Maturation in Member Experience: Gauging Whether You Meet Your Members’ Expectations in Today’s Age of Experience


Financial institutions used to compete on product. Today we compete on customer experience, but what began as a digital arms race to deploy seamless online and mobile banking experiences has shifted to focus on how consumers feel about their relationship with a service provider. These days creating positive emotions is the key to ensuring that your members remain loyal and satisfied

So, where do we as credit unions stand in this new arena? Are we consumer delighters, making our members feel good about working with us, or are we still muddling through delivering the same “differentiators” everyone else is deploying? MEMBERS Development Company decided to find out where our credit unions stand by launching an MX maturity assessment with Avtex Solutions, a leader in the customer experience field.

The process

Our first step was to define Member Experience Maturity as follows:

Member Experience Maturity is the extent to which member experience principles, values, methods and practices intentionally and consistently inform both long-term organizational strategy and experience innovation, resulting in member experience excellence.

Next, we identified six competencies, listed below, that support a mature member experience as well as several key actions that demonstrate those competencies. We surveyed our owners on how advanced they were in these competencies.

The findings

With 62% of our owners responding, here’s what we found out:

  • Most credit unions have already taken the first steps to developing a mature member experience by evaluating the current state of MX and identifying pain points.
  • Most (70%) respondents were actively working to fix those pain points, having established systems, processes or teams dedicated to pushing MX forward.
  • But only a quarter of our owners had moved beyond this stage to scale their learnings across their entire organization and optimize MX throughout all member touchpoints.
  • Even fewer (3%) had truly differentiated themselves based on member experience, making it a defining characteristic of their identity to their members.

How do we move forward? How can we deliver a fully mature member experience?

The plan

Here are the six competencies MDC identified as key to a mature member experience, as well as advice on developing them at your credit union:

  1. Strategy – Knowing the experience you want to deliver is the first step on the MX journey for any organization. Define how the experience you provide should be different, creating an “experiential North Star” as your organization’s goal. Too many organizations haven’t yet sat down to say, “THIS is what we mean by member experience.” Be specific and inspirational.
  2. Member Insight – Keeping track of member needs and expectations is essential to our ability to fulfil them. Credit unions are fairly good at gathering survey data from members, but we can’t ask what we don’t know about. Gathering employee feedback about the experiences provided to members and practicing ethnographic research are two ways to ensure you are responding to all of your members’ needs, including their emotional ones.
  3. Culture – The stories we are able to tell about making a difference in our members’ lives shouldn’t be sold short, but we need to go further. Credit unions need to consistently train employees on key member experience topics and competencies and incorporate them when recognizing achievements and milestones.
  4. Governance – Establish formal processes and systems for cross-functional collaboration over MX. MX leaders should be empowered to identify deficiencies across the organizations and create new solutions.
  5. Design – Digital transformation is yesterday’s MX news. Instead of just focusing on the what and how to keep up with peers, we should instead focus on the why. In a world where everyone has a functional mobile banking app, how members feel about their relationships with us is what will make us different. The key to great members experiences isn’t fulfilling their practical needs, but also their emotional one.
  6. Measurement – Are you using anything other than NPS to gauge your MX performance?  How you measure your MX can vary, but it’s critical if you want to make progress in delighting your members. Define and use an MX measurement framework distinct from NPS, and be sure it covers both your members’ functional needs as well as their emotional ones. You can also include other metrics, such as those enumerated in Forrester’s CX Index.

If we are to remain relevant in this new age of experience and increasing competition from fintechs and other nontraditional financial service providers, credit unions must continue to focus on member experience. MDC is committed to guiding our owners as they navigate this space.

Sarah D. Lietz is vice president of owner engagement for MEMBERS Development Company, an interactive network of financial industry partners leading credit unions in collaboration, innovation, thought leadership, and research to meet the needs of our credit unions and their members. We drive value by combining the strengths of our owners and innovative partners and leveraging the scale of our network of innovative credit unions to develop or identify innovative products and services. The network comprises almost 70 credit unions with over $200 billion in assets, 14.5 million members and over 37,000 employees.

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