Key elements of good member experience

Simplicity, Visibility and Empowerment are three of the key elements impacting member experience.

Simplicity sits at the core. Your members likely refer to it as “easy to do business with”. Concepts of straight-through processing, frictionless experience, intuitive interface (UX) and real-time response rely on simplicity. By definition, simplicity forces an organization to be focused on what is absolutely needed to complete a member request. It questions everything else that we do that adds minimal value but is needed due to poor process design, audit requirements, technology or talent limitations.  It is perhaps the most difficult element to achieve as it requires examination of business practices, identification of “clutter” and envisioning a future state. Simplicity is not to be mistaken with a sleek user experience (UX) on mobile application or website. While clean UX absolutely impacts member experience, we need to think of simplicity in a more holistic way – member experience is defined as the cumulative effect and impression left on the member over time. That means everything they do with us, regardless of how and when, will leave an impression on them. So, the best way to deliver simplicity is to start with processes or transactions that have the highest volume, i.e. account opening, check deposit, commercial loans, mortgage refis, etc., and reengineer them to deliver a frictionless experience.  To reengineer effectively we need to put ourselves in the member’s shoes.

Visibility will help maintain the trust that was built during the “sales” life cycle and reinforce expectations. Providing visual management tools to members that explain the process, and provides status updates keeps the member engaged. It also takes the burden off your talent to actively manage the process – receive incoming calls, escalate requests – while also removing opaqueness.  Let’s take a commercial loan process as an example. Typically, a longer than average process, requiring a significant amount of documentation from the member, followed by UW, development of committee presentation, review by committee and finally preparation of closing documents. Here is a way that visibility can be created for the member: At the term-sheet stage provide a simple visual graphic outlining the major milestones of the lending process, typical SLAs and what the member should provide in order to successfully close at their requested date. Provide status updates at the end of each milestone to demonstrate progress, building trust and confidence.  We can use that touch point to also remind the member of the next phase plus any additional information that may be required.   The more we keep the member in the loop, the more confident they will become with the expected outcomes and there will be less escalations by the lenders.

Empowerment is about choice which by turn means providing various methods and options for the member to interact with you – the industry buzzword is Omni-Channel. The true essence of empowerment is allowing the member to do what they want, when they want, without necessarily involving anyone. Empowerment has a heavy reliance on simplicity – there is nothing more frustrating to a member that initiates an activity, but is unable to complete it because of inadequate system capabilities or poor process design. So while a team is working on simplifying and streamlining your core member-facing transactions, another can be focused on how to deliver those services using other platforms – mobile and website. Additional elements on the critical path to omni-channel success are:  Developing a sound strategy for authentication, and designing smart forms with clean UX (not allowing incomplete or inaccurate forms to be submitted by members).

Every industry will have additional elements that define member experience; in the financial services sector protection (fiduciary responsibility, as well as personal data) will likely be critical, and in healthcare it may be accuracy of drug formulation (the medication shouldn’t adversely impact anyone). But at its very core for industries that are highly commoditized, with large transaction volumes – like brokerage, banking & insurance – a clear strategy around simplification, visibility, and empowerment will surely enhance member experience and differentiation.

Sheila Shaffie

Sheila Shaffie

Sheila is the co-founder of ProcessArc, a consulting and training company focused on client experience and transformation.  Her company is a trusted partner of financial institutions globally including: CUNA Mutual ... Web: Details