Credit Union Messaging Guidelines to Build Trust With Customers

There is an undercurrent of distrust around promotional emails and robo-calls. Consumers are beyond annoyed with these invasive methods and have turned to text messaging as the preferred way to communicate with businesses. Messaging has earned consumer’s trust. For your credit union to maintain that trust and encourage engagement with your members, we’ve put together some simple credit union messaging guidelines.

The popularity of messaging has spurred a growing number of credit unions like Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union and Community First Credit Union in Florida to turn to SMS/text messaging to reach their members. In this article, we’ll explore why the adoption of text messaging has increased so rapidly among credit union members and how to protect your members and the trust they’ve placed in this communication channel.



Reach Members Easier With Messaging

If it feels like it’s getting harder to get in touch with your members, you’re probably right, and you’re not alone. Phone calls from unknown numbers are ignored and emails hitting the “spam” box are growing, so even if your members have requested information, it is likely you won’t get through to them. Add to that, the sheer volume of incoming emails and phone calls, and it’s possible that your members may just miss you.

Most of the 20+ credit unions that have implemented Quiq Messaging have done so to deflect expensive calls. According to creditunions.com, a growing number of credit unions are “modernizing existing systems by introducing new mobile and text-based services…” which has resulted in the filtering of simple tasks and questions to the less expensive messaging channel. These institutions, as well as many others in retail, travel, hospitality, and others, are not only realizing a lower inbound call volume, but are experiencing higher engagement rates with their customers through messaging.

Messaging has made it easier for credit unions to engage with their members since most consumers keep their phones nearby and will check their phone an average of every 12 minutes, according to The New York Post. In addition, text messages have a 98% open rate compared to email open rates, which are often south of 20%.  

While consumers and credit unions are rapidly adopting text messaging to engage on everything from expediting loans to discussing options to bring collection accounts current, there are still scammers out there that are phishing consumers.

What Is Phishing?

The scamming epidemic continues as consumers are bombarded with calls from the IRS and emails filled with promises of unclaimed assets fill their inboxes. Consumers have grown weary of overstuffed inboxes and calls from unknown numbers. Scammers know this and try to leverage consumers love affair with their phone, sending text messages to elicit personal information, known as phishing. To be clear, phishing also applies to emails, but we’ll focus on text messaging for now.

Phishing is when fraudsters attempt to impersonate a legitimate business in order to trick consumers to disclose sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. These details can then be used for nefarious reasons that can wreak financial havoc. According to the FTC, 1 in 5 people lost money in 2017 due to imposter scams.

While this situation seems daunting, there is hope. Credit unions that institutionalize messaging can help educate their members on phishing scams by creating messaging norms to help members recognize legitimate requests from their credit union. Here are 5 credit union messaging norms to adopt to avoid looking phishy.

4 Credit Union Messaging Guidelines To Follow

  1. Educate your customer

When it comes to scammers, the best offense is a good defense. The first line of defense should be education. As a credit union, advancing the financial education of your members is a top priority.

Make them aware of common phishing scams and what kind of messages they can expect to receive from you. Promote the numbers that your members can use to text by placing them on your website, social, and written collateral so that members can become familiar with them. Encourage members to save these numbers within their contact list so they can have them handy whenever they have a question. Whether it’s a question, as simple as hours of operations to something more complex regarding their first mortgage, your members always have your number handy as a trusted, reliable source.

  1. Systematize messaging

Text messaging is the easy, convenient way that your members are used to communicating with family and friends. The ease, acceptance, and accessibility of the messaging channel make it the prime vehicle to interact. While it might be tempting for a loan officer to use their personal cell phone to contact a member to remind them to submit required documents for their loan, that type of one-off outreach can be hard to manage and may be confusing to a member.

Quiq Messaging can help you systematize messaging. Instead of messages coming from a personal number, you can provision your existing credit union landline or create new ones, to send and receive text messages. Your members will be more trusting of a message that comes from a local number or one that they may already be familiar with and have stored in their contacts.

  1. Don’t use a shortcode

Shortcodes are the short sequence of numbers, usually 5 or 6, that many businesses use for SMS marketing. Since shortcodes are used mostly to send bulk SMS marketing messages, some consumers are annoyed as soon as they see them since so many unsolicited messages are sent via shortcode.

We recommend using a phone number. Not only will using your credit union’s phone number present a send ID the member can quickly look up to associate with the credit union, but also allows for two-way communication. If the member receives a reminder to submit documentation for their loan but has questions about what they should send, they can respond to the reminder to ask their question and even attach the documentation right in the messaging conversation.

  1. Provision specific numbers

Some Quiq clients have designated or provisioned specific phone numbers by department. This can add another level of trust to your communication. If, for example, your credit union assigns a particular number for loan processing your members can save the number in their contacts and know precisely which department is trying to reach them.  

Members will also have the full history of their conversations with each department available for review.  If a scammer tries to send your member a message claiming to be from your institution from a different number or a shortcode, this should be an immediate red flag from your consumer.

Set High Standards For Your Credit Union Messaging

Texts from banks and credit cards are commonplace nowadays. A growing number of consumers have become comfortable with the messaging channel as a place they can receive instantaneous updates from a financial institution.

Quiq Messaging can help you set a high standard for your credit union messaging that scammers will find hard to replicate. If you’re new to messaging and would like to understand how you can offer this feature to your members, let’s set up some time to talk.

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