Psychological studies have found if people are given too many choices, they either do not make a choice, or they take a really long time to decide.

Tansley Stearns, chief impact officer for Filene Research Institute, Madison, Wis., noted when she moved to Madison, she soon discovered the cheese aisles in Wisconsin grocery stores offer an "incredible" number of choices – which can be overwhelming.

"Also, if people are uncomfortable with their choices, that can be overwhelming," she said during CUNA Mutual Group's Discovery Conference Tuesday. "Instead of offering 10 checking accounts, maybe three is better. Or, market fewer choices to certain demographics."

Another possibility is to streamline the way choices are made, as Ikea does by showcasing furniture options in rooms. Stearns said if people are given a default choice – such as with the company 401(k) or organ donations on a driver's license – they tend to go with the default.

Beware Of Pain Points

According to Stearns, there are three pain points when it comes to resolving member service issues at credit unions:

1. The "Groundhog Day Effect," in which the member has to tell his or her story over and over, but the problem never gets solved;

2. Simple repetition, when the problem eventually gets solved, buy only after repeated tellings of said story;

3. "Channel Crashing," when the member tries to resolve his or her problem online, then turns to the call center and finally comes into the branch.

"This costs the credit union money for one member to try to solve a problem by contacting all three channels," she explained.

To resolve this issue, Stearns suggested CUs perform an "effort audit." She said all credit unions need to know where their members are running into pain points, as well as what they do well.

"Make the process simpler and easier for members," she advised.

Stearns added CUs should not rely on Net Promoter Score as a measure of the member experience. "Measuring member effort separates member goodwill from the actual member experience and helps explain why NPS scores do not always correlate with credit union growth and wallet share," she said.

Because CUs have the trust of their members, Stearns said it is "likely" members will respond to suggestions, as seen on such shopping sites as Amazon. "It is all part of making things easier for members," she said.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the credit union industry

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.