that much-discussed "mobile wallet" hits the member's hands? Are you going to be an important player, or an obstacle to progress? How can you be sure you won't be left behind? 

Talk to us about it in the comments.

March 20, 2013

eManners: What Does "Polite" Look Like Nowadays?

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by Ron Daly 

It's always interesting to read an article that challenges convention, then see the blow-back from that article, then see the author's response to the blow-back. With so much media to manage these days, conversations and commentary come out of the woodwork. If they don't reply on your blog, they'll reply on their blog. Or on Twitter. Or on Facebook. Or by phone. Or right up in your face. 

Take, for instance, this opinion piece by Nick Bilton in the New York Times. It's a piece that rails against the "Thank You!" email, the voice mail where a text message should go, the use of friends to answer a question that's made for Google. 

Really, who sends an e-mail or text message that just says “Thank you”? Who leaves a voice mail message when you don’t answer, rather than texting you? Who asks for a fact easily found on Google?

Don’t these people realize that they’re wasting your time?

As you might expect, the lament of a 36-year-old super-geek didn't sit well with readers, many of whom are from a generation removed - one that emphasized penmanship, greeting cards and always saying "please" and "thank you". 

Do I really care about "Thank You" emails? No, not really. They're nice to get, and if they have more information or want to continue a conversation, why not? But I'm not going to lose sleep, nor should anyone looking for a reply from me be upset if I just move forward with the next steps after I get an email with an "action item". 

Bilton again, with a worthwhile consideration: 

How to handle these differing standards? Easy: think of your audience. Some people, especially older ones, appreciate a thank-you message. Others, like me, want no reply. “It is important to think about who the relationship is with,” Mr. [Daniel Post] Senning said.

Audience, audience, audience. The number one consideration in marketing, business, sales, collections, consultations, etc. You have to remember to whom you're talking. 

Based on the reactions he got, you might think Mr. Bilton hasn't considered his audience's reaction. Spoiler alert: they got mad. They called Bilton a "sociopath" (no, really), irrational, impatient, sad...they really didn't like the idea that he didn't want to talk to his mother directly, but rather via Twitter. Bilton later explained that his mother lives in England and, as a San Francisco resident, he couldn't call her at any hour that was convenient for both of them, so they rely on Twitter to fill in the gaps. He talks about how he does, in fact, hand-write thank you notes to friends and relations. But too late - the audience had made up their minds.

Bilton says he doesn't mind being "the punching bag" for people his age. He did lament, however, the extremes people go to when they react to something they don't like. They talk about how disgustingly disconnected from reality he must be to dislike a "thank you" message. Bilton replies that the stewards of Emily Post's legacy of good manners insist that, yes, you should consider the audience when crafting a reply. Some people will love a "thanks!", some won't. Some people will want a voice mail, some will just delete it. 

And then Bilton made a really terrific point about who trains whom in our culture. It used to be that older people taught younger people everything. As technology advances and people develop skills at different ages, it's clear that education moves in two directions: up and down the years, each generation having something to offer the other. 

I had to learn to text if I wanted to get an answer to a simple question out of my kids. My younger employees come to me if they want my input about business or finance. We have many ways of communicating and we all have things we need to get done, so we all have to adjust our methods from time to time to make it work. 

Now...let's talk about "what you've always done" and member communication. 

The truth is, things change. People want to converse and conduct business in different ways, and the methods they use are changing all the time. But in embracing changes, consider the audience's reaction to your messages. Maybe one group really loves hearing from you every month. Maybe one group wants a phone call every once in a while. Maybe there are outliers - people who have adopted new ways of handling all of their inputs and have rolled with the changes. 

Pay attention. Knowing how to talk to people is critical to a credit union marketer/manager's livelihood. Knowing when to say something and what to say is so important, and just as important, knowing when to quit talking and let people get back to their lives. 

My Pet Peeve: When you use an online chat or a toll-free line for customer support and people keep pushing the script on you when you've made it very clear that you're done. 

Me: "Well, thank you, that's all."

Them: "Okay, Mr. Daly, is there anything else I can help you with today?"

Me (in my brain): "Are you not listening? Or are you just forced to do this, like a robot?"

Me: "No, that's it."

Them: "Okay, thank you for calling our help line. You can reach us online any time at www..."

