Deliver the “Starbucks Experience”

There are many investments your credit union can make to delight members and increase their loyalty. Attention to detail and small improvements matter.




Assess Member Needs and Your Services

Everyone is rushing to invest in branches to deliver the “Starbucks” experience to their members. Before you take your next step in building improvements, take a moment and evaluate your options.

  • Do your members prefer branch, online, or both?
  • What is important to your members? Fast service? Better interest rates? Variety of services?
  • Are you helping your members achieve their financial goals?
  • Do you understand and meet your members’ needs?
  • Are you offering the best experience when members visit you online or in the branch?
  • Are your members delighted with your services?
  • Do your branch representatives provide members with valuable insight?
  • What is your rating as your member’s primary financial institution?

Once you understand your members’ needs and your credit union’s position in meeting those needs, you are ready to make some informed choices. Focus on improving your branch and online channels, and develop a strategy that benefits both you and your members.

Invest in Branch and Online Channels

There are a number of areas in which you can make investments to delight your members. Attention to detail and many small improvements can make a big difference.

First Impression: Front line branch representatives are vital in a credit union’s effort to build member relationships. Create a good first impression in the branch with friendly service and well-informed staff. Not only hiring and training personable people, but empowering them with the right tools to do a better job is a must. Equally important is a convenient online service delivered over the Internet around the clock. More and more of your members are relying on the Internet as their place to visit you. Now your members can open accounts, move money, and conduct transactions online. By combining traditional friendly service with new technologies, credit unions can provide their members with better service.

Speed: Are your members waiting in line for service? How long does it take to open an account at your branch? Can your members open accounts online? The alignment of front office workflow with backend processes creates faster banking for members. With single entry of information and real-time decisions and approvals, branch representatives are able to concentrate on building member relationships. In a time-pressed world, speed and availability of all the services when needed is critical.

Integration: Automation of the following backend processes with the new account opening service results in better member experience:

  • Eligibility verification – is the applicant eligible for membership?
  • ID verification – is the applicant’s personal information valid?
  • ID authentication – is the applicant who he says he is?
  • Patriot Act compliance and OFAC check – meet your compliance requirements
  • Risk management – what is the risk profile of the applicant?
  • Cross sell – Up sell – what are the best products for this applicant?
  • Deposit and loan products – real-time decisioning on all the products you offer
  • Account setup in core system – real-time setup in your host system
  • Online funding – real-time funding of accounts
  • Switch kit – online switch kit to improve your rating as the primary financial institution – initiate the switching of other financial relationships including direct deposits and automatic payments as well as closure of other financial accounts

Tools and Training: Proper training and tools improve member service because employees are better equipped and informed.Member data is analyzed in real-time, and the information is available to employees immediately for insightful cross selling. By providing the necessary tools and training, branch representatives can tackle the challenge of offering the right product to the right person at the right time. Automated product selection and guidance reduce employee training time as well as the time required to handle tasks, freeing up valuable time to build trusting relationships. After all, that is what makes credit unions special for members – one member at a time.

Benefits of Improved Channels

With enhanced branch and online channels, benefits include member satisfaction, greater share of wallet, and improved cross and up sell. Additionally, credit unions can attract and retain members, minimize operating costs, improve regulatory compliance, and grow revenue from more deposit and loan accounts. When credit unions understand and meet their member’s needs, members remain loyal. Furthermore, members are more likely to “switch” their financial relationships, making a credit union their primary financial institution of choice.

Before you make your next decision to spend on branch or online services, call uMonitor at 901.757.1212 or visit




April 24, 2006


  • Good info although nothing really new. I'd like to hear how CU's are uncovering the answers to the questions at the beginning of the article. Surveys? Focus Groups? Which are the most effective way to see where you stand?