With a member base of over 165,000 and a long-standing ranking in the top two hundred and fifty credit unions in the United States, Allegacy is one of the top credit unions in North Carolina.
What’s driving its success? A deep-seated commitment to the wellbeing of its members and a relentless focus on meeting its members’ needs when and where they want to be met.
One example of this has been Allegacy’s investment and focus on building an innovative mobile communications strategy powered by the Pulsate Platform.
“Our members are busy people, on the move from place to place. To serve them well, we need to give them easy access to relevant financial services no matter where they are” explains Stacy Jones, Senior Marketing Specialist at Allegacy.
“We don’t want to bombard our members with information. We want to be respectful, understand their individual needs and be there, at the right time and place, with offers and services that can help. In short, we want to do the right thing, at the right time, and in the right place for the financial wellbeing of our members.”
Using the Pulsate mobile communications platform, Allegacy has been able to turn its vision into reality. Here are some snippets of how it works and the successes they have enjoyed.
Personalized offers for personalized needs – the Auto Special Story
“Many of our members come to us for auto loans. When they find that car they love, we want to help them drive it off the dealership lot as quickly and easily as possible.”
“But knowing when they are thinking of buying a car has sometimes been a challenge” explains Stacy.Using Pulsate, Allegacy can walk side by side with its members on their purchasing journey.
“With Pulsate we can reach groups of members who are in the market for a new car. We use location-based insights and geofencing to target auto-dealerships and understand when members are visiting. With these permission-based insights, we can let them know in real-time, direct to their cell phones, the auto-special offers we have and how we can help them get that car they are dreaming of.”
“And understanding that not everyone completes a purchase at that moment, we can personalize our follow up with timely reminder messages, delivered directly, through our mobile banking app” explains Stacy.
Helping members easily access the financial services they need at the right time and in the right place has proven successful for Allegacy and its members.
“In regard to our auto special campaign, our members loved the fact that we understood what they needed and were there with help at the time and place they needed it. We saw it in the results: 90% of web traffic to our auto special landing page campaign came directly from our mobile users and 50% of this from the Pulsate platform – it’s been one of our best campaigns,” comments Stacy.
And it’s not all about auto loans – using Pulsate and opted-in location-based marketing, or geofencing, Allegacy is able to understand when members are engaged in other important purchase decisions and be there to help.
“We have seen the positive impact of personalizing our offers to match our members’ needs and we are committed to continuing this approach. For example, we have plans to roll out similar campaigns for home buyers. Using location-based insights we can understand when members are in the market for a new home – visiting new home showcases for example – and be there to help them understand what our mortgage offers are, enquire and apply online or make an appointment with one of our Mortgage Loan Officers so that we can help them speedily through the process.”
“Pulsate helps us keep our finger on the pulse of what our members need and act quickly to help them. It brings the human element into the modern world of mobile and digital banking.”
However, it’s not all about offers, Allegacy also uses Pulsate to simply make life easier for its members, sharing with them tailored service-related messages just when they need to know about them.
Tailored services for personalized situations – A Service Story
“Sometimes it’s hard for our members to get to our financial centers during standard business hours – we know this, and we have made investments in Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) which are available 24/7, with live video teller assistance during business hours and on Saturday mornings. This enables members to access banking services at a time and place that works for them” explains Stacy.
“But Pulsate allows us to take this one step further. It gives us the insights to understand if our members are headed to one of our Interactive Teller Machine locations that is particularly busy that day. Rather than have them wait in a drive-thru line, we can send them push messages directly to their cell phones alerting them of the delays and offering them service at another ITM less than 1 mile away from their location.”
Allegacy also uses Pulsate to deliver relevant service messages to members within its mobile banking app.
“When there are things only specific groups of members need to know, such as changes to their mobile app or changes to particular financial centers’ opening hours – we don’t have to broadcast these messages to everyone. Pulsate allows us to segment our members based on a wide variety of factors and tailor our communications directly to those who need to know. The right members get the relevant messages, directly into their news feeds when they log into our mobile app.”
“Pulsate allows us to personalize how we talk to our members in a mobile world. It bridges the gap between old and new, enabling us to understand our members, and deliver the same level of personalized services and engagement, in the digital world as we do in our financial centers,” comments Stacy.
“And this is what our members want – with over one-third of them already using mobile banking – we are simply following their chosen path for engagement while making sure we don’t lose our personal touch.”
What are the lessons learned in Allegacy’s growth in mobile member engagement?
“For us, the overall engagement with Pulsate has been straightforward. It’s embedded into our NCR mobile banking platform, which is great. Furthermore, the Pulsate team has always been very responsive and work with us to get us where we want to be.”
“Sure, there is learning along the way, and I would suggest any credit union going down this path thinks about testing offers with smaller segments to start,” comments Stacy.
“Probably the most significant lesson is to put the time, effort, and resources into doing the training and testing campaigns before going live. It takes a collaborative effort, but the more you run test campaigns, focusing on small groups, the better the impact will be when you roll campaigns out to wider audiences.
In addition, the geofencing and location-based capabilities are powerful, but it pays to take time to think about when you should use them and why. Sometimes targeting members right at the point of location – say a health clinic with a health savings service – might not be the optimal time. However, following up a week or so later may be a better time to provide them with this type of financial support service. Taking the time to think about your members’ mindset and understand when best to engage with them is important.
Finally, using push notification capability to send messages directly to members’ cell phones who have opted-in for them is still a privilege that should be respected, and as the team at Pulsate advised us, pushes should be a protected communication channel. At Allegacy we limit our use of push notifications to either important service messages or very targeted offers that we know our members will appreciate receiving in real-time” explains Stacy.
So, what does the future hold?
“For us, the importance of mobile marketing as part of our overall strategy is only going to grow and expand. It’s what our members want, and we are committed to continually enhancing our digital and mobile capabilities. Pulsate is key to this as it allows us to deeply personalize our engagement with our members in a digital and mobile world” explains Stacy.
For 54 years, Allegacy has helped its members, employees and the communities it serves to be their best by helping people make smart financial choices. By doing right, Allegacy has become one of the largest credit unions in North Carolina serving over 165,000 members. The Credit Union is headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C and has 16 locations and nine high school student-run credit unions. Visit www.allegacy.org for more information.