7 Drivers of Member Satisfaction: CFI Group
Credit unions are doing a better job than banks when it comes to keeping customers happy, according to CFI Group’s 2015 Credit Union Satisfaction Index released Tuesday, and there are at least seven reasons for that success.
"This is the third year we've measured customer satisfaction with credit unions and the results have been consistently strong," CFI Group CEO Sheri Petras said. "The score of 87 is eight points ahead of the banking average and 13 points ahead of the highest-scoring bank measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index."
According to the study, seven drivers have the most impact on whether members are happy with their credit unions in 2015: Products and services, information and communications, branch staff, branch convenience, ATMs, rates and fees, and online and mobile banking.
“Improvements in these areas will have a direct impact on the CUSI score, which in turn will drive member loyalty higher, increase the number of recommendations given, and enhance the likelihood that members will use additional credit union products and services in the future,” the study said.
Improvements – or decreases – in the quality of online and mobile banking, as well as improvements in branch staff, sway member satisfaction more than any of the other drivers, it noted. Improvements in products and services, ATMs, and information and communications had the least impact, the study added.
The vast majority of members (82%) now do at least half their banking electronically, according to the study. About two thirds make account inquiries, pay bills and transfer funds electronically, and 84% check balances online. Almost half deposit checks online, and about a third make loan payments online. Only 9% apply for loans online, CFI Group noted.
“However, credit union decision-makers need to be careful to avoid tilting the scales too much in the direction of online resources at the risk of leaving behind the fundamental services provided by branches,” the study said. “While a segment of the population may be comfortable with an online only model, the CUSI 2015 data show that the majority of respondents still consider having a nearby branch to be an essential aspect of joining and remaining a member of a credit union.”
In fact, only 11% of those surveyed said branch locations were of little or no importance to them.
The study also offered good news about traffic.
“When credit union members were asked how an increase in online and mobile options over the next three years will affect how often they visit a branch, nearly two thirds of respondents (64%) indicated they expect to visit branches with the same frequency as they do now,” it said.
CFI also said 54% of respondents have not changed their branch visit frequency in the last three years, and 15% said they visit branches more often.
The biggest reason (52%) for the visits, according to the study, is that people prefer a person to a screen or need help only a human can provide.
“The percentage of respondents age 50 or under who expressed ‘interacting with a person’ as the primary reason for their branch visit dipped only modestly to 26% versus 30% in aggregate, illustrating that age is not the driving factor behind this data,” the study said.
Credit unions should also gear up for more auto loans and credit cards, according to the study. Of the approximately one third of respondents who said they plan to add products and services next year, 31% said they plan to add an auto loan and 29% said they plan to add a credit card.