Me (in my brain again): "Come ON, just say goodbye and hang up the phone."

I like dealing with people, not people ordered to act like a computer. Here's my dream customer service call.

Me: "Well, thank you, that's all I needed."

Them: "Okay, Mr. Daly. Have a good afternoon."

Me: "Okay, bye!"

I've had maybe three of these calls in my life. And I make a lot of calls. 

All it takes is a little listening. People unsubscribe from your newsletter? Fine, but make a note of that. Don't chalk it up as "this person's not interested"...find a way into their lives that works for them and you. It exists, I'm sure. 

And when they talk, listen. And when they reply, read it thoroughly. And when they care, you should care, too. 

Don't let technology fool you into thinking that etiquette and thoughtfulness don't mean anything, to any given age group. Treat members with respect and you'll earn theirs. 

And for what it's worth? You should call your mom on the phone. Unless she's totally into Facebook now. 

February 15, 2013

Conventional Wisdom Vs. Real, Actual Wisdom

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by Ron Daly

There's what people know, and then there's what people "know". 

And whaddayaknow? Typically, they're complete opposites. 

 You see, there's "conventional wisdom" - what people think they know based on their personal experience - and then there's "real, actual wisdom". "Real, actual wisdom" typically shows up in the form of unbiased research with clear results. Is it more "trusted"? No, not likely, because nobody wants to feel like they're wrong. But it is a reflection of the truth. 

What got me going on all this is a recent Nielsen Group study on teens and technology. Now, "conventional wisdom" tells us that teens are wired and great with technology. What does the "real, actual wisdom" tell us? 

Teens are not technowizards who surf the web with abandon. And they don’t like sites laden with glitzy, blinking graphics. Teens are often stereotyped as only wanting things that are bold and different. They’re also often viewed as being fearless about technology and constantly connected to some form of media. Although this might be partially true, it’s an oversimplification and letting this steer your design can lead to disastrous outcomes.

The study Nielsen conducted focused on the ability of teenagers to gather information and see a process through online. What did the study find? That teens had poor patience and attention spans, poor reading skills, and bad research methods. They weren't as good at finding the info and making the right decisions based on what they found. 

The study goes on to talk about what works with teens and what fails. What works?

  • Smart, concise writing
  • Large, readable fonts and big images (to compensate for small screens)
  • Self-selecting social and email (yes, email) options. 

Wait, that sounds like a list of things older users would like!

Not to sound like a teen, but...DUH. 

Who doesn't like reading things that are easy to understand? Who doesn't like a website that's built large enough to read and use? Who doesn't like to have the option to not socialize every single online interaction? 

A little research goes a long way. For a while, when I would describe our newest product, My Virtual StrongBox, the people I talked to would tell me that their older users wouldn't like it. After pulling demographic information for  My Virtual StrongBox's users, we discovered that use was highest among ages 30-39, and second highest – yep, you guessed it – among users in their 40s and 50s. "Conventional wisdom" made it seem like a product built for Gen-Y. "Real, actual wisdom" proved the real market had a touch of gray. 

Long story short? Take the time to ask, to record, to report, to study – to really, truly know.

Then, act.

February 07, 2013

The Pocket Merger: Your Phone is Becoming Your Wallet. Will Your CU Be Prepared?

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by Ron Daly 

I'm an iPhone guy. When most of my peers were pecking away at a Blackberry hard-key, I was tapping and swiping my touchscreen wonder-phone. I'm currently working with an iPhone 4s, having bequeathed my old phone to one of my kids (who dropped her iPhone and shattered the screen). 

As someone who sits watching at the cross section of technology and finance, I'm fascinated by the idea of the "mobile wallet". I read a little more about it every day and, despite all my reading, I'm not quite sure what to think. Yes, interest is growing, but it's still small. Yes, the tech advancements are impressive, but also scattered between the people who were already handling payments (Visa, Mastercard and the like) and the start-ups (or is it "upstarts"?) out to stake their claim (Paypal, Square, Isis). Cheap, plastic doodads jut out of your phone that let you physically swipe a credit card with your smart phone. Suddenly, your smart phone's a wallet AND a cash register.

And a bank account? Time will tell, I suppose, if the merger between your phone and your wallet puts CUs at risk.

