Use Scenarios-based Design to Help Members in Need

Members of all ages are expressing concern about their finances and doubts about their financial management skills. Scenario-based design or personas can help your credit union ensure that the needs of different types of members are being met.

 
 

The current environment, with distrust of banks at historical highs, offers a unique opportunity for credit unions to leverage their "trusted advisor" status and focus on improving their member’s financial management skills. 

In a recent survey of over 13,400 credit union members, members of all ages expressed concerns about their finances and doubts about their financial management skills.  Across the board, members are concerned about savings, retirement, and their ability to reduce their debts.  The ongoing economic uncertainty has made them even even less confident of their investment and debt management skills. Credit unions can engender greater loyalty by providing tools to help members understand their current financial position, and better ways to manage their money. 

The website is an ideal medium to provide the information and tools to enhance member financial management.  Some members may be embarrassed about their financial situation, and just want to check that the credit union has programs available should they decide to talk with someone.  Others want to be sure the credit union has competitive loan and refinancing options.  

One tactic for ensuring that your website is meeting member needs is to use scenario-based design or personas to ensure that the needs of different types of members are being met.  While design and research firms have varying approaches to accomplish this goal, one approach involves the following:

  • Identifying key segments and their financial situations
  • List their goals and motivations
  • Develop a list of questions and concerns members may have
  • Assess whether credit union products or services meet their needs
  • Ensure that there are sufficient communication options and channels to respond to this members’ needs
  • Provide detailed information online that addresses the key concerns and provides information about the right products, services and contacts for further help or to move forward

As an example, consider a member who expects to be laid off from their job:

Member:

Joe, age 45, with a family, mortgage and auto loan, and credit card debt

Financial situation

About to be laid off, with 60% of income used for various installment loan payments

Goals and motivations:

Take care of family, maintain home and auto loan payments while on unemployment

Questions and concerns

  • How can I consolidate my loan payments?
  • Do I qualify for a loan refinance?
  • Which loans should I pay off first if I can’t pay all of them  - do I pay some of each?

Which credit union products/services meet their needs

  • Does the credit union have “skip a payment” options, financial hardship CD withdrawals,
  • can the mortgage or auto loan be refinanced?

Ensure that there are sufficient communication options and channels to respond to this members’ needs

  • Can member service reps at the call center give definitive answers to Joe’s questions? 
  • If a specific department can handle these issues, are they available in the evenings or weekends?
  • Can an appointment be set to talk in person, to minimize time away from work?

Is there detailed information online for further help or to move forward

  • Is the online information easy to find?
  • Is the terminology straightforward and easy to understand?
  • Are there calculators designed to answer these specific questions? Where are they?

Other scenarios could be developed considering members who are “underwater” on their mortgage loans, and those planning for a home purchase or financing an education.  Researching member needs through personal interviews or focus groups may also help identify information and navigation deficiencies.

 

 

 

 

July 13, 2009


Comments

 
 
 
  • Great reminder that, as always, the motivator for a credit union should be the people, not the profit. But, with concern for people (and wise decision-making, of course), profit comes!
    Bryan
     
     
     
  • Good article to share
    Kate