How Leading Credit Unions Drive World-Class Member Experience

Smiling young African American woman talks with a female colleague
By Robert Galop

4 minutes

Four key areas have the biggest impact on customer experience, employee efficiency and revenue growth.

Sponsored by AskNicely

It won’t surprise you that member experience ranks as the top priority for 81% of credit unions around the globe. What might surprise you is what some are doing about it.

Study after study has shown that member experience contributes to key growth metrics. The link makes sense. An awesome member experience equals happy members, and happy members make lifelong customers who refer family and friends. On the other hand, just one bad experience can send someone looking for greener pastures.

So, if this is a key business lever, how do you pull it? What are the best-in-class credit unions doing, and what is the actual impact on their bottom line?

Earlier this year, AskNicely partnered with research firm Metrigy to conduct the 2022 State of Frontline Study, analyzing over 200 service businesses (including credit unions) across the globe. The goal of the study was to uncover how service industry leaders drive world-class experience and the impact on their business.

The study found four key areas that drove the biggest impact in customer experience, employee efficiency and revenue growth:

  1. Defining and publishing your service standard
  2. Tracking, sharing and acting on feedback
  3. Empowering and rewarding frontline employees
  4. Personalizing coaching to increase training effectiveness

The great news? Building, or even overhauling, your member experience program doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive.

It All Starts With a Service Standard

Credit unions that have a set of clear, well-informed and well-understood service standards outperform their competitors.

Put simply, service standards are a set of tangible guidelines that define a) what a member can expect from a service, and b) how your people should deliver that experience on the front line.

While that might sound easy, only 17.7% of businesses surveyed had their standards published and visible to both their front-line employees and customers. That’s tough. How can we expect member-facing teams to deliver out-of-this-world experiences if they don’t have a consistent and clear target to work towards? The simple answer is, they can’t.

The Way You Collect Feedback and What You Do With It Matters

The Metrigy study found that businesses that track, share and act on member feedback experience a 41% increase in revenue improvement, 68% increase in employee efficiency improvement and a massive 105% increase in member satisfaction.

Yet, the data shows only 53.5% of companies surveyed collect feedback regularly, and 22.1% of service businesses don’t collect feedback at all. That is a massive blind spot for anyone who relies on positive customer sentiment to grow.

$1 billion First Commonwealth Credit Union, the largest credit union in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, is a great example of turning this problem around. They’d always collected customer feedback, but like many credit unions, they did so sporadically and didn’t have the infrastructure to do much with it.

When they began working with AskNicely, First Commonwealth CU could finally collect more meaningful feedback from their members more frequently. They automated member follow-ups and were able to share feedback directly with the people who could learn from it: their member support teams. With this in place, First Commonwealth CU could identify critical gaps in the service experience and quickly improve across all levels of the business.

“AskNicely has helped us understand members' perspectives of their experience. We can now coach and develop our teams to excel at service delivery based on what actually matters to our members.” – Damaris Sirop, VP/Director Member Experience

Personalized Coaching for Your Service Teams

While success and growth are determined partially by member experience, member experience is determined almost entirely by the people members interact with. This means advisors, tellers and member support specialists all have more impact on that experience than any executive.

The 2022 Frontline Work Study found that the front line directly impacts roughly two-thirds of the member experience—specifically in support, service delivery and purchase experience. That’s a big chunk of the pie.

So, if you want to deliver a world-class member experience, you need to invest in your front-line teams. The alternative is poor visibility or consistency in the interactions shaping how members feel about your brand.

When credit unions invest in frontline teams with the coaching, recognition, and support they need, results follow. In fact, businesses with frontline satisfaction programs in place see a 25% increase in revenue improvement, a 64% increase in employee efficiency and a 73% increase in customer satisfaction.

Want to see how your member experience program places among the world’s best and recommendations on where to focus your efforts? Get a personalized benchmark report based on the 2022 State of Frontline Study results here.

Robert Galop heads up marketing for AskNicely. He is an accomplished business executive with over 20 years of hands-on experience across marketing, product development, and product management for high-growth technology and SaaS innovators.

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