Rely on customer journey mapping when every interaction counts

Generally speaking, a key advantage that credit unions have over traditional banks is that credit unions are more likely to share a less formal and more personal relationship with their members. This is a truly differentiating and appealing feature and something credit unions can use as a strong foundation to build on to continually improve customer satisfaction and secure long-term member retention.

In addition, consider that financial organizations of all kinds have been facing increased regulatory scrutiny over recent years, and this has to some degree slowed the development of innovation in things like mortgages, loans and even in providing guidance for investing. At the same time, social media has given every consumer a public communication platform to share their experiences with financial institutions in real time. A positive review can go a long way to sparking wider interest in your credit union; but a negative comment, unfortunately, can have a similar but opposite impact.

All employees in your organization should be encouraged to bear in mind that every member is a living, breathing individual, perhaps with a family, mortgage, auto loan, concerns about upcoming college tuition and retirement accounts, and/or funding a sudden emergency. No doubt your credit union has gigabytes of both stored and active customer data on hand – usually in several different, isolated databases. If this data can be properly aggregated and analyzed, you can develop a fairly clear picture of every member’s financial commitments and concerns, their interests and ambitions, and even anticipate their needs to truly serve them well.

The process of customer journey mapping can help you understand your customers beyond the initial onboarding process and provide insights into the things that really matter to them. This involves developing a virtual roadmap of each customer’s pathway through your organization, including every touchpoint with every department, every contact through various media, every transaction, and their level of satisfaction or lack of it, if you can access their responses. You’ll find that the customer’s journey is almost always very different from the way you thought it was, and that a member may not see the departments as you see them or do things in neat functional siloes.

While both your members and your credit union stand to gain through a deeper understanding, customer journey mapping can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, and for that reason, it has typically been the preserve of the largest financial institutions. First, data from all departments should be aggregated, and then duplicate documents and errors identified, weeded out, and corrected. Also, customer information can change significantly over time and requires constant updates. Make sure you use the latest information.

Technology can help you with this, by automatically “reading” and assessing the data from the various sources and databases in your credit union, and then by tracking the different paths of your customers’ journeys. Collaboration among your internal functional divisions is important to providing insights into the many ways a member does business with you, and every segment of your organization can benefit by gaining a well-rounded view of customers.

Even better, when all departments collaborate on improving the customer journey and are able to access a single source of truth in one technology solution, all of them gain a clearer, three-dimensional view that can help you see where a customer might be headed, or where you can offer a suggestion to help them progress toward their goals. In this way, you can map out the potential future of your customer relationships.

We’re used to thinking big, because the whole financial world is engaged in an ongoing battle to modernize and transform, both technologically and operationally. However, you don’t need to change the world to make your members smile. Something that might seem as small as a prompt answer to a question, via phone or email, shows that you respect your members and value their time. Noticeable assurances of privacy and security can inspire confidence, particularly when doing business online.

Stop and think, if you were in a relationship and your partner only showed that they cared about you once every quarter or once a year, even if they did so in a spectacular way, would you stick around that long to find out how good their appreciation was going to be? Promises of a bonus or gift for opening a savings account or credit card can attract new business, but it’s the day-to-day, ongoing experience with your credit union that will keep the members working with you from year to year.

Perhaps most important is to adjust your mindset. Think of the seemingly trivial, everyday things when it comes to showing you know your customers and care about them. The customer journey map serves as a guide for you by revealing the little elements that you can improve or expand upon. And be sure to let members know what you‘re doing to improve their experience as they move through your credit union. They will appreciate your efforts and reward you with added business and their loyalty.

Andrew Stevens

Andrew Stevens

Andrew Stevens is Global Banking and Financial Services Principal for Quadient, a leader in helping businesses transform their customer experience by creating meaningful connections through digital and physical channels. With ... Web: Details