What do you promise? And what do you deliver? Flash polling at THINK 14 about the credit union brand promise and the member experiences that back it up revealed some interesting opportunities. While THINK participants were sanguine, they also saw challenges around communicating their value and accurately assessing member needs.

When asked whether credit unions offer consumers a clear, common promise, THINK attendees thought not. A full 38 percent said credit unions need help as a movement; another 37 percent said credit unions need branding help both individually and as a whole.

Do credit unions represent a clear, common promise?

Yes, individually and as a movement 20%
No, we need help as a movement 38%
No, we need stronger individual brands 4%
No, we need help individually and as a whole 37%

For the most part, credit union member experiences are aligned with their brands: 65 percent of respondents said their experience equaled their brand. Bad news: Of those, 22 percent said that their unified brand/experience didn’t say much.

Do your brand and your member experience speak in unison?

Our member experience is our brand. 43%
Our member experience exceeds our brand. 14%
Our brand is awesome! Our member experience? Not
They speak in unison – and they don’t say much. 22%

Never mind alignment, are credit unions lovable? Most THINK participants thought so: 37 percent gave an unqualified yes, while 45 percent said yes – more or less.

Is your credit union easy to love?

Yes 37%
Yes, mostly 45%
If you aren’t too picky 9%
It’s complicated 9%


THINK participants were interested in what their members were thinking and experiencing, but they weren’t always sure how to tune in. Though they didn’t reveal a major disconnect – 24 percent said they had a pretty good idea, and another 55 percent suspected they knew but probably should ask more – only 8 percent had their finger on the pulse. More dialogue – or data – may be in order.

Do you know what your members think and feel about you?

Our finger is on the pulse! 8%
We have a pretty good gauge. 24%
We think we know, but we should ask more often. 55%
This question is scary. 13%


Presenter Kate Feather from PeopleMetrics uncovered a few areas of misunderstanding for credit unions. First, she asked whether participants thought technology was a “top three” priority for members. A whopping 77 percent said yes – but the correct answer was no. Consumers’ top three priorities, according to PeopleMetrics, are products, putting customers first and finding/keeping talented employees.

Customers ranked online and mobile technology among their top three priorities for improvement from their financial institution – true or false?

True 77%
False 23%

Feather also asked the audience about improvements they had made in member experience. Some 66 percent said they had made marginal improvements (46 percent) or “great strides” (20 percent) in improving customer service. Interestingly, a PeopleMetrics survey conducted separately showed 78 percent of financial services executives reporting an improved customer experience, while only 28 percent of customers agreed.

In the last 12 months, in your opinion, what has happened to the state of your credit union’s customer experience?

It has gotten worse. 6%
It has remained unchanged. 26%
We have made marginal improvements in customer
We have made great strides in improving our
customer experience.
I don’t know. 3%

Credit unions pride themselves on being trustworthy, and their ethical leanings showed through in poll responses. A majority – 53 percent – thought taking responsibility was the key to building trust.

How do you build trust?

Set expectations 3%
Exceed expectations 13%
Take responsibility 53%
Be consistent 28%
Be quick to respond 2%