I pulled a few recent articles about the topic that I think are worth reading: 

Mobile Monday: Square Wallet Provides a Sneak Peek at the Future of Proximity Payment (Jim Bruene, NetBanker, full story here)

"And all your previous transactions, with full itemized receipts, are available within the Square app... It's truly the future of payments available for a sneak peek today. I highly recommend giving the Square Wallet a try."

Are Bankers Ready for The Bank 3.0 Reality? (Jim Marous, JD Power Banking Blog, full story here)

"[Quote from Brett King] The problem is that there are so many start-ups in the financial services and payments space that are impacting the way people view financial services that significant technology projects need to be undertaken by traditional banks just to keep pace. Investing in a technology layer, combined with the new costs of compliance, will be a challenge for smaller institutions. That doesn’t eliminate the potential for smaller organizations to collaborate or to build partnerships to respond to market realities, but I don’t see this happening."

Will You Be Ready When Mobile Wallets Turn Banking Upside Down? (Jeffry Pilcher, The Financial Brand, full story here)

"No matter what consumers today say they think of mobile wallets today, mobile wallets will triumph. Why? Because mobile wallets will simplify consumers’ lives in very personal and relevant ways. For starters, they eliminate the nuisance of thick, cluttered wallets. They also reduce the transmission of germs, because they eliminate  plastic cards, pens/signatures, touchscreens and keypads."

Mobility Matters: The Mobile Wallet Wars (Robert McGarvey, cutimes.com, full story here)

"If you are skeptical about digital wallets know that the skeptics may outnumber believers, at least among financial services executives. Forward motion towards wider wallet adoption has seemingly gotten just about nowhere in the past year. Few consumers have ever used one, few mobile devices have a digital wallet capability, and not many more retailers are equipped to accept them anyway.

But ask the experts and their advice is consistent: ignore digital wallets at your own risk because they are the future.

That clock is ticking."

Stop Spewing Mobile Wallet BS (The irrepressible Ron Shevlin, at Snarketing 2.0; full story here)

"If I've learned anything about doing consumer research it’s this: You can’t ask consumers their opinions about things that they don’t know. So, feel free to publicize your research about which mobile wallets are most popular with consumers, if you want, but I’m not buying any of it."

What are your feelings on the topic? Are you eager to pay for things with your smartphone? Think it's trouble brewing? Tell us more in the comments. 

November 14, 2012

Too Many Text Messages Might Make Some Unhappy People Into Millionaires

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by Ron Daly 

Papa John's is staring down the barrel of a lawsuit that might cost them $250 million...all over a few dozen text messages. Talk about your overage charges. 

According to CNN Money, the plaintiffs in the suit were bombarded by fifteen or sixteen unsolicited text messages apiece, coming one after another, even into the middle of the night. The fault was allegedly that of text message provider OnTime4U, with whom "Papa" immediately broke any and all ties. The frequency of these messages is one thing, but the other? Apparently, none of the recipients opted in for these communications. Naughty, naughty...

In another, slightly more ridiculous suit, a Buffalo Bills fan is suing the team for receiving three more text messages than he was told he would receive on sign-up. No specific amount of money is being sought in this suit, but the preceeding linked article suggests the offended party be given a batch of buffalo wings and some beer.

My take, as a Skins fan? That's what you get for liking the Bills. Yuck.

Now, I'm no lawyer, but I think there are a few laws here that everyone should abide. Maybe not "legal" laws, but let's call them "marketing laws". They are as follows:

  1. "The Edgar Allan Poe Law of Electronic Marketing" - If you say a subscriber will only receive a certain number of messages per week, only send that number of messages per week. Or less. Never more. (Get it?) And really, it's best to not be super-strict with a delivery schedule unless you're absoltuely certian you can keep to it/not overshoot.

  2. "The Law of Emotions" - Always consider the attachments people have to certain methods of communication. According to this WebMD story, 46% of adult consumers own smartphones and many feel a deep, emotional attachment to the same. It's not hard to imagine that people get upset when their phone fills up with unsolicited, unnecessary messages. If you have an inbox full  of multiple promotional emails from the same source, you're likely to unsubscribe, right? Imagine how awful that is when there are fifteen text messages and no clear-cut way to unsubscribe.

