How Can You Better Understand and Serve Your Members?

In an era of unprecedented privacy concerns, learning what your members need and determining how to best serve them can be very challenging:


In an era of unprecedented privacy concerns, learning what your members need and determining how to best serve them can be very challenging:

First, you need to develop an in-depth understanding your membership as a whole. What percentage of your membership is in significant debt and how dire is this debt? Is the debt worsening? How will this impact current and future loans? What percentage are interested in buying a home within the next 12 months? A car? What are their greatest financial concerns and goals and how can you work with them to help them resolve their concerns and achieve their goals? What can you do to become their sole or primary source of financial services and information as they reach different milestones and stages of life?

Second, you need to understand your members as individuals. People are not "composites" each of your members has a unique financial situation and unique concerns, needs, goals, personalities and interests. Even if you achieve a near perfect understanding of your membership base as a whole, your marketing efforts will not resonate perfectly with every single member all of the time. And every time you miss a connection, you risk losing a potential opportunity to service your members. I may be impressed with your credit union and its array of services and member benefits, but if I can't immediately understand how you can help me improve my financial situation, I probably won't use any of your services.

This problem is compounded by all the economic and political uncertainty we face today. Consumers are more worried than ever about their finances, and those who were once quick to make financial decisions are starting to hesitate. People who felt like savvy investors three years ago are now realizing how much they do not know. As a result, they are less likely to enter your credit union knowing exactly what services they need.

The Solution

The solution is to avoid traditional surveying methods and expensive market research which compromise privacy, are difficult to administer, offer no tangible value to your membership, and often miss or misrepresent important information.

Instead, you can spend less money, avoid privacy issues, and get information directly from your members through high value membership education programs. Here are some tips on how to extract the most information on your members through financial education:

1. If you have the resources, a broad-based financial education program is your best bet and is by far the most economical, efficient and effective way to gather membership information. This type of program includes online education, phone-based support, and in-person education-so that you reach a wide cross-section of members and accommodate individual learning styles and preferences. Every time a member taps into your financial education services and information, you get data on their needs-online through sophisticated user tracking that shows what financial topics your members are viewing, in person and over the phone through the tracking of questions and issues your members raise.

2. If resources are limited, live education is the best way to start. For example, you might want to consider a financial helpline where users can call and get their financial questions answered. All the calls can be tracked and analyzed to give you a very good understanding of your members most common questions, issues, challenges and goals. Better yet, the helpline provides the kind of individualized support and personal action plans that can provide individual members with guidance as to which of your services they should use.

3. The importance of tracking cannot be understated. With an outsourced provider like Financial Finesse, you get automatic reporting on the questions, issues, and financial topics your members are asking about, and it is delivered in an aggregated format that encompasses all the different financial education services you purchase. We track trends over time and can benchmark your membership base against the other consumers we service to determine how you can develop effective marketing campaigns and provide better service to individual members.

For more information about how Financial Finesse can help your credit union, please contact us at (866) 733-2677, or send an email to We would be happy to discuss your credit union’s needs and goals, and ways that we can help.



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Feb. 17, 2003


  • I am the branch manager for StarTrust Federal Credit Union and I always enjoy articles like this to share with my staff. Thank you!
  • Totally biased and self-serving article with intentially limited scope.