In Spring 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in full force, workers throughout the organizational charts of companies across every industry took an unexpected crash course in the new virtual way of doing business. Credit unions were no exception. The pandemic has forced them to reconsider virtual credit union experiences beyond the hypothetical.
Now that everyone is settling into their new roles and altered approaches, it’s an ideal time to make sure that teams are utilizing and getting the most out of the tools that are available to help them “up their game” in meeting member needs, improving efficiency, and staying connected while working remotely.
Let’s take a high-level look at the top five virtual tools and technologies recommended by our team.
#1 — Communication Tools
A wide variety of chat/messenger tools can help your team stay productive and communicate efficiently, both internally with teammates and externally with customers.
One of the most popular, Slack is a user-friendly, fee-based platform that allows users to communicate via “channels.” There’s a general channel that applies to the whole company and specialized channels broken out by project, topic, or team — giving everyone shared access to progress and project status updates. Because conversations are parceled off in dedicated spaces, both internal team members and external partners can follow along, add comments, and search for information easily — setting notifications and flagging conversations that are most important to them. They can also use the platform to make 1:1 video and audio team calls with the simple click of a mouse.
Microsoft Teams is another fee-based team chat option that takes your firm’s organizational chart and breaks it down into channels and threads, allowing members to chat, meet, call, and collaborate from wherever they’re located. While it is a little more complicated than Slack to set up, Teams offers a robust set of benefits, including the ability to integrate with the Microsoft Office suite — allowing teams to access, share, and edit Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files in real time.
Using videoconferencing applications like Zoom and Skype has become the “new normal” in conducting business virtually. With both free and paid options available, your virtual credit union team can use either platform to conduct online meetings, offer training and support, share files, view one another’s screens, and easily record calls instead of manually taking notes. These platforms also offer precious opportunities for face-to-face interactions between members and your employees.
#2 — File-Sharing Tools
Setting up virtual file-sharing systems like Google Drive and Dropbox allows your staff to easily access and share information and password-protected documents with members and co-workers. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to establish clear workflows in order to benefit from the continuity that happens when employees can pick right up where others left off.
You can also consider an enterprise content management solution like Laserfiche, one of our strategic partners that helps organizations digitize documents, automate document-driven processes like applying for and approving loans and mortgages, and store them safely in a secure file repository. Laserfiche is designed and well suited for regulated industries, and it can help streamline compliance through simple automations and rules.
#3 — Contactless Transaction Tools
Your team can leverage a variety of simple tools to help eliminate the need for unnecessary in-person experiences by automating, speeding up, and digitizing a myriad of interactions. Many easy-to-implement technologies exist for seamless, valuable virtual credit union experiences. Here are some simple recommendations:
- You can use automated text or email receipts to confirm and track transactions for members, without involving unnecessary paper. (See example below.)
- Offer customized WebForms to easily manage the collection of online transaction information such as credit card applications, loans, and account registrations.
- Implement electronic signatures to simplify transaction processing and approvals without in-person interactions and inked signatures.
#4 — Proper Hardware and Technology
Because credit union staff members are used to working in traditional offices, it’s easy to overlook the importance of having the right hardware and technology in place in their home offices — until it’s too late.
In addition to laptops loaded with any necessary peripheral hardware and any proprietary or industry-specific software, you’ll likely want team members to have a Voice Over IP (VoIP) phone system, which allows them to make calls directly through their computer using the Internet, rather than through a regular telephone landline or mobile network. VoIP systems can also be configured to allow employees to keep their same phone numbers and extensions, which can allow them to be contacted seamlessly whether in-branch or at home.
#5 — Security Tools
Remote work can lead to a higher risk of cyber threats, data breaches, and compliance issues if simple security measures aren’t maintained. That’s why nearly all major banks and credit unions have already implemented two-factor authentication (2FA) as an added layer of security to prevent unapproved access to user accounts. (At CDP, we use our partner Duo to secure logins.) In addition to entering the correct password, there is a second, time-sensitive step that anyone must take to gain access to the account that typically involves entering a temporary PIN that has been issued via an approved cell phone or email address — a measure that’s especially important when working in an all-virtual environment or when users share passwords across multiple accounts. According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, 80% of data breaches could be avoided by the use of 2FA.
You may also want to consider the use of a virtual private network (VPN), which allows your staff or members to use a public internet connection while masking their IP address, encrypting their information, and making their online financial interactions nearly untraceable. According to the Norton LifeLock website, these secure connections provide greater privacy than even a secure Wi-Fi hotspot, which is great news for those looking to safely check account balances, make payments, or access loan or mortgage information.
CDP Can Help Virtual Credit Union Experiences — Here’s How
CDP’s committed team of digital transformation consultants can help you implement tools that will help your team maintain optimal efficiency and excellence in service while working remotely. We safely and securely digitize documents, automate manual processes, and leverage custom-fit technologies to make virtual information management easy, both for your employees and your members.
With a variety of services — including eSign, our electronic signature solution — we can help your financial institution affordably and effectively manage virtual transactions, such as sending, receiving, and signing securely encrypted digital documents on demand on any device, at a lower price point and with more flexibility than other available platforms on the market. eSign also offers the ability to create WebForms to capture data and approvals, and/or create approved documents, such as signed mortgage or loan applications.
Put simply, eSign offers your members more options for safely interacting with your credit union and your employees. Contact us today for information on how we can help you stay aligned with the future of the financial industry. You can also download our free explainer below!