  3. "The Opt-In Law" - If there were an electronic marketing "Ten Commandments", this one would be at the top of the first tablet. Opt-in beats opt-out any day of the week. Making sure the user has made a clear, deliberate choice to sign up for your marketing messages and, if they haven't taken the necessary steps (following up on an email double-opt-in process, for example), don't send them one darn thing. Period. End of sentence.

I've based a lot of my reasoning on what I know to be true for email marketing. The rules are new and pretty vague when it comes to mobile, but the rules for email marketing make good guidelines for mobile as well. If anything, be stricter with how you use text messages for marketing. It can help you avoid a lot of angry members, or even worse, legal action.

And now, after writing this, I have an overwhelming desire to eat some pizza and buffalo wings. 

But I'm still not a Bills fan. 

 

October 24, 2012

Self-Service Is About The Member [Live on CreditUnions.com]

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[This article is live on CreditUnions.com, but we thought we'd share it here to make sure you didn't miss it.]

Banking technologies are continuing to evolve and their influence on the way financial institutions do business is skyrocketing. Not so long ago, direct deposit, audio voice response and online bill payment were the next big thing in financial services, but now they rarely turn heads.

Today, technology trends are following consumers’ growing desire to bank when and where they want, led by more than 75 million Gen Y customers. Members want mobile banking with deposit capability, and access to smart ATMs and self-service kiosks, inaddition to onlineand traditional delivery channels. And they expecttheircredit unions to keep pace.

That’s a good thing because satisfying members’ demand clearly benefits credit unions. Credit unions of all sizes are replacing or augmenting traditional teller windows with self-service kiosks and remote teller systems, some with video access. They’re seeing improved efficiencies and lower operating costs – along with the twin member benefits of greater convenience and less  wait time. For most, the shift toward self-service devices and applications is no longer a question of if, but when.

Yet, most people still want some form of face-to-face interaction, along with easy access. Even Gen Y prefers F2F for advice, financial planning or other money matters they’re unsure about, according to a 2010 Oracle study. For credit unions, that presents an opportunity and a challenge. How do you get on board with convenient, cost-saving technology while keeping the relationship-building service that has long been your credit union’s hallmark?


Read more at the CreditUnions.com website.

 

September 06, 2012

The Crystal Ball: Will Fewer Credit Unions and More Technology Make a Better Industry?

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by Ron Daly 

If you don't spend a few coffee breaks each week reading The Financial Brand, you're doing yourself a disservice. Jeffry Pilcher, One-Man-Journalistic-Juggernaut, does a great job breaking down the industry from either side - banks, credit unions, and beyond. Best of all, there's really something for everybody. Finance folks? Check. Marketers? Check. Fortune tellers? 

...wait, fortune tellers

Jeffry Pilcher has spent this past week showing us a glimpse of the future...and it might be a little scary for some. 

One article that's turned a lot of heads is "Credit Union Industry Outlook: 5 Years Back, 20 Years Forward". In it, Pilcher predicts that, at the current rate of retraction/"asset shift", half of all credit unions around today will be gone by 2032. The smaller credit unions are dying, hemorrhaging members and losing assets year after year. The larger credit unions keep growing, grabbing up new members and more assets and swallowing smaller credit unions. The bright side? Credit unions will continue to add members AND assets, growing into a stronger, if much smaller, force. Branch growth is slowing for the big guys, and is actually negative for smaller credit unions. 

Now, anyone can tell you the future is tricky to pin down, especially on only five years of evidence. But the reasoning behind Pilcher's prediction is strong and it's not impossible to imagine the industry going this way. Not disappearing, mind you - this isn't any indication that credit unions are dying/are dead. But things aren't looking great for "the little guy". 

I'm not a biologist, but I'm reminded of one of the important parts of evolutionary theory - "only the strong survive". It stands to reason that credit unions with billions in assets will be well set for the next two decades, but what of those with "just enough"? How will credit unions with only a few hundred million (or much less) keep their edge? 

Pilcher's second hum-dinger article of the week, "Killer Online Services Can Level The Playing Field For Smaller Institutions", talks about the relationships people have with smaller institutions versus the "big banks". The trade-off used to be convenience for high-quality service. The game changer, according to this article, is great online banking. The study mentioned in the article shows that online banking penetration for the CUs studied is 73% and that 85%  members surveyed rate their OLB experience as "excellent". 

