Address Member Issues Before It's Too Late

Bethpage FCU manages the member experience through direct feedback.

 
 

Bethpage Federal Credit Union ($5.4B, Bethpage, NY) lives by its tagline, “Members Come First” and has invested significant time and resources in an organization-wide Net Promoter Program to manage its service experience and identify challenges before they grow into full-blown member complaints. According to FirstLook Search & Analyze data on CreditUnions.com, the credit union boasted 12-month membership growth of 8.12%, which was nearly twice the 4.54% and 4.09% of its asset-based and state, respectively, peer groups. It average member relationship of $33,598 is more than triple Bethpage’s asset, state, and national peer groups, which goes to show Bethpage’s focus on the member experience is paying real dividends.

Here, Melissa Feeney, vice president of human resources and learning, and Diane Krieger, associate vice president of human resources and learning and development, discuss Bethpage’s program and processes in more detail.

How long has the credit union been tracking NPS?

We’ve been tracking our Net Promoter Score (NPS) for three years now. We use Member Loyalty Group’s program, so we’re able to benchmark our performance versus others within the industry and provide access to timely “voice of the member” feedback throughout the organization through role-based dashboards.

How does the Net Promoter Program help Bethpage identify and solve issues before they turn into complaints?

In short, we crunch a lot of numbers. Service is our No. 1 priority, and NPS helps us manage the member experience through direct feedback. Our managers review their scores and respond to member feedback to create a closed-loop process.

We also have a service quality team that does a lot of analysis, trend tracking, and follow-up in specific areas. For example, if we have a lot of passives, those who are not very likely to recommend the credit union, the service quality team can help that area understand why members are scoring them this way and what actions they can take to improve.

When we’ve had challenges in the past, the member comments point us back to where we need to focus. One of the processes we’ve implemented to help the entire organization is a 10% call back of all passives by the service quality team, which happens in addition to the closed-loop process the managers follow. This helps us get to the root cause of issues before members become detractors — those who would definitely not recommend the credit union.

Can you share a specific example of an issue you’ve been able to resolve?

Absolutely, one good example is in our mortgage area. We struggled because we had high volume. We simply couldn’t keep up and our members were telling us that. Feedback clearly showed that members were frustrated because communication was lacking and employees would not get back to them in a timely manner when they had questions. We did several things to address these issues:

  1. We hired more folks with mortgage experience.
  2. We put processes in place to ensure that follow-up was happening. One of the best things we did in this area was to put a mid-process survey together, which we send before the mortgage process is complete, to ask how things are going. This allows us to jump on any negative member feedback and identify issues as they’re happening.
  3. We physically centralized all of the mortgage staff members so they could talk to one another easily and work more efficiently. Having them in different physical spaces put barriers up unnecessarily.

NPS is often thought of as a lagging indicator because you don’t see the data until after the fact, but it can also help you get ahead of issues. We knew we had a problem in the mortgage area because of the NPS data. So were able to dig in to see where things were breaking in the process and identify ways to fix it.

How else does Bethpage use its NPS data to improve the member experience?

I report on service, using NPS specifically, weekly in our executive meetings. Because of this, I end up looking at it throughout the day. I’ll notice if a new area that typically doesn’t have any passive scores receives one and ask about it.

A specific example is a branch that went from zero passives to three passives in one day. We were able to look at what was going on in the branch to see if this was a one-off or a trend that we needed to get ahead of. The branch had a lot of checking accounts to open from a new referral campaign and it also had a person call out sick that day. The member comments were all related to wait time, which was consistent with what we knew internally.

This is just one small example that needed some triage, but being aware of feedback like this has made us consider how we roll out new products. Whenever we have a new product or new service we ask: How is this going to impact member service?

Has Net Promoter changed other areas of the credit union as well?

Definitely. When we started the program, our managers were a little apprehensive about doing things like calling members who had given negative feedback, but now they realize these are opportunities to further develop the relationship. We all see feedback as an opportunity and speak the same language because of our Net Promoter Program. Because we discuss key drivers of our scores and report regularly on NPS to influential audiences, the entire organization is on board now and we have a robust way to manage the service experience.

We’re also continuing to ensure that all areas that impact the member, even our new Operations Center that is a partnership between Bethpage and two other credit unions, are being measured and managed by the same standard.

 

 

 

Nov. 18, 2013


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