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What Your Member Frictions Are Telling Your Credit Union

One of the most interesting findings from THRIVE Data Transformation Institute classes is the similarities of member frictions. The graphic is a consolidation of credit union self-reported member frictions. The prominent the word, the more often it has been used. The larger the word, the most commonly referenced friction.

These self-reported frictions are primarily online, reference the app, and lack knowledge and or process.

Members may encounter friction along their experience journey with the credit union.

Enterprise friction falls across three categories; product, process, and people.

Product frictions are a lack of product knowledge by the user. Common product frictions at a Financial Institution are; not understanding how a skip-a-payment affects the loan terms and how a check hold works and affects available funds.

Process frictions are obstacles found most commonly in the purchase journey. An example is the loan purchase journey. The loan process starts when the member first identifies the need for the loan. This is often called discovery. Next, the member/customer will evaluate their options for the loan and then purchase. Once the loan has been opened, the next phase is access/use. This is followed by the final step of either recommend or repurchase.

This process holds many potential friction points. Common frictions are:

  1. Members are not aware of the credit union option.

  2. The application process is obstacle-filled, resulting in abandoned carts and excessive length.

  3. Loan fulfillment takes too long.

People frictions

When nearly 600 credit union leaders were asked the following question:

Please describe the friction the member has doing business with the credit union?

The most popular answer was a surprising response. it was the word LACK — specifically, a lack of a data culture. Data holds many insights. It is hidden in the 60-100 data systems that a credit union has. The ability to connect the data and create insights is part one of the solution. The other is the ability for credit union talent to have the capability to consume data and make iterative changes.

Here are four actions a financial institution can take to leverage friction:

Action 1: Get data (survey)Gather perceived data on the member experience's current state. Seek this input from leaders as well as those close to the member. A great starting point is to identify external end-user friction (member/ customer) and then Identify internal friction (the friction business units have interacting with each other.) This provides a perceived friction landscape to use as a starting point.

Action 2: Map the MUX

This can be accomplished with software or a simple process map. The key points are to identify critical phases in the member journey and identify the friction points.

Add any data as is available to each phase that either supports or refutes the perceptions.

Member/Customer Friction examples

Members may encounter friction along the journey. In this auto purchase example, common frictions are 1) low awareness of credit union financing in channels they use. 2 ) few or nonexisting evaluation tools provided by credit unions, 3) challenging to engage online for the loan, must come to a physical office. 4) little or no engagement with the member post-purchase. 5) few channels are provided for advocacy. 6) repurchase efforts suffer from the application process.

Action 3. Analyze your findings.

A list of frictions will appear, and they need to be prioritized. The best lens to prioritize friction is in terms of what will have the most significant impact on the member with minimal effort. The "friction list" can be divided into short and long-term projects.

Action 4: Friction Roadmap

Build out the road map looking at it from the timeline with work streams that include people, products, and processes.

Understanding enterprise friction is an excellent exercise in annual strategic planning. To learn how THRIVE leverages friction to improve members' lives, please click here.


Curious about the current state of data at your

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Where can I fill my data knowledge gaps?

With a stop at the

Data Education Center.

We believe that data transformation doesn't have to feel overwhelming or expensive to be impactful. After helping over 600 credit union leaders launch their data journeys, we have identified several consistent knowledge gaps. We have worked hard to fill these gaps with a variety of educational artifacts:


What if I want something more? Does someone offer data education classes with real-world applications?

Yep, that is what we do, of course, and so much more. To learn more, please review our data transformation institute

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