Recall the first article mentioned in this post. If branches aren't practical to build and members are willing to do most of their banking online, shouldn't you have a virtual branch that really screams? Yes, yes you should. I've been saying as much for years.  

It's nice to hear someone else singing the same tune. Tim Bunch of CapEd FCU wrote a great guest piece on the Financial Brand about turning your online branch (mobile, browser, et. al) into your flagship branch. It's a brilliant article, written by a person who knows what they're talking about in the realm of online development because, hey, he's doing it first hand. His take:

Sadly, online banking doesn’t get the same internal treatment as a physical branch. It’s often something that we like to “set and forget”. It tends to be viewed as an inanimate object. We think of it like a hammer. When our members want to use this hammer, they pick it up and hammer away. But in reality, online banking has so much more potential. We need to stop thinking of it as a tool, and start thinking of it as a branch. Then, add the tools needed to make it an effective branch.

Some of the things Bunch thinks are critical in making the best online branch possible:

  • Pre-filled loan applications
  • Targeted marketing
  • Easy account management/PFM

If I can add a few of my own?

  • Switch kits that actually handle all the action of switching 
  • Single sign-on to other services
  • Wealth management tools/secure document storage and management

The crystal ball always shows a murky picture. It might be that more credit unions survive than predicted, it might be fewer. But what will all the survivors have in common? I'm betting they'll all have a strong focus on mobile and online convenience, a few helpful branches and a commitment to helping their members for the long run. 

Got an insight? Leave it for us in the comment section. 

July 10, 2012

They'd Like to Leave, You'd Like to Have Them…Technology's the Bridge

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by Ron Daly

When we started this blog, we wanted to call it "CU Soapbox" because it was meant to be a place to stand up and shout about the industry. I've been doing a little "shouting" recently and I thought I'd make it a point to do the same on this blog, because hey, this is the right place, isn't it? 

I've done a little reading about a recent Javelin study about big-bank customers and why they want to make the switch to another FI...but don't. The Financial Brand does a great job of making all this digestible and points out one very important piece of information: 40% of surveyed consumers WON'T LEAVE their big bank because of that bank's online/mobile banking service. Do they want to leave? Yes, of course they do. Who wouldn't? Getting beaten by fees and losing a ton of money that you could hang on to would make anyone want to leave...what keeps them hanging on is the illusion of convenience. 

I say "illusion" because the kind of technology that would bend the bow in credit unions' favor is out there, and it can be had. We could be courting these on-the-fence big bank customers and their billions in collected assets. Why aren't we? 

I believe there are two problems:

  1. We're not promoting the technology/convenience we have and already offer, and
  2. We're not positioning ourselves to bring in the technology that levels the playing field. 

 I wrote two articles recently that sum up my thoughts on the topic. Go read: 

Then, start asking yourself the four major questions that need to be answered, and fast:

Question 1: "Are our current members utilizing the online services we offer, and if not, why?"

The best and easiest research to conduct for yourself is on your own member base. If you have 10,000 members and only 1,000 are using online banking, what could be done to get more people to sign up and start using it? Maybe they already did and it was such an excruciating experience that they swore off of it (I can't imagine that happening, but who knows?). What can you do to make it right?

Question 2: "Is our website (or OLB/mobile app/email newsletter/social media feed) everything it should be?"

Websites need updates and overhauls. It comes with the territory. Marketing hates to hear that they have to write new copy and make new graphics and IT hates the hassle of creating and implementing sweeping changes. I have two words for both: tough toenails. If the site needs a face lift, give it one. If it needs a total reboot, give it one. Make it easy for interested outsiders (and undereducated insiders) to get all the information they need.

Question 3: "What next-generation technology would best suit our members?"

Audience is everything. If you serve a member base that's always on the move (military, air travel industry, etc.), why not include remote deposit capture and a smartphone app? If you serve a large area that's tough to reach on foot, more drive-thru ATMs make sense, don't they? Don't just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks...make an informed decision for the member.

Question 4: "Who's in charge?"

So often, technological advances and purcahses are made without clear goals in mind, or anyone to enforce them. Set expectations and meet them. It's not difficult and it means there's a person driving these endeavors from the inside. 

Final Thought

Did you ever hear the riddle about the frog in the well? 

