Vibrant Credit Union takes on banking digital transformation

Vibrant Empowers MSRs to Create Unique Experiences and Serve Members in 60 Seconds

Every year when my birthday rolls around, I get greeting cards and checks from a few select family members. And for the past five years or so, when I slice open the greeting card envelope, I promptly snap a picture of my check and deposit it directly into my bank account. All while sitting on my couch using the latest version of my bank’s mobile app. Thanks, banking digital transformation.

What’s more? My neighbor down the street just got a shiny new car. And, he secured the car loan without ever stepping foot inside a physical banking location.

With trends like this on the rise and here to stay, how do you keep members happy? 

As more and more digital natives bank from the phones in their pockets, operating a chain of brick and mortar bank branches becomes difficult and costly.

How do you predict the number of MSRs you’ll need on-deck to handle member inquiries? And, how do you staff up in one busy branch but down in another? 

In today’s member-centric model of doing business, financial institutions can’t keep up with the fluctuating flow of customers without using digital channels. It simply isn’t scalable (or sustainable) to support your modern members. That means, banking digital transformation is now critical to success.

This mentality, paired with a new crop of FinTech startups popping up nationwide, pushed Vibrant Credit Union to rethink the way their members bank. 

They set out to modernize an industry steeped in tradition so they could give members (and MSRs) the experience they deserve.

As Vibrant realized the need to shift priorities, they sought a solution that could scale and innovate with them during their banking digital transformation. With the end goal to create more value for their members, they chose the Sharpen platform to power virtual banking through video kiosks, so they could improve their MSR and member experiences. 

“So when we looked at how do we grow, and how do we contain that growth knowing that our industry, like the retail industry, is also migrating towards the digital space. When you think of these generations that are coming up through, we’re seeing more and more engagement with our mobile platforms. How do we control those costs and leverage the two and balance that out? We thought, ‘hey, what if we centralize all of our bankers, and we put in this video banking experience,’” said Steve Ducey, Chief Experience Officer at Vibrant Credit Union.

The switch to video banking helped Vibrant reallocate MSRs to serve their members quicker and more effectively.

Now, Vibrant’s average wait time for all channels is less than 1 minute.

“Because of the Sharpen-powered video kiosks, we’ve reduced member wait time at our branch offices by 90 percent,” said Vibrant’s vice president of member experience, Joanie Dean. “Currently, our wait time is less than half that of the industry standard.”

But Vibrant knew that adding value for their members meant more than just reducing wait times. Being successful at banking digital transformation also means they needed to create one-of-a-kind, memorable experiences for their members, too. 

To do it, they also changed up how they manage and coach their MSRs. 

“We’ve used Sharpen to route overflow calls to branch staff,” Dean said. “This has helped us maintain service levels during spikes in call volume. And because our branch locations often have opposite times when they’re busy and slow, we’re optimizing staff availability for even greater efficiencies.”

Vibrant has also used Sharpen’s analytics and reporting features to get more insight into contact center metrics.

“Sharpen has given us a lot more insight into data and it’s easy to manipulate so we can see at a glance the KPIs that are most important to us,” Dean said. “This has helped us better coach agents, which has further improved member services.”

Here’s how Vibrant changed their business model through banking digital transformation to prioritize people experience.

Ducey said his team of leaders was dedicated to crafting an environment ripe for the uniqueness that powers member happiness and builds trust.

“In those early days of thinking about how to reinvent ourselves in an industry that’s really steeped in tradition, one of the things that our board of directors, our leadership team as a whole, and myself talked about is, how do we look at banking? And, how do we do it differently?

“No one goes to their family on a Friday night, or to a party on the weekend and says, ‘Let me tell you about something that happened at my bank this week!’ And, the question is, why can’t they? Why shouldn’t they?” said Ducey. 

“If we do our job really well, if we wow someone and provide exceptional, surprisingly different experiences, they should talk about us on a Friday night,” he added. “They should tell people about it. And at the end of the day, that’s what’s going to drive our business forward.”

At the core of Vibrant’s business model is an empowered workforce.

Leaders at Vibrant Credit Union went introspective. They looked at how they were doing business and serving their members (and MSRs). Then, they made a host of operational changes and improved company culture to fuel empowered MSRs and better member experiences. 

“You know, if you’re looking to improve your customer experience first, first and foremost self-reflect understand who you are as a business. What’s the core of what you do? And, simplify that core, right, and then from there, once it’s simplified, it’s really easy to deliver…” Ducey said. 

At the core of Vibrant’s business is an empowering work environment. Vibrant’s leaders created a team full of MSRs who convey their happiness and confidence throughout the member journey.

“If we can create people that are having fun and enjoying what they do, being passionate about it, and smiling, then at the end of the day, our members that choose to bank with us are going to smile, too. And when they smile, they’re going to tell people about us,” said Ducey.

Vibrant’s leadership team gives MSRs the freedom to wow members and create unique experiences with each video interaction. They know that happy employees create happy members. And, better yet, happy members become lifelong advocates for their credit union.

“I believe that people choose to work for you only as well as you work to attract and retain your talent,” Ducey said. “Talent has the option and the choice to be a part of your team and the way you do things. So, from there, it comes down to asking the question. How do we empower people to go and live our brand? To live our energy, and to carry our uniqueness through? So, at every level of our organization, we empower our staff to drive that uniqueness.”

Vibrant’s new business model and supporting tech positions them for future growth.

“Today you still have to go to a bank during banking hours. I actually believe that eventually, we’ll be able to go to you, so we’ll be able to leverage our technology through a company like Sharpen, and you’ll be able to bank. and If you want to have that face-to-face conversation, you’ll be able to do it through your smartphone. You’ll be able to do it through your devices right in the comfort of your home, right at your job, at the park with your family, when you want to, and will have the ability to come to you versus you come to us,” said Ducey. 

Want to learn more about Vibrant? Head to the full case study to see how partnering with Sharpen helped change the way Vibrant’s members bank. Find it here!

We originally published this post on Nov. 7, 2018, and we updated it on Nov. 7, 2019.