Beyond The Flip Chart: 2 Credit Unions’ Approach To Journey Mapping The Member Experience.

UNFCU and All In take consultative and do-it-yourself paths, respectively, to achieve better internal processes and member service.

Top-Level Takeaways

  • UNFCU and All In FCU have eliminated friction in their processes using journey mapping to improve the member experience.
  • Two pizzagroups from across operational areas are recommended, and member feedback is critical, as is putting the learnings into action. Else, it’s naught but pretty charts on the wall.


All In FCU
Data as of 03.31.19

HQ: Daleville, AL
MEMBERS: 118,820
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 26.6%
ROA: 1.82%

Journey mapping has become a go-to way for a growing coterie of credit unions working to reduce process friction and improve the member experience by examining how that service is delivered every step of the way.

United Nations Federal Credit Union ($5.6B, Long Island City, NY) and All In Federal Credit Union ($1.4B, Daleville, AL) are examples of financial cooperatives who have taken that trip, going beyond the flip charts to make the journey an iterative process that learns as it goes.

Each took its own path: UNFCU initially used a consultant to help facilitate the work, while All In has a manager who leads each journey while making it part of the training regimen. But they share this: At the end of the process, journey maping improved the member experience.

For example, loan applicants no longer have to sign multiple, redundant documents in a process that now is the same regardless of where they apply. We had people signing documents in branches that they didn’t need to online,says Laurie Flanders, sales manager and accountability trainer. Why?

We’ve evolved from a transactional experience, from a get-them-in, get-them-out mentality, to a needs-based relationship that builds a conversation. It’s changed everything we do. It’s helped us make sure we keep the members in mind first.

Laurie Flanders, Sales Manager & Accountability Trainer, All In FCU

The Journey Begins


United Nations FCU
Data as of 03.31.19

HQ: Long Island City, NY
MEMBERS: 135,935
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 16.9%
ROA: 1.01%

Journey mapping can be defined as presenting processes and member needs and perceptions across all interactions between cooperative and consumer.

There are typically two parts to the process: the internal workshop and customer/member research, according to Cindy Grimm, chief customer experience officer with CX Solutions, a member experience consultancy.

The internal workshop brings together people from different areas to look across the full journey. Participants are asked to put their customer hat on and think like their customer and what they do,Grimm says The purpose is not to map internal processes. That’s a separate task after we understand things from the customer’s perspective.

Step two is the external research using surveys, focus groups, and other feedback techniques to understand which parts of the journey have the most impact on loyalty and word of mouth, and to prioritize improvement opportunities.

Don’t look at just internal processes,Grimm stresses. Member feedback is critical to going beyond just a pretty picture on the wall that results in no clear action items that improve the experience.

All In’s Laurie Flanders leads a journey mapping session at her south Alabama credit union.

From Flip Chart To Front Line

All In and UNFCU each began their journey mapping journeys in 2017, when the big New York credit union brought in CX Solutions and the south Alabama cooperative hired Laurie Flanders as sales manager and accountability trainer.

Building on the techniques she developed in her previous stop at Pen Air FCU where she says journey mapping led to upgrading more than 100 processes Flanders began by forming groups based on the two pizza rulemade famous by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. (Groups small enough to be fed with two pizzas.)

Then, Flanders says:

  • Select the best team to have around the table.
  • Take the item you wish to impact and map out the journey of the member in each channel the member could utilize to accomplish this task.
  • Then look at the current reality and ask a few questions: Is this the best experience we have to offer? Are we duplicating efforts? What part of this experience is in our control? Where can we make efficiency upgrades?
  • Then rearrange the pieces of the process to better serve the member and decide what tasks need to be completed to support this realignment.

This is CX Solutions’ five-step process for engaging all stakeholders in the customer experience improvement process.

Less Friction, More Connection

Along with identifying broken system processes that were negatively impacting the overall experience of the member,Flanders and her colleagues found they were forging a renewed connection with their member-owners based on depth, not necessarily speed.

Our experience had been based on moving people, a get-them in, get-them-out mentality,she says. This left us with a large deficit when it came to building a deep, lifelong relationship with our members, and ultimately resulted in many of our members maintaining primary relationships with other institutions.

Now, We’ve evolved from a transactional experience to a needs-based relationship that builds a conversation. It’s changed everything we do. It’s helped us make sure we keep the members in mind first.

Values Go First

Flanders stresses beginning the process by ensuring the work is seen through the lenses of mission, vision, and values. UNFCU also had mission and values in mind as it embarked on its journey-mapping adventure.

Our mission is serving the people who serve the world,says Rossana Creo, vice president of strategic planning. Journey mapping as a tool aligns with our mission by providing us another means of identifying what matters most to members.

Just ask Phillippe in Italyand Nadia in Sudan, two of the personas with specific demographic and product characteristics typical of UNFCU members stationed in those countries.

The journey mappers kept the needs of those personas in mind as they together examined processes in sub-journeysinto such areas as loans, credit cards, and payments.

We broke journey mapping down into sub-journeys. This helped us identify our highest priorities and areas where we can make improvements, says Creo. We continuously review our member touchpoints, processes, and systems to improve the experience we deliver.

The process continues at All In, too, where journey mapping techniques are part of regular training for existing employees and new hires.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Get rolling on important initiatives using documents, policies, and templates borrowed from fellow credit unions. Pull them off the shelf and tailor them to your needs. See what we have for you in the Callahan Policy Exchange. Don’t have access? Learn more.

ROI And Some Do’s and Don’ts

Grimm at CX Solutions says her company works with clients to make changes that have the greatest impact on customer loyalty, and that there are ways to predict and gauge success.

We use economic modeling to project the business impact of specific changes so that priorities can be set based on the ROI of each potential improvement opportunity,she says.

Results also can often be tracked through ongoing metrics that the credit union is already tracking, Grimm says. For example, if the goal was to improve completion of tasks via the digital, with fewer calls to the call center, you can see that through operational data and don’t need a survey.

Journey Mapping With UNFCU

Rossana Creo, vice president of strategic planning at UNFCU, suggests establishing a database of all member touchpoints as a starting point for the member journey mapping process. Here she shares some more best practices that could apply to any cooperative considering the same:

  • Do your due diligence and research beforehand to determine if this tool is right for your credit union. Determine what type of commitment it will require.
  • Make sure to leverage diverse and cross-functional teams to get the most feedback from your employees on the member experience. Do the same for the voice of the member components of the process. You want to ensure your findings are representative of the entire membership.
  • Share the results and outcomes organization-wide.
  • Repeat the journey-mapping process to focus on continual improvements to the member journey.


August 27, 2019

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