Put on your tin foil hats

I think that John Anderton and Winston Smith must have visited me in a dream a few months back because I’ve been brewing up an idea that could revolutionize member service or scare the bejesus out of any Libertarian.  Half Minority Report, half Nineteen Eighty-Four; I call it CUcard.

CUcard utilizes existing RFID technology that has been integrated into credit and debit cards.  Small, powerful sensors, similar to those used in automated toll booth systems, will be placed in door frames and in the floor of all credit union branches using the CUcard.  Upon entering a branch, a member will pass through the sensors in the entry doors and the CUcard software will read the information from their RFID-enabled credit union card and log it into the system.

The information will then be relayed to the teller/MSR/FSR computer systems where a screen can pop-up and display the member’s information, their scanned driver’s license from the imaging system (with their picture), a timestamp of when they entered a branch, and any other actionable information a credit union deems necessary from any of their systems.  Such information may include the most likely transaction the member will complete that day, based on information data-mined from the core processor using day of the month, date of the month, transaction amounts, and other variables.

The CUcard system will replace the traditional queuing system in a credit union lobby.  No more take-a-number systems or filling out a sign in sheet.  Once the member enters a branch, all of their information is logged and they are placed into a queue.  The next available representative will walk to the lobby to retreive the next member waiting, enabled with both a picture of the member and their first name.  Imagine this following scenario:

Joe Johnson walks into a credit union branch.  A screen pops up on all of the teller computer screens and displays Joe’s full name, his driver’s license and his top 5 most frequent branch transactions.  Joe walks up to the line and waits to be called.   “Good morning Joe, come on up here.  How was Starbucks this morning?  Are you here to deposit your social security check today and transfer 20% to your savings account or just taking out $100 in cash?”  Joe says, “It’s the fifth today.  Here’s my social security check.”  The employee then clicks on “Complete transaction” on their computer screen, at which point the CUcard software initiates a transaction, matching the last 43, removing the additional labor of having to manually enter in all of his information again.  By recognizing the date of the transaction (the 5th of every month), the amount of the transaction (~$1200), the frequency of the transaction (every month for the last 43 months), and any corresponding transactions (the transfer immediately following the deposit), the teller is able to provide outlandish member service that would never have been able to occur in the past.

Leveraging the CUcard system, credit unions will be able measure new statistics never before available without immense time and effort.  With sensors placed at the teller windows, the credit union will be able to break down the member’s visit into how long they waited in line or in the lobby, how long the actual transaction took (time at the teller window), and the total length of their visit.  This will enable the credit union to streamline the operations to gain the greatest efficiency and shortest time possible in the branch, or inversely, measure member dwell time, potentially reinforcing a credit union’s brand.  Putting in free WiFI in branches, for example, should increase member dwell time, while an in-store branch in a high traffic retail environment or airport should focus on the shortest transaction time possible.

If a credit union wishes to take CUcard to the next level and get the most of of the system, they will also enable to Share of Wallet module.  Using the exact same technology, the CUcard system, in addition to scanning the RFID for the CUcard, can scan for other RFID’s in the member’s wallet or purse.  No more focus groups, surveys, or ethnographic research.  Once the member enters a credit union branch, any card emitting an RFID signal will be read and identified.  Credit unions and their front line staff will immediately know that Joe Johnson, the member who just walked in the front door, not only has a CUcard from your credit union, but also has a Wells Fargo debit card and a Chase Rewards credit card.  Armed with this new information, credit unions will be able to launch new direct marketing campaigns tailored so exactly that response rates will spike.  Pair this new share of wallet information with existing data from the core processor, such as the destination outgoing ACH’s, bill payments, and debit card transactions, and the credit union will be able to market and cross-sell their products with incredibly unique campaigns and un-heard-of accuracy.

So which is it?  Revolutionize member service or securely affix your tinfoil hat?

Don't get lost in error messages

Problems are bound to happen with any software application or website.  Count it.  Hopefully the vendor of said software or your internal staff has the mechanisms in place to catch any and all errors that may occur, log them, and notify the appropriate people to take action.  Occasionally, system maintenance of some variety will also take down a system for whatever reason.

Garmin, the GPS manufacturer, clearly has this figured out and has realized the importance of providing meaningful messages to their customers when something goes awry.  I use one of those fancy GPS watches to run and cycle with and recently when I went to upload my training info to their website, I received the messages below.  Every time you visited the site while it was undergoing maintenance, you would receive one of these messages.    Additionally, you’ll notice each message is tailor to their specific industry with captions and images that are meaningful to their customers.  If a bank or credit union had error messages like this for their website or online banking, I’d probably switch immediately because it demonstrates their commitment and thoroughness to customer satisfaction.