Establishing a Voice of the Member (VoM) Program

Team members engaged in project meeting

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, it is five to 25 times more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. In the case of credit unions, the value of the relationships we have with existing members is crucial - as we try to be there at every financial life stage from saving for college to retirement.

It's largely up to member experience teams to keep members happy - addressing member pain points and responding to inquiries in a timely manner. In order to accomplish all that effectively, these teams need to know what their members are thinking.

As a credit union professional, do you know how your members feel about your credit union? Can that status change on a day-to-day or even an hour-to-hour basis? Are members having a positive experience at every stage of their member journey? If not, where is your credit union falling short in providing exceptional service?

These questions are enough to keep any credit union professional up at night. Luckily there's a way to find these answers and more. Today, many credit unions establish a Voice of the Member (VoM) program - referred to as a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program in traditional marketing.
What is a VoM program?

"VoM" refers to the feedback your organization receives from its members based on their experiences or expectations about your financial products and  the service your employees are providing. "Program" focuses on categorizing the customer feedback information in an easy-to-access and understandable way that gives your member experience team the ability to take definitive action. Some have referred to a successful VoM program as "the heartbeat of any member experience team."

A successful VoM program helps the member experience team effectively learn about the member's expectations, aversions and preferences at any point in the member journey. When built successfully, a VoM program helps the member experience team to create a detailed set of members wants and needs. Much like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, your members' needs and desires can be organized into a hierarchical structure, where they can be prioritized by your credit union in terms of relative importance.
Improve your Member Experience with a VoM program

Today, the process of recruiting and retaining members is no longer about one-way communication. Gone are the days when it was enough to put up a traditional billboard or 30-second TV spot and hope new members would come pouring in. While traditional media still has its place in the conversion process, the battle for recruiting and retaining members is now won on an individual basis by listening and responding to members and prospects in real-time and with the right answers. A proper VoM program gives your member experience team the tools they need to do just that.

In an earlier blog post, we covered the topic of competing on providing great customer service. Respondents to a survey by Gartner found that two-thirds of companies now compete on customer experience alone. The same survey found that while the role of a customer experience team is becoming more important, budget spends dedicated to customer experience are decreasing. As a result of less money being dedicated to customer experience, it's now more important than ever to make sure money dedicated to customer experience is being spent in the right way. For credit unions, a successful VoM program can help the member experience team decide how to more precisely dedicate their time, resources and dollars.

With everything we now know, it's no wonder many credit unions are rushing to establish their own VoM programs. However, it is incumbent upon member experience teams to lay the proper groundwork to make sure these programs are successful. After all, the aims of the VoM must align with the wants and expectations of the members it serves.

If you are a credit union professional looking to build out your VoM program, here are some things to keep in mind as you go about the implementation process:Go out and get the data.
Feedback will trickle in from members, but don't just sit back and wait for that happen. Your member experience team should be actively seeking feedback from your members through surveys, phone calls and mystery shops when necessary. Submit requests for feedback after an interaction has taken place - while it's still fresh in your members' minds. Your VoM program should evolve.
After you lay the initial groundwork, analyze and change what isn't working. Much like the creation of your member journey map, think of your VoM program in a constant state of being built or revamped. It's not enough to sit on your laurels after implementation.
Negative feedback is painful but necessary.
Don't hide the bad stuff. Tackle it head on. There's no more effective feedback than negative feedback. It's what provides your credit union with the greatest opportunity for growth. You may even find that the more effective your VoM program becomes, the less negative feedback your organization incurs.
Mine for the insights you already have.
Yes, be proactive about garnering member feedback, but recognize the resources you likely already have at your fingertips. For starters, meet with everyone in your credit union that has access to information on member interactions. There's a very good chance the people on the front lines of member services are a wealth of information just waiting to share their experiences.
Turn insights into action through trial and error.
It may seem obvious, but it's where plenty of credit union professionals get stuck - an endless cycle of data collection and analyses with no meaningful action being taken. Remember the insights you're collecting have no intrinsic value if they're not being used to implement change.
Employ the right technology.
Finally, there are a number of customer experience management platforms in market, like MemberXP from CU Solutions Group, that help credit unions extract and manage member feedback to build a successful VoM program. Investing in the right tools can go a long way to maximizing value for member experience teams. 

For questions about how MemberXP can help your credit union improve the member experience  or to request a demo, visit

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