CU*Answers is the rare CUSO that publishes nearly all of its pricing online for anyone to see. That’s because CU*Answers walks the talk of the cooperative and is adamant about their Internet Retailing culture.
In 2017, CU*Answers undertook the project to convert their pricing guides and internal team’s products and services into an online store for clients and members of the nationwide cooperative to browse and shop. The initial goal for this project was to make it easier for clients to see the breadth of services and formulate intelligent choices for their credit union. This also empowered credit union clients by centralizing and simplifying the purchasing process.
By 2018, the CU*Answers Marketing and Web Services teams raised the bar by introducing what the company calls Store Days. Store Days aim to improve the quality of the descriptions and details of all the products listed. This further benefits the credit union clients by clearly describing the products and services, establishing timelines and expectations from the earliest steps of the order process. Stores Days are an all-day affair involving many teams from inside CU*Answers.
Introducing store days
During Store Days, the team randomly selects a product from the Online Store and discusses it. The description is checked for clarity and accuracy. Suggestions to product descriptions are reviewed to validate that the product offered is properly represented. Pricing is checked to make sure it is aligned with CU*Answers’ published pricing. Most importantly, the team checks that any ancillary content, such as help documents, brochures, videos and other supporting documentation is included.
The team uses a scorecard system during these reviews. The product descriptions and content are graded and any improvement notes are completed before the next Store Day. This continuous improvement process strives to make the CU*Answers Store a one-stop shop for credit union clients to check out the various solutions offered by the CUSO.
Store Days became so successful during the 2018 calendar year, that they were doubled for 2019. Store Days were split into two groups to accommodate the number of the teams participating. The CU*Answers Online Store team now visits with more teams every year to discuss Internet Retailing strategies, and to review and score products.
Reviewing current products helps with launching new products
In addition to improving existing product listings in the CU*Answers Store, teams continually add new products and services to the store. Often the teams preview these forthcoming products at a Store Days meeting before publishing to the online store. As teams adapt to these new Internet retailing mentality and expectations, the Store team is finding that new products coming to market are often launching with better depictions of the product and including more support documentation, including videos and testimonials from clients who beta tested the product or service. Teams are thinking ahead and gathering this information from beta testing clients in preparation for introducing the products to the general marketplace.
Some highlights from a recent Store Day include expanding the details for common credit union hardware components listed in the CU*Answers Network Services Store. OpsEngine is gearing up to turn on new products for RDC IQ, near real time remote deposit capture response for members. CU*Answers’ data analytics team, Asterisk Intelligence launched a new Data Warehouse product for credit unions.
All of these products, and many others, are ready for credit unions to browse, explore and purchase in the CU*Answers Store.
The continuous improvement focus of Store Days improves the documentation and information sharing for clients. In addition, concentrating on the quality and centralizing of resources into the store assists in the knowledge sharing for CU*Answers staff.