Creating the Ultimate Member Experience

This article was authored by Karim Habib, Director, Sales & Marketing Lender Development Program for CUNA Mutual Group.

Picture of couple on a computerConnecting and consulting with your members in today’s convenience-driven world isn’t easy.

They are time-stressed, and expect a fast and simple process. To meet these rising expectations and keep members from looking elsewhere, credit unions try to ingrain in staff the need to deliver a superior experience.

That’s not as simple as it may seem. The ultimate experience involves effectively meeting members’ needs through an efficient process that delivers the appropriate products and services. But when the proper balance isn’t struck between efficiency and the right offering, some of your staff could morph into one of these two personalities:

The Checker: Think of a grocery store. The customer fills their cart with what they want, takes it to the register and the checker dutifully rings up the items and completes the transaction. The customer drives the action, with little to no input from the checker. From a convenience standpoint, it’s certainly fast and easy. But financial services are much more complicated than groceries, and members aren’t always in the best position to know, or understand, all their options. The Checker can emerge in a service culture that underemphasizes member engagement to fully understand their financial needs and the solutions that can best meet those needs.

The Hawker: Have you ever walked into an electronics store, and told a friendly rep you’re thinking about changing your entertainment set-up? Before you know it, you’ve been whisked off to that department and told about 55” LED screens, Blue Rays and DVRs, ROKU and Apple TV devices, and a host of other choices. That rep certainly knew his stuff, and conveniently laid out a glut of options. Unfortunately, none of it helped you, because the rep dominated the conversation with little regard for you or your needs. For financial services, running through a variety of products and services is of little help without any context about the member’s financial situation and stage in life. The Hawker is typically found in a sales culture that overemphasizes product instead of need.

As you might suspect, the sweet spot for your team and your members is between the Checker and the Hawker.

The Solver: Imagine your staff engaging your members in a back-and-forth discussion. As opposed to a transactional approach, no one is trying to buy or sell anything. Instead, the conversation revolves around financial needs the member has or a problem they’re trying to resolve. Your financial consultant listens closely, asks relevant questions to clearly understand the need or problem, and then offers the best options to help the member meet their financial goals – not only for today but also the future.

To turn your Checkers and Hawkers into Solvers, implement a member experience culture and upskill your staff to:

  • Uncover member needs with targeted questioning strategies
  • Identify and connect products and services to member life stages and financial goals
  • Build creative and personalized options for each member
  • Leverage all channels and member interactions to develop and deepen relationships

These two-way conversations will focus on situations and solutions instead of process and products. Your credit union will deliver a better member experience that will build trust and loyalty, and grow your reputation as a financial institution of choice.

Questions about our Strategic Link partnership with CUNA Mutual Group? Contact Jason Smith, NWCUA’s Vice President, Strategic Resources, at jsmith@nwcua.org.