Journey mapping best practices

A smooth member experience is no accident.

September 18, 2019

The member journey is about putting members first and providing solutions that solve problems or add value to members’ lives, says Anne Legg, principal at Thrive Strategic Services.

Don’t think of journey mapping in terms of the credit union’s goals, such as generating a certain number of loans, she says.

“These goals are important for setting financial forecasts, but I encourage credit unions to consider the member experience,” Legg says. Doing so can deepen relationships credit unions have with their members.

She notes that an auto loan is more than just a conduit to transportation. Members typically will have these loans for 36 to 48 months.

“Credit unions can take many actions to deepen the auto loan experience,” Legg says. “That might be helping the member establish a budget for insurance and maintenance, and rewarding members with gas cards or free car washes as they stick to their ‘car budget.’

“It also may mean tying a credit card to the auto loan,” she continues, “with a rewards program to defray the costs of vehicle ownership.”

‘Commit to improving the member experience across the organization.’
Bryn Conway

The mortgage experience

Consider mortgages, too, says Bryn Conway, principal of BC Consulting LLC. “While the end goal for the credit union is to obtain a mortgage, for members it’s to buy a home,” she says. “That’s a subtle but important difference in perception. No one wants a mortgage loan, but most people want to own a home. So how can credit unions improve the member journey of buying a home?”

Just as nautical charts help sailors find their way and avoid going aground, a journey map illustrates members’ needs and how the credit union might meet them.

Legg believes journey mapping can provide insights to the member experience as well as lead to strategic growth. “When done effectively, credit unions segment their membership by age and product use/propensity, and then create a journey for each segment. Typically, a credit union has eight to 10 member segments.”

After creating a journey map for each segment, the credit union can create engagement plans to improve the experience, she says. “This is where mapping can have an incredible impact. Mapping acts as a visualization of your data and helps the credit union develop strategies for deepened relationships.”

Best practices

Conway cites four crucial elements of a member journey map:

1. Member-centric point of view. Start with three to five journey maps of what matters most to your members and develop solutions to meet unmet needs.

2. Member-focused culture. Commit to improving the member experience across the organization. Make the experience proactive, personal, and memorable, and foster relationships through loyalty and engagement.

3. Emotion. A connection of shared beliefs keeps members coming back and further developing their relationships with credit unions. Members want to do business with organizations that understand them, share their values, and create meaningful experiences.

4. Consistency. Execute the first three elements consistently across every channel for every member, every day.

Learn more: The 1st step in journey mapping.