Recently, I needed to cancel a line on my cell phone. I logged into my account and “cancel a line” was not one of the transactions I could do myself. However, a chat window popped up and promised me help and let me know that I was in the queue. The notification went further and told me that as long as the chat window was open, I would remain in queue for the next available agent. Great news! I could do a few other things while waiting. So, I did just that and kept my eye on the chat window. Instead of seeing a nice little message from the chat person asking how they could help, which I expected, I saw a notice pop up that I was being timed out for inactivity. I had to log in again to get back into the queue.
Little Annoyances Lead to Big, Bad Impressions
It wasn’t a horrible experience but certainly an annoyance that took more of my time than I would have liked. The experience was a mismatch of perception and reality. The company set my expectations to perceive that as long as the window was open, I was actively waiting. The reality of what actually happened was very different leaving me feeling this is a company that doesn’t value my time.
Is your credit union, even in little ways, doing that to your members as well? Are you promising it will work one way, but it actually works differently? Your members’ perception is your reality. Your members might initially just feel annoyed at their interaction with you, but over time, annoyance leads to the impression that it’s hard to do business with your credit union.
Prioritize the Member Experience in 2020
As you prepare for the new year, drafting budgets, finalizing strategic initiatives and writing the business plan, it’s time to be honest about the promises you are making to your members. Are you setting expectations that don’t match the delivery of the experience? Here are three actions to incorporate into your 2020 initiatives that will help you deliver on your promises, avoid annoying your members and create positive impressions of what it means to be a member of your credit union:
Understand Your Members’ Behavior: Do a little research before deciding how you’ll promote your products and services and in what channels for 2020. Understand how your members use your checking accounts, pay their bills and receive their paychecks. Also, understand how your members interact with you. Do your members come into a branch, use your mobile app, read email on their phones or at a desktop? Gathering this information on member behavior will help you align your experiences with your members’ expectations.
Evaluate the Experience: Get a handle on the actual experience you are providing and make changes so the delivery matches your promise. Identify those member experience pain points by going through your various delivery channels. Establish an experience team to walk through your website and see if your processes match your description. Have your new employees call the contact center and ask how to become a member or apply for a loan. Sometimes the smallest changes can lead to big impacts. If my chat window from the cell phone provider had actually stayed open, I would have been completely happy with my experience.
Take Action on What You Learn: Communicate to your members that experience is a priority and that you want to hear from them. Use your enewsletter and the news section on your website, for example, to tell members that you want to not only meet their expectations but exceed them and that you’ll be sending surveys and providing avenues for them to communicate with you about their experiences. Throughout the year continue the dialogue and tell them what you learned, how you are going to improve and outline the changes you are going to make.
Most of us choose options that will help us avoid hassle, annoyance and anxiety. As you look to 2020, bring your member experience into focus and seek out ways to make the expectations and the realities match. Your attention to even the small aspects of the experience you provide will make a big, positive impression on your members.