This statement has never been more true in the credit union industry than right now. Members are interacting with their credit union at this very moment and based on their experience, they are taking steps to either further their engagement, or begin to disengage.
Members consume their credit union’s product and services with the expectation of immediate gratification. Approximately 40 years ago, three consumer behavioral researchers came together to better understand why we consume and how we make the choices that we do.
Their efforts created the buying decision process. This process is divided into the following 5 stages.
Four decades later, this process has evolved into the consumer life journey.
As loop indicates, the process has evolved to a never-ending journey that begins with need recognition and finishes with recommendation before starting all over again.
In terms of how members engage with the credit union the journey clearly details the pathway.
Members know they have financial needs, some of them quite obvious, the need for reliable transportation, the need for safe shelter, the need for food. What members may not know is how well credit unions fill this need. Credit unions, in their breath and scope are financial dream factories. They identify the members financial dream and help them, the member, achieve it in the best possible way.
A recent study conducted by GE Capital Retail Bank has found that 81% of people look at products online before making a purchase in store. The number of people who conduct research online before making a purchase decision has increased by 20% in the last year.
This clearly indicates that members will be looking online when they research their financial needs. This is a perfect opportunity for credit unions to make certain their online presence is easy to find in a search, simple to navigate and provides the online visitor all the tools to choose them. This brings us to …
How do your members select a credit union? They select to engage with a credit union for the same reasons that they select deodorant. It is the best solution to their problem. What problems do credit union products/services solve for their members? Is it ease? Is it price ? Is it a delivering a financial dream in a unique way?
Whatever “it” is, the credit union needs to make the member aware of “it”.
What is the purchase process of credit union product and services? Is the process only available online, or only in person, or is it a hybrid? The point of this stage in the process is how easy do you make the process for the member. Since process is king, if your process is slow or filled with obstacles, your member will use a process that is easier.
How do your members receive the credit union’s products and services? Do they receive a thank you note? Do they receive a follow-up call to ensure satisfaction? Receiving a product, even as simple as selecting it off of a shelf, is all part of the experience.
When a member has selected to engage with the credit union, is there a defined onboarding process? How does the credit union ensure that a) the product and service is being used, b) the member is having a satisfactory experience and c) would like to do more business with the credit union.
Many times the relationship ends after purchase, and as the customer life journey graphic above indicates, this is only the beginning of the “own” phase of the relationship. Whatever the credit union can do to deepen the engagement process, the better it is for both the member and the credit union.
This is broader than simply maintaining the account. This leads to evaluating the life and the legacy the credit union wants to create with the member. As the credit union delivers the financial dream to the member, what are the touch points along the way? How can the credit union continue to help the member achieve their next dream and the one after that? What will be the legacy the credit union leaves on the member?
And finally, the recommendation. The creators of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) clearly understood the power of recommendation when they designed their specific method of measuring loyalty and satisfaction. The NPS asks consumers how likely they are to recommend a product/service/company to a friend or family. The consumer answers the question using a 10 scale. 10 being a strong, positive recommendation and 1 being the lowest and most negative recommendation. Based on the results, an organization can tell how many promoters they have, how many ambivalents and how many detractors. These three segments are very important. With the promoter segment, the credit union wants to identify why and replicate. With the detractors segment, the credit union wants to identify why and fix. And with ambivalents, the credit union wants to learn how to move them to promoters.
And the loop begins again.
So, what will your member’s journey be?