FORT WAYNE, Ind.-Three Rivers FCU has gained a deeper understanding of member needs and increased its wallet share among young members since instituting "Your Voice."

Like most CUs, Three Rivers was concerned about an aging member base and the struggle to attract members between 18 and 35 years old. The 67,000-member, $738-million credit union used its Net Promoter SCORE (NPS) as a benchmark, but Loan Product Manager Steve Levendoski explained that there was a lack of any deeper understanding beyond that. The success Three Rivers has had in resolving that issue has earned it a "Best Practices" Award from Credit Union Journal.

"We wanted to find out what the true engagement levels of our members were, and we wanted something not only to do that, but some way of keeping an open dialogue with our members so that they could provide us feedback and we could act on that in a relatively quick way."

Three Rivers implemented the Voice of the Customer (VOC) solution from Allegiance in summer 2011 and began the Your Voice member feedback program via the web and phone calls, with member concerns automatically reported to MSRs who either responded immediately or forwarded the matter on to the appropriate person.

Three Rivers sought to use as many channels as possible to make members aware of the "Your Voice" offering-including its website and ATM receipts notices-and later enhanced the program by adding a survey component.


Quarterly Surveys

Three Rivers began sending surveys twice a year to all members for whom it had e-mail addresses divided up by quarter and split by name to spread the feedback throughout the year. Those surveys, said Levendoski, allowed the CU to get a better understanding of both its NPS and of members' engagement level. While Three Rivers can't see who responds to each survey, it can tag segmentation and demographic information within the survey.

"I can slice and dice those, so if I want to know how 18-25 year olds felt about us, I can look at that and see what their engagement levels are and then go into the qualitative data and see what they're saying," said Levendoski.


Growth Among Younger Members

The credit union has seen some results since then. Membership among 18- to 15-year-olds grew by more than 6% between September 2011 and September 2012, while checking accounts for that demographic increased by 2% and lending increased by 4%. Services-per-individual also rose from 1.47 to 1.60. Overall lending at the credit union has nearly $40 million since the end of 2011. The CU currently has 37,000 loans ($467 million) on its books.

Based on member feedback, Three Rivers has begun working on a mobile offering, made it easier to find routing numbers and branch hours on its website, improved its phone system and simplified online account access.

But Levendoski noted that some changes are being made to Your Voice itself. Three Rivers' NPS was approximately 48 when Your Voice began and it got as high as 59.1, later to drop to 48.8. It currently stands at 49.6. Response rates have also declined to 6.94% from approximately 10%.


Adjustment Is Made

Levendoski said TRCU is trying to determine why it has dropped, but "I have a feeling some of it may be due to too many surveys. Some of the feedback told us that we're surveying them too often, and I don't think they're happy about that."

As a result, Three Rivers is planning to begin surveying monthly rather than quarterly, however the structure will change so that members only receive one survey per year.

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