Credit unions have long touted their superior service to differentiate themselves among other financial institutions. But as banking practices grow increasingly digital, will they be able to keep up?
Some sources say that banks have already closed that gap. But the fight isn’t over yet. There are still several ways to improve the credit union member experience. First, let’s cover why member experience is important. Then, we’ll discuss those eight ways to improve.
Member Experience and Attrition
Credit unions usually lose around 20–25% of their new accounts within the first year. With average member acquisition costs rising north of $400, every member lost hurts your bottom line.
But few members leave a credit union they love. And providing superlative member experience is one way to ensure that your members are happy right where they are. Here are eight ways to provide that experience.
1. Get personal
This isn’t just about personalization—that comes later. Rather, when we say, “get personal,” we mean don’t be afraid to speak directly with your members. Sure, this happens during every branch visit…
But does it happen through digital channels?
One particularly effective time to engage personally is after a member complaint. For example, if someone gives your credit union a low survey score, follow up with them. Ask them what you can do to fix things.
Demonstrating your commitment to each member—especially after a negative experience—will show them that you care about them, preventing attrition.
2. Advise (financially)
70% of members say they would give the institution more business if they were better advised. As branch interaction lose territory to digital ones, this means you’ll need to put those advisory services online.
One way to do this is through content creation. Various vendors may provide content marketing services, white-labeled financial education portals, or other custom educational content that answers the questions your members are currently asking Google.
3. Don’t forget the branch
After all this talk of digital importance, it may be surprising to see branch optimization near the top of the list. But branches are still important, and they’re where a lot of relationships begin.
Many people still like to open accounts in person. Ditto applying for auto loans. Definitely applying for mortgages. Remember that branches are still a major part of many members’ experience—and see what you can do to improve them.
4. Benchmark member experience
Curiously, most financial institutions are more interested in peer benchmarking than in experience benchmarking. The former can tell you (roughly) how you stack up to other credit unions. But the latter can tell you how you’re performing relative to your members’ expectations.
Find whatever standard metric you like (e.g. NPS, CES) and measure it constantly. If your scores start to slide, do something.
5. Monitor the member journey
Member journey mapping is the practice of tracking and improving a member’s journey from account opening until account closing. Find the most important, impactful things a member might do, such as open an account or apply for a mortgage, and measure your performance in those areas.
Bring subject matter experts and stakeholders into this process. Give everyone an opportunity to see the experience from the member’s perspective—and see what they can do to improve it.
6. Take a few risks
Credit union risk taking shouldn’t flout rules and regulations. Credit union compliance is serious business, and you won’t want to take any major legal or financial risks.
However, don’t let that conservative approach keep you from trying new things. Bring in vendors to provide new services. Think about what you can do before thinking about what you can’t do. Be ready to fail forward fast.
Do you want your credit union’s member experience to be forgettable? No! So, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
7. Optimize all channels
Omnichannel isn’t just about maximizing where you can reach people. It’s also about ensuring consistent, high quality member experiences. You’ll want to do that for all major satisfaction touchpoints:
- Mobile app
- Social Media
What if your branches were dirty and had boarded-up windows? What if your ATMs looked beat-up and unlit at night? What if your website looked like it was designed in 2003 and each page took six or seven seconds to load?
That wouldn’t establish trust, and it would provide really, really bad member experience. Your attrition rate would skyrocket.
8. Embrace hyper-personalization
Thanks to streaming services like Spotify and Netflix, and thanks to ecommerce platforms like Amazon and eBay, most consumers expect personalization and availability from brands. Is your credit union able to deliver?
Analytics are a good start, but true personalization takes things a step further. For example, marketing automation ensures that members receive promotions and offers based on their browsing history and interests. Or, here at LiveSurvey, we send surveys triggered by specific member actions—instead of long, generic surveys sent once per blue moon, we help credit unions send immediate, relevant surveys within minutes of completing their transaction.
There are few better ways to improve member experience than curating that experience to each member. Credit unions that resist hyper-personalization may not keep up with competitors who understand their account holders better.
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