Digital Transformation: Know the ‘Why’ Behind Advancements

Five elements make up digital adoption, says Jim Phillips, executive vice president and CIO at SchoolsFirst FCU.
Five elements make up digital adoption, says Jim Phillips, executive vice president and CIO at SchoolsFirst FCU.

Improving digital capabilities is the top investment priority for financial services company leaders, according to Gartner research consulting firm, and the percentage of consumers using digital services will reach 80.4 percent by 2025 (up from 75.4 percent in 2021), eMarketer reports.

“Member who were reluctant to use digital services before the pandemic are staying in those channels,” said Jim Phillips, executive vice president and CIO at SchoolsFirst FCU at the 2022 Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Operations and Member Experience Council and CUNA Technology Council Conference in Las Vegas, NV in late September. “It’s critical to get it right.”

Phillips moderated the discussion during the conference. Joining him were Cindy Hancock, contact center director at Spokane Teachers CU (Liberty Lake, WA), and Carey Price, senior vice president of digital strategy and delivery (BCU in Vernon Hills, IL).

Phillips lists five elements of digital adoption:

  • Awareness. Do employees know about the technology, how to access it, and what it does?
  • Consideration. Do employees know where to find information about the technology and how to use it?
  • Learning. Have you provided flexible education options, including on-demand and live training?
  • Support. If employees have questions or problems, can you provide timely support?
  • Referral. Once staff have successfully used this technology, can they share their knowledge with others?

The increase in digital tools has made member interactions more complex, Phillips said. “The type of calls are more complex, longer, and difficult due to all of the digital options. In a way, the call center becomes part of your help desk.”

Equipping teams for digital advancements requires explaining the “why” for the improvements, Price noted. “We need to share the ‘why’ because their jobs might get more difficult. Talk about the benefit to members and the credit union. We as leaders know the why, and we need to explain that.”

BCU recently migrated to a new digital banking platform and brought in front-line staff early on to set up a change management workstream, Price said.

“We brought in people throughout the organization to ask critical questions up front,” Price said. “This was a big component of our digital journey.”

Other best practices for rolling out new digital technology:

  • Set up a playground in the demo site that lets employees see what they can expect. User testing also creates advocates for the upgrade in different departments.
  • Communicate early, often, and extensively. “We spent months communicating with employees and members,” Hancock said.
  • Provide in-person and self-guided training, as well as education via newsletters and videos.
  • Pre-enroll members to make the launch more effective.
  • Provide a feedback mechanism and a process for reporting the status of suggestions.

“We get lots of suggestions,” Phillis said. “It’s important to recognize them, and let people know where they are in the pipeline — or why they’re not.”

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