Pick Up The Pace With Member Onboarding

Consumers don’t want cumbersome onboarding. They want a process that’s quick and convenient.


Even the name “Zipcar” connotates speed and simplicity. And indeed the business is known for giving carless commuters an alternative to mass transportation with their easy rental car program.

At the CTIA MobileCon conference last week, Zipcar CEO Scott Griffith described the company’s business model as honing in on convenient features at all levels of service – starting with member onboarding.

Like credit unions, Zipcar’s carsharing program is member-based. Its members can easily rent cars on an hourly or daily basis with online reservation system through their phone or Internet.  They can get a car immediately or reserve up to a year in advance, and use their chip-embedded membership card to unlock it. Reservations include insurance, a gas card and reimbursements for typical maintenance.

Zipcars easy-to-use program has drawn more than 730,000 members worldwide, as of September and the company is now making the process of joining the program is even easier. And credit unions have much to learn from Zipcar’s recent focus on faster onboarding.

Zipcar members previously had to walk into an office location to apply for membership and pickup their new member cards. By launching a new mobile app, Zipcar’s new users can onboard simply by taking a photo of their driver’s license and receiving approval “within minutes” Griffith says.

Could joining a credit union be just as fast and simple? Credit unions likely want at least some face time to talk to members about products, services and benefits they offer. And they’ll likely want more than “just a few minutes” to approve a membership.  But adapting new technology to improve enrollment process will ensure your member onboarding makes for an enjoyable transition.

Many credit unions are welcoming an influx of new members and they should stive to make an outstanding first impression on them within the first 90 days. Research has shown a consumer’s lifetime profitability and value is determined within this timeframe. Engage members within weeks to make sure the credit union understands their needs and leverages opportunities to cross-sell products.

Successful onboarding relies on a great consumer experience, which is a major way credit unions competing against banks can differentiate themselves. Hand-written thank you notes, personalized marketing, and warm calls are onboarding tools that credit unions use to impress members.


Oct. 24, 2012


  • I agree with Kevin (below) that "Convenience is often an important element that contributes to having their attention. Finding an easier way for them to do something that saves their time." With the proliferation of new tech devices, it becomes ever more important to streamline processes to make it easier for members to interact with your CU. Read more: http://www.creditunions.com/blogs/off-the-cuff/pick-up-the-pace-with-member-onboarding/#ixzz2COls9eZl
  • I know some universities that are using the Zipcar system, and it works extremley well. But regarding CU's, I personally think it takes too long for members to open accounts and thats why we lose so many potential members. Being able to quickly and easily do it on your mobile phone could capture many more younger generation members. It may be impersonal, but I think Monica had a great idea for writing personal thank you notes and for follow-up calls to better on-board the new member.
  • Online membership registration and signup should be much easier for CU's. Unfortunately, the number of 3rd party vendors is slim, and the existing players are greedy. I'd welcome some to build a CUSO that would be more industry friendly and work for the cause as much as they work for the almighty dollar.
    CU Tech Star
  • Make sure that stort window of oportunity is fully utilized. We should create an "elevator speach" and practice it to make sure we provide our new members with the most valuable information, right up front.
  • So often we want to automate this process to such a degree, ti can sometimes make the communication feel colder than originally intended. Sure doing a sophisticated mailing matrix is nice, but make sure you include the really personal touches. It takes about 30 seconds to write a thank you note to a member after opening their account. Don't be afraid to make that follow up phone call either - they came to YOU to open their account so if you're calling to help them, make sure everything is correct with their account, or just wanting to thank them for their membership you can't go wrong.
    Monica Giesler
  • This is an area that is often overlooked. When you sign up new members, you have a brief window of opportunity to capture their interest in your credit union. Convenience is often an important element that contributes to having their attention. Finding an easier way for them to do something that saves their time. However, security is another important element in these scenarios. Convenience is great as along as we are able to maintain proper security with our members' transactions.
    Kevin Finneran