Top 3 Tips for Credit Unions to know about when Texting

Credit Unions (CUs) have found that their members are requesting the ability to communicate via text messaging. In doing so, CUs have also found it to be very efficient and effective, in turn, providing a better member experience, streamlining operations and enhancing the bottom line.  How is texting different? 

95% of texts are opened within 90 seconds and responded to in 3 minutes of being received.

Texting can increase customer engagement by 800%+

90% of customers prefer text messaging over phone calls

When deploying texting, CUs should be aware of the best practices, regulations and how to best use the technology for each particular use case, whether it be marketing, lending, collections, member services, etc…  

Credit unions, which operate under the most stringent regulations in the world, need to be aware of how to use texting safely, securely and efficiently.  Here are the top three tips to be aware of when implementing an enterprise text messaging solution.

1. SMS/MMS is Unencrypted.

Texts are sent using a technology called SMS (Short Message Service) and picture Texts are sent using a technology called MMS (Multimedia Media Service). Both SMS and MMS are unencrypted.

Here is an article by Apple which explains this further.

As consumers, we often text pictures to each other without thinking twice about the security of the text and/or picture.  

While it is a great idea to have banking members send pictures or documents with important information (driver’s license, paystub, proof of residence, W4, etc…) to help streamline operations like Account Opening, Lending, Hiring, etc.. the CU needs to ensure the transmission of the data is secure. 

Since text messages travel over unsecured channels, texts are inherently not secure and therefore, these documents and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) should absolutely be restricted from being sent via MMS. The only way to securely acquire such documents is to ensure the texting platform can transfer the PII in a secure and encrypted manner within the texting workflow.  Just as mobile deposit capture allows for images of checks to be securely delivered in collaboration with an FI’s native banking app, the Eltropy platform enables PII to be delivered with the same level of security and encryption in collaboration with texting. 

2. Text Messaging is Regulated, Unlike Email

Since texting is regulated by the FCC and operates under the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), CUs need to know what type of texts (informational or promotional) can be sent and to whom.  The regulations prohibit contact with consumers unless the company has the proper “consent” to contact the consumer. 

Implicit consent allows an entity to send “informational” texts, while “express written consent” allows for the delivery of “promotional” texts.  There are various ways to acquire such consent, whether digitally or manually.  Also important is the ongoing management of the consent throughout the different departments.  Situations may arise where multiple departments may be sending texts to members, however, if the member opts out of receiving texts from one department, the other parts of the organization should be aware so texts are not accidentally delivered or in violation of TCPA.

Email on the other hand is not regulated, which is why many emails go unanswered or even unnoticed.  As consumers, we have accepted the fact that our email boxes will have an abundance of spam and therefore, we may pay less attention to our personal email inboxes compared to our text inboxes.  

The combination of regulated text boxes with the simplicity of texting makes member interactions that much easier and more efficient.

3. Most Popular Use-Cases

A texting platform built for CUs, will enable happier members, more efficient interactions (reduced OPEX) and a better bottom line (accelerated interest income).

Applications – Lending / Account Opening – One-to-one texting conversations eliminate the dreaded game of phone tag while enabling productive and efficient communication with the applicant.  When combining efficient text conversations with the ability to securely transfer images of documents (driver’s license, paystub, etc..), Eltropy members have accelerated these operations by 20%+. 

Collections – Actual phone engagement for collections is extremely low because the situation is personal, undesirable and/or the person may be busy during the time of the collections call.  Texting is appreciatively less personal, asynchronous and has a “paper trail” for ease of reference. Eltropy clients have seen 40x more engagement with texting compared to phone calls as texting is the perfect tool for the collections use-case.

Marketing – Most people care about their finances and want to be kept current on what the CU is offering. Delivering marketing messages via text is very efficient since people open text fast and pay more attention to text.  Therefore, once people register to receive marketing texts, the CU needs to be tactful in how and when such texts are delivered for maximum effectiveness.   

Contact Center – The asynchronous characteristic can be leveraged in the contact center during 1-to-1 texting conversations.  Member service representatives can effectively have between 5-10 simultaneous texting discussions at the same time vs the single conversion that can be done via a phone call.  The adoption of text conversations will also inherently reduce call volumes. 

Emergencies / Alerts / Reminders and more – Since texts are for the most part attended to immediately, there is no better channel to deliver time sensitive messages.

In summary, a proper enterprise texting platform can be utilized by ALL departments and use-cases within an CU for all the aforementioned reasons.  If we look at how we personally communicate with friends and family, we will realize texting is so easy and the preferred method of communication. Further, one big take away that every business learned from Covid-19 is that it needs to be able to communicate efficiently and effectively with their members (and prospects). Text Messaging is a game changer!  It is simple, ubiquitous and every generation uses it.  However, in order to get the most out of texting as a financial institution, it is imperative that texting is done securely, within the regulations and with etiquette to maintain this channel of communication with its members.

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by Team Eltropy

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