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Tech Time: A Seamless Experience

June 2014 – Vol: 37 No. 6

Community Choice CU's new responsive website boosts member engagement across devices

June 25, 2014

Credit Union Management magazine’s Web-only “Tech Time” column runs the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Laptop, two tablets and a smartphoneImagine walking into your branch only to find that deposit and withdrawal slips are no longer available, and members must provide their own. Or, that a member made an appointment to open a new loan and cannot find the right person to help.

It sounds preposterous, but similar scenarios happen every day on e-channels. Regardless of how many services you offer on Web, mobile and tablet banking, they will only be used if members can find and decipher them.

Members are seeking a seamless banking experience; they want to use a consistent and easy-to-navigate site regardless of what device they choose. Any inconvenience or frustration may limit activity at first, and eventually drive members away.

Community Choice Credit Union recently introduced a new website to become more available and useful to its 50,000 members in southeast Michigan. The $491 million Farmington Hills-based CU launched a “responsive design” website that provides the best browser experience possible, regardless of the device. Responsive design recognizes whether it is being accessed via smartphone, tablet or computer, then provides the optimal formatting, graphics and performance for the screen of that device.

Member support and appreciation for the change were evident through the immediate increase in visitors. In the first six weeks of the site’s launch in February of this year, Community Choice CU’s mobile activity almost quadrupled, rising from 37,469 to 146,000 visitors when compared to the same time the year prior. Tablet and desktop activity doubled as well.

Scott Young, the CU’s integrated marketing communications project specialist, explains that the website visits could have increased because of improved search engine optimization. As more consumers shift their financial research to the Web, it is fundamental that credit unions show up on local searches. To enhance its online presence, Community Choice CU has embedded key words within its site throughout the headings, subheads and content. It also has clean URLs (www.communitychoicecu.com/business/checking vs. www.site.com/q?is=page23) for all of its subpages, helping search engines index and categorize its content. With these changes, it is now much easier for members and prospects to find the CU online.

Two months after the launch, Community Choice CU reports that e-banking users (members with active accounts) have increased by 10.9 percent and active mobile users (members who sign in monthly) by 4.5 percent. The CU’s active e-deposit users have also increased almost 50 percent, from 795 to 1,185. An active Facebook and Twitter feed on the homepage has brought a lot of attention to and participation in the CU’s social media efforts. Facebook traffic is up 21 percent and the credit union also increased its Twitter followers by 9.6 percent.  

“This site offers a clear and distinct path for taking action,” Young notes. “We designed the layout and process to best help a member navigate the activity or solution that he or she needs. As a result, we’re already seeing an increase in usage and exceeding our goals.”

The CU’s previous site offered many of same features, but members had difficulty finding what they needed. Teaming with ProfitStars to develop an entirely new workflow process to guide members though the site helped Young and his team provide members with the exact information wanted.

Beyond navigational changes, enhancements were made to ensure members get the information they are seeking. For instance, the “locations” page—which provides information on branch and ATM locations, hours and directions—can now search based on your current location and filter based on proximity and what services are available there. Such tools as a product and service selector and financial calculators are available to help members make decisions.

Community Choice CU received nearly 1,400 unique mobile visitors to its new scholarship page, announcing winners of the $100,000 that Community Choice Foundation awards annually to the area’s best and brightest students who pledge to remain in Michigan after college graduation.

“Having a fast and functional mobile presence draws a lot more attention from Millennial-focused initiatives. That is attention that we could have easily missed with our previous site,” Young adds.

Community Choice CU is making strides toward becoming a trusted resource for anything financial in its members’ lives. Offering a consistent, easy-to-navigate user website is a key factor.

Wade Arnold is managing director of ProfitStars (@ProfitStars). The company has launched and supports over 1,500 financial institution websites. More than 260 of these sites are formatted with responsive Web design, and that number is growing quickly.

Photocredit: dollarphotoclub.com/Welf Aaron

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