Recently, businesses nationwide have been able to reopen in stages after having been locked down since mid-March. For some, the reopening process has been complicated by violent protests in their few communities, which have made customers afraid to leave their homes and employees concerned about how they’ll get to work. Where possible, many — including Credit Unions — have created work from home policies for employees. 

Can the service received in a physical location compare favorably with service that is delivered remotely? Can a Credit Union employee sitting at home answering members’ queries provide the same exceptional service that they supply in the branch?

“The employee is sitting at home, with only a computer, or maybe a tablet and/or a phone. Can they provide the same exceptional service and pay the same attention to your Credit Union members?” said Ashish Garg, president of Eltropy

They can, he said — and they have been. During the Covid pandemic, Credit Union staff have continued to provide personalized service that has exceeded expectations, which has resulted in many branches providing some type of remote work schedule that may stick around well into the future. For those working remotely, Text Messaging has played an integral role in communications. 

Why Text Messaging is Best

Traditionally, communication options have included email and phone. However, email doesn’t convey the urgency that some messages require. Members may not check their email accounts frequently, so messages could go unanswered and possibly get lost, buried under missives of various importance. Phone calls are urgent, but the member may not pick up because the incoming phone number isn’t familiar to them. 

Texting puts the sender’s name and subject front and center, for example: “Hi, this is Emily from My Credit Union. How are you doing today?” Text Messaging provides a context that could result in a phone call for follow up, or in a transaction completed within the Text Messaging application, while retaining a conversational tone throughout.

Text Messaging is an ideal way for an employee who is working from home to forge a connection with a Credit Union member. It’s also highly efficient: An employee can take a list of people who hold mortgages and send a customer care-type message to 50 members, such as, “Just wanted to touch base and make sure that you know if you have been impacted by the covert virus, we have programs designed to help you.”

If texting from a Credit Union to its members wasn’t an everyday occurrence before the national lockdown, it is quickly becoming one. And it’s not the first time that innovation has sprung out of catastrophe. Garg is a student of history, and is particularly interested in World Wars I and II. 

“Those wars made permanent changes in people’s behavior and technologies, and in the way people were living their lives” Garg said. “One of the innovations of WWII was the jet engine, which laid the foundation for travel around the world. The world was never the same. And in WWI, one of the biggest innovations was the motorcycle that came out of Ottawa. I personally feel that the biggest innovation of this pandemic — if you can truly consider this as a new war that humanity or mankind is fighting — is the remote communication.”

Everyone who has a smartphone has a message app installed. We are already connected, the challenge now is to provide ways of thoughtful communication that helps people be productive and efficient, so they can spend more time doing the things they truly enjoy.