Heuristics: the powerful tool in your MX skill set

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Five-star rating from a member.

In the past, a Satisfactory Member Experience (MX) was defined by the success of a transaction. Has the check been deposited? Has a question regarding a charge on a statement been answered? Has a loan request been processed? If the answer was yes, then it was considered a job well done.

Now that is not enough. It is taken for granted that the member’s need will be met and their initial goal achieved. With increased competition, the financial industry is focusing beyond the functional needs of consumers and seeking to meet emotional needs also in every interaction.

Meeting the emotional needs of members

In other words, when the transaction or exchange with the member is complete, does the member feel good about the process or does he feel frustrated? Do they feel valued or do they feel rushed? Do they feel appreciated or do they feel like a number? How much of this can a credit union control? Is there a way to design member interactions so that the member experience is the best possible?

At a recent owner meeting, MEMBERS Development Company asked Kurt Schroeder, Director of Experience at Avtex Solutions, a customer experience consulting and solutions provider based in Bloomington, Minnesota, for some ideas. on how to design a better experience for members. Based on his work studying consumer experiences, Schroeder shared his thoughts on heuristics. A heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows people to solve problems and make judgments quickly and effectively. Heuristics are useful in many situations, but they can also lead to cognitive biases. These cognitive biases often have an impact on our view of experiences and are so numerous that we give them names to identify them.

Designing a better experience for members

According to Schroeder, credit unions can improve the experience of their members by paying attention to the following heuristics:

  • The tip rule: People’s memories are more like a slideshow, made up of separate instances, than a movie. The way people remember past events is influenced by the peaks – the intense positive or negative moments – and the time of the end. For example, someone visiting an amusement park may recall the thrill of riding a roller coaster or standing under the scorching sun in a line that slowly winds towards the chosen ride. How could this peak moment have been turned into a positive? Previously, improving the member experience was all about identifying weak spots and working to resolve them. Instead, figure out how to create a memorable positive moment followed by a great ending. It could be something as simple as providing confirmation that a deposit has been scheduled and when funds will be available.
  • Projection deficit: In general, a person’s expectations of how they will feel during an activity are not accurate. For example, looking at pictures of people camping next to a stream full of trout, some people might decide to take their family camping. The reality of mosquitoes, the summer heat and the lack of flushing is not included in this vision. To avoid the trap of betraying a member’s expectations about an experience, manage their expectations upstream and then deliver the promised experience. For example, before you populate members with multiple security questions, inform them that there are a series of questions that need to be answered to keep their account secure. Studies have shown that satisfaction increases by 20 points when people know what to expect.
  • An advance: When a member needs to fill out a lot of information on a form, they may decide it is too complicated and give up the effort. Or, they might wonder if their credit union even knows who they are. Instead, pre-fill in as much information as possible. Note the transactions that a member performs on a regular basis, such as transferring funds to a child’s account after depositing a paycheck. Send the member a reminder asking if they want to initiate the transaction. Show that the credit union cares and helps make life easier for members.
  • Choice palsy: The human brain works best with binary choices. If there are more than two choices, people start to feel confused and anxious. Design systems to bring members to a decision through a series of binary choices. For example, do you want a checking account that pays interest, yes or no? Do you want to have a minimum balance, yes or no? The member will be able to make decisions faster and feel better about the experience.

To look forward

Consumers are demanding more and more, expecting everything from more personalized experiences and increased security to omnichannel delivery. Credit unions will need to use every tool available to appeal to the most sophisticated consumer. Heuristics are always involved in every consumer decision, and credit unions would do well to learn how to use these simple tools to their advantage.

Note: Looking to learn more about heuristics and how to create the best possible experiences for members? We suggest you read “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert, “Brain Apps” by Robert Best and “Before Happiness” by Shawn Achor.

Sarah lietz Sarah lietz

Sarah Lietz is Chief Experience Officer at MEMBERS Development Company based in Columbus, Ohio.


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