New CO-OP Study Offers Insights into Financial Journeys of Credit Union Members

CO-OP, Mastercard Analyzed 2,000 Financial Journeys, Focusing on Their Experience with Credit Unions

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – To offer credit unions a clearer picture of the member financial journey, CO-OP Financial Services is offering a free white paper and in-depth report that provides analysis of 2,000 individual journeys experienced by credit union members nationwide.

Mapping the Member Journey” was prepared by CO-OP in partnership with Mastercard Advisors. The study measured the performance of 13 different member engagements, such as applying for membership, making a service complaint, initiating a balance inquiry or starting an investment account. It then studied how both positive and negative performance influenced future behavior.

“In the digital age – where every transaction is captured, analyzed and followed-up on – true insight beats anecdotal knowledge every time,” said Todd Clark, President/CEO, CO-OP. “Our goal was to take a data-informed, scientific approach to discovering fresh opportunities for daily interactions with members. This kind of detailed insight into how members interact with their credit unions, what they value and what they don’t, will help optimize experiences for increased member satisfaction, retention and growth.”

Executives, board members and staff from all areas of the credit union industry are invited to download the summary white paper here. Within the white paper are links to the full report, which can also be downloaded directly at https://coopmemberjourneys.org.

A few key takeaways from the complete study include:

Credit Unions Excel at Front-End, Straightforward Engagements
Nearly 60 percent of members who experienced high levels of stress or anxiety from a negative member journey said they would decrease their business with the credit union. When they experienced an exceptionally positive experience, on the other hand, nearly 65 percent of members said they felt increased trust with their credit union.

Of the interactions studied by CO-OP, the top-performing or those generating the most positive member emotions either occurred at the front-end of a member journey or were fairly simple and straight-forward, such as requesting a companion card, a balance inquiry or becoming a member for the first time.

Conversely, CO-OP found interactions that resulted in the most negative member experiences included mortgage applications, financial planning and goal setting, fee disputes, technical problems with online banking, card declines and service complaints.

“Member journeys that require progress updates, richer explanations or additional direction seem to be where credit union member expectations are not being met today,” said Clark. “This is where technology integration, allowing credit union employees seamless access to a complete member profile across products and services, can have a dramatic impact on the overall member experience.”

Credit and Debit Cards Continue to be High-Touch, High-Emotion Products
CO-OP took a deeper dive into the cardholder journey by looking at several credit and debit card experiences. Among the findings from this particular product set were:

  • 71 percent reported a positive experience when applying for a credit card.
  • 81 percent of respondents who requested a companion card were positive about their experience.
  • Card declines were among the most distressing experiences cardholders reported.

Notably, just 23 percent of members surveyed had applied for a credit card in the past five years, indicating a large opportunity for new card members within a credit union’s existing membership.

Emotions Play an Important Role in Overall Experience, Future Business
CO-OP’s research indicates a direct link between emotions and engagement. Among members who described themselves as having a high emotional load and a positive experience, 64 percent said they would increase their business, and 69 percent felt increased trust. Interestingly, the same positive experiences were less impactful for emotionally neutral members: only 47 percent would increase their business, and just 50 percent experienced increased trust.

“A negative member journey not only impacts a credit union’s reputation with members,” said Clark. “It has legs, stretching potentially far beyond the base. Understanding where and how these interactions are happening is the first step to rectifying them. Connecting the dots between all three components of the member experience – performance, impact and emotional load – helps credit unions put member journey data to real use.”

CO-OP will continue to explore the findings of its member journey mapping research through content such as the THINK Review magazine, on the Insight Vault blog, and events such as the upcoming THINK 19 conference, scheduled for May 6-9, 2019, in Miami. Registration for THINK 19 is open now, and at a “Fall Special” rate of $1,299 through November 27, 2018.