Starting A Dialogue Three Easy Ways to Increase Member Feedback and Improve Your Website

Before leaping into blogging and social media experiments in an effort to increase member interaction, credit unions should consider how they’re gathering and using member feedback through their website now.


As more members turn to the website over in-person channels, credit unions want to ensure that the online channel will continue to reinforce personal service and responsiveness to member needs. Some credit unions are considering whether they need blogs or social network sites such as MySpace in order to create more personal interaction with members.

Before leaping in different directions, credit unions need to consider whether they are doing everything they can to incorporate member feedback and user experiences into their existing website design and navigation. While you might argue that these methods might require too much time and effort, there are fairly low-tech ways that credit unions of any size could involve members in the process to enhance their online experience.

Place a member feedback button in plain sight

Many credit unions have a member feedback link on their “contact us” page. But increasing the visibility by placing a link or button on the homepage could increase feedback and reinforce perceptions that the credit union cares about their concerns and wants to hear from them. There should also be links within different sections of the site.

For getting a quick measurement on a limited issue, some credit unions are using website polls. While not entirely scientific, they can serve a dual purpose of not only gathering some quick data but also increasing awareness of a particular issue. One of our Internet Strategy Consortium clients ran a two-question poll on their calculators. The poll provided a quick awareness measure and even increased traffic to the calculator page as members clicked beyond the survey to their offerings.

Read and respond to member feedback

One of the biggest risks of asking for member feedback is that members will actually tell you what’s on their mind, and in detail. And some will want a response. Members will take advantage of feedback opportunities to ask account questions or mention issues regarding their financial situation. Have you ever asked a question online, then received an auto-response giving a 48 hour response window? People expect an email to be answered in a much shorter timeframe, usually 24 hours at the most. If the question is about a loan, members may turn to competitors with online chat or a faster response time.

Chuck Bruen, President of First Entertainment Credit Union, takes this process so seriously that the emails go directly to him. He responds to each email, typically averaging one per day. While few credit union CEOs are likely to follow in his footsteps, this example does illustrate two important points:

  • that member feedback is valued and has high visibility within the organization

  • that it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that member issues are addressed , even if it can’t be fixed right away

Member experiences don’t always correspond to pre-defined check boxes. Open-ended comments can help credit unions “think outside the box” and see how members define their problems. A simple navigation change or addition to your FAQs might lead to fewer phone calls. One client was surprised that members were commenting about difficulties locating fee-free ATMs, as they had an extensive network. But the ATM locater link was two clicks into their “locations” section, and there was a separate tool for locating fee-free network ATMs versus ATMs at branch locations.

Better Cross-channel Communication Can Yield Website Improvements

Your call center offers many opportunities to track member concerns and questions regarding the credit union website. But in many credit unions, the website and the call center are two very separate parts of the organization. Some credit unions track call outcomes, such as a loan application or problem resolved, but don’t track question topics. There should be a mechanism in place to track topics/issues to investigate patterns in order to identify features that should be more accessible, such as fee-free ATM locators. Since these types of issues can be resolved quickly, they might fall under the radar.

By now credit unions should have a plan in place for alerting management in the case of a security breach, but staff should be encouraged to forward other issues that raise suspicion. Sometimes site changes are made that can have an unintended effect. Monitoring member comments can help the credit union streamline their website and better serve their members.
To hear more about ways to obtain actionable feedback from members, attend the Callahan Webinar: Improve Your Website Using Member Feedback and Data
The Internet Strategy Consortium is a shared cost research group focused on enhancing the credit union online channel. For more information on joining the Consortium, please contact Denise Senecal at or by phone at 1-800-446-7453.




Oct. 8, 2007


  • Our Internet Strategy Consortium’s recent online member loyalty study using NetPromoter yielded strong differences between promoters and detractors in terms of both credit union website evaluations and behavior. But a couple of caveats for credit unions looking to this measurement scheme – 1) the question wording should be modified if your credit union has a tighter field of membership (we had members say they wouldn’t recommend their CU because they didn’t know anyone eligible for membership) 2) Your NetPromoter score for online members may vary from the credit union’s results as a whole due to the consideration of an additional service channel (impact could be positive or negative) and different demographics of respondents, 3) You’ll need to go beyond the single loyalty question to fully diagnose problems/issues with your website and make improvements. We’ll have more specific details in future articles, but I’d like to hear questions/comments. Denise
    Denise Senecal
  • Good food for thought, Denise. What are your thoughts on using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) as part of any strategy to measure and manage member perceptions?
    Chuck Van Court