A frog falls into a well, 20 feet deep. Every morning, he wakes up and hops three feet up the side of the well. Every evening, he falls asleep and slides back two feet. How many days does it take him to get out of the well? 

The answer: Considering he jumps three feet every day and falls two feet each night, it would take him eighteen days to get within three feet of the top. Then, on the nineteenth day, he'd jump three feet and clear the well. So simple it's complicated, right? 

Let's put a CU-spin on this. If a credit union gains ten members a month and loses nine by the end of the month, how long will it take that credit union to compete with Bank of America in terms of sheer numbers? 

The answer: You can't compete with BofA on locations. You can't compete on "number of members vs. number of customers". Their product offering is too abundant, their reach is too wide and too far. Where you can compete is on an emotional level -making a lasting impact on your member. You can also compete on member service. You can also compete on rates. You can even compete on technology...provided you're willing to make it happen. 

Start jumping.

May 01, 2012

Still don't have a social media policy? Bet you'll write one after this...

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by Ron Daly 

Yeah, I know. You're tired of getting poked and prodded and constantly reminded that you need to hurry up and implement your social media policy. After all, you don't even use Facebook or Twitter or YouTube or Pinterest or FourSquare or...whatever else there is. How important could it all be? 

What if an employee was shooting videos of your member's feet? 

You balk. That's ridiculous, you're thinking. What kind of person would go around shooting videos of people's feet

A credit union employee, that's who. From the Financial Brand:

The Financial Brand first learned about this series of shocking and offensive videos when one popped up on an automated Google Alert for “credit union” + “YouTube.” Someone under the YouTube handle marajohn1123 had posted an odd video of a female credit union co-worker’s toes. When a similar Google Alert was triggered for another video, this time of a member’s toes, it was clear that a credit union somewhere had a serious problem with a serial voyeur.

Presently, there are over 100 videos of women’s feet, all shot spycam style without the knowledge and approval of the victim. Based on information revealed in the videos, the videos were likely shot in and around a suburb of Atlantic City.

The credit union employee appears to be a loan officer or similar member service rep, but that doesn’t stop him from leaving his desk to film members’ toes at the branch ATM.

This is a gross abuse of trust. The emphasis in that last passage is mine - Jeffry Pilcher did a little detective work around which credit union might be employing this voyeur. He's narrowed it down to a few possible places. I'm hoping at least one employee there has the intelligence to figure out who this might be and bring this to the attention of the management. Because where does it stop? 

Think about it for a minute. Most of the videos in that story appear to be shot on a smart phone. What happens when it's not feet they're recording, but credit card and debit numbers? Checking account numbers and balances? Still not seeing a problem? 

I don't want to dismiss what's being done here - taking video of someone without their knowledge is wrong. Add to that the fact that these are being used to feed a fetish (one assumes), you're talking about not only a breach of trust, but serious damage to the CU's reputation. This employee should be fired, full stop. 

"On what grounds?", you ask. 

And THAT'S why you need a social media policy. Now. Today. 

As Jeffry said in a comment further down on this same post

If you don’t have one yet, this kind of situation should illustrate the gravity of need. If an employee posted something that you wouldn’t want on social channels — not necessarily stuff as bad/potentially illegal as what Marcus did, but bad just the same — a social media policy can give your organization the legal leverage you need to deal with the problem swiftly and without complications.

But where to begin? This article from Credit Union Magazine is a great resource to get you started. Their list of best practices covers a lot of ground. 

  • Define social media usage expectations clearly in your policy;
  • State that employees may only access social websites consistent with the credit union’s security protocols (i.e., they may not circumvent information technology security protocols);
  • Educate staff on the risks of exposing confidential information about their employer, other employees, volunteers, and members;
  • Monitor social media use via credit union resources;
  • Outline expectations for reporting policy violations;
  • Enforce policy violations in a nondiscriminatory manner;
  • State that retaliation for reporting violations is not tolerated; and
  • Define personal off-duty use of social media. For example, supervisors should not “friend” their direct reports due to the potential sharing of personal information.

A word on the "monitor" part of that equation - the employee who was shooting these videos was, as I said above, most likely doing this via smart phone. That doesn't use the credit union's data network - that's technically external use. If you aren't watching out for threats internally and externally, you're doing yourself - and the members who might be at risk - a disservice. 

Click here to sign up for a free webinar on social media monitoring.