Member experience: The next norm

Member experience: The next norm

Get members’ attention with more focused service.

August 31, 2020

There was a day when our member experience was our differentiator in the world of financial services. Right now there is no time to stand still and hope things return to normal, whatever that may be. It’s time to take the bull by the horns and think creatively, innovate ideas that have only been a dream in the past, and be nimble on your toes. It’s time to get your members’ attention with the new you, the new more focused way of serving and exceeding expectations.

This pandemic has changed everything about the way we shop, the way we bank, and, for some, the way we think. Like it or not, it will have a lasting impact on how we live. This week, in my neighborhood, a large chain store reopened its doors and within minutes had a line of 200 people waiting to get inside. One of our beloved local eateries closed their door permanently after serving our community for 18 years. I mentioned to a neighbor that I couldn’t wait to get back on a plane and go anywhere. His response was, “I’m never getting on a plane again!”

For some reason I can’t stop asking myself—will our normal ever be normal again? 

How the businesses in our communities reacted in this time triggered a reaction in us. Businesses that responded quickly with new methods and delivery channels gained trust and loyalty. Nimbleness and proactively seeking out improved ways of serving are at the forefront in the new experience.

We’ve also seen staff quickly make changes when led by an innovative, transparent leader. True leaders might have been concerned and unsure, but they never took their eye off the member experience. Leaders need to stay on the pulse of their member needs and be focused on modernization and redesign.

Here are a few ideas to ensure forward momentum.

  1. Get in touch with your members:
  • Reach out and share what’s new to support their needs—not with product marketing.
  • Make your community a priority—get your teams out to show you care.
  • Stay true to your purpose and values—use these as your filter for making decisions.
  1. Meet members where they are:
  • Innovate processes to help members continue to do business with you.
  • Expand service options and delivery channels to meet the new norm.
  1. Economic impacts will persist for you and your members:
  • Update loan payment plans to help members get back or stay on track.
  • Create new loan programs for new needs.
  • The economy will force ongoing cuts—reposition staff to best serve your members.
  • Migrate members to digital channels to meet new needs.
  • Develop a new branch flow for ease of business and safety.
  1. Improve member experience by gaining insight into the changing dynamics and pain points of your members:
  • Use social media to tell your story.
  • Engage your members through virtual town hall meetings rather than surveys.
  • Engage with staff to gather the voices of members.
  1. Keep a pulse on changing preferences:
  • Open eyes, ears and hearts—listen to employees and your members.
  • Create an “innovation team" to drive rapid change.

This, like no other time in history, can become a catalyst for credit union growth by living and showing who you are at your core of “people helping people.”

Jayne Hitman is national relationship manager for CUNA Creating Member Loyalty™.