By Steve Heusek, Sr. Manager, Customer Intelligence
To better understand how emotions shape members’ perceptions of their credit unions, CUNA Mutual recently conducted research that examined emotions at two different levels:
Anxiety related to consumers’ overall financial situation
Emotions arising from specific episodes consumers have while using different financial products. This article shares a few highlights from this new study.
New Insights About Financial Anxiety
Unsurprisingly, research firms, such as JD Power, Gallup, and Kantar, have tracked an increase in consumers’ anxiety, worry, and stress since the beginning of the pandemic. Rising financial anxiety has important implications for financial institutions:
Consumers experiencing financial anxiety tend to give their primary financial institutions significantly lower loyalty ratings
These consumers also tend to give lower customer experience (CX) ratings to their most recent interactions using their checking account/debit card, loans, insurance policies and savings/investment products
While it’s unfortunate that some consumers are experiencing elevated levels of financial anxiety, it represents a tremendous opportunity for credit unions to turn this anxiety into a positive emotional experience for their members.
Emotional Engagement: Differentiate Your Members’ Experience
To do so, credit unions need to identify members experiencing financial anxiety. Once these members are identified, credit unions can then decide what relief, if any, to extend to alleviate these members’ financial anxiety.
Emotions Arising from Using Checking Accounts / Debit Cards
Our research also closely examined the role of emotions when using checking accounts/debit cards. Negative experiences using these products can elicit strong negative emotions, including frustration, stress, and anger.
Fortunately, we found that fewer consumers whose primary checking account/debit card is from a credit union have negative experiences (26%) than consumers whose primary checking account/debit card is provided by some other kind of financial institution (44%).
When consumers did have a negative experience, the rise in their negative emotions was accompanied by CX ratings that were 30+ percentage points lower than those of consumers who did not have a negative experience.
Our research revealed four broad categories which captured most of the negative experiences reported by consumers:
Product functionality (something about the product didn’t work as expected)
Credit unions seeking to reduce the incidence of these negative experiences will need to determine the causes of these negative encounters. Once these are identified, credit unions can use member input, e.g., member interviews or focus groups, to re-engineer member journeys in ways that deliver a positive emotional experience.
As we’ve just seen, emotions play an important role in what members think of your credit union and the experience you deliver.