Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed, “To reach a port, we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.”
For credit unions seeking to navigate the financial services marketplace, that means actively charting their course as well as that of their members.
Doing so requires examining the member experience, or journey, says Jayne Hitman, CUNA’s national relationship manager.
“Instead of looking at just a transaction or one-off experience, the member journey documents the full experience over the lifetime of the membership,” she says.
Creating a member journey map is a visual representation of every experience someone has with the credit union, she says.
“Look at the member experience through the member’s point of view and ask what your members are trying to do—buy a home, purchase a car, send a child to college, or save for the future,” says Bryn Conway, principal of BC Consulting LLC.
Journey mapping is about understanding the member’s financial goals rather than your products’ features and benefits, she adds.
Conway notes that while a certain process may seem to work, it may not align with the actual member experience.
“The first step of any member journey process is to change your point of view, focusing on what the member thinks rather than just your organization’s touch points,” she says. “What are members experiencing when they interact with your credit union? Members’ perception is your reality.
‘Members’ perception is your reality.’
“Start with what matters most,” she continues. “Journey map around what the member wants to do and how they interact with your credit union, and then figure out where there are gaps, how to improve, and deliver on what you promise.”
Paul Robert, CEO of FI Strategies LLC, agrees. “The key aspect to journey mapping is 100% from the member’s perspective, not the credit union’s. Capture what members do every step of the way and, most important, what they feel. Just because members complete a transaction with you doesn’t mean they’ve had a good experience.”
Many credit unions confuse journey mapping with process mapping, he adds. The latter examines processes from an internal perspective, looking only at what employees do at every step.
“That’s an important aspect of this initiative, but only half of the equation,” Robert says. “The other half is the member’s perspective. Together, you have a holistic, 360-degree view on the process experience.”
In Warren, Ohio, 7 17 Credit Union examines the member journey to provide the best possible member service from beginning to end of an identified process, says Kathy Cumberworth, vice president, sales and service, at the $1 billion asset credit union.
“We work through the various touch points to determine how all processes work together to create what we call a ‘seamless member experience’ as members move through the journey,” she says.
Kelly Hofheins, vice president, member service, at $9 billion asset Mountain America Credit Union in Sandy, Utah, reports using journey mapping to solve problems and fix processes.
“We have done journey maps on such things as the mobile experience, new accounts, construction loans, and hiring to name a few,” she says. “It gives people a different perspective and allows you to truly see through the members’ eyes.
“It also gives you the opportunity to identify what is working well, and it’s a great tool for brainstorming ways to improve.”
Next week: First steps for journey mapping