We live in a hyper-saturated competitive environment when it comes to financial products and services. Just think about all the other banks, credit unions and non-traditional providers all looking to grab a slice of your consumers’ market and wallet share. One of the strongest ways financial institutions can compete is by establishing a truly unique consumer service experience.

A great example of this comes from Rio Grande Credit Union (Albuquerque, NM; $316 million assets; 30,000 members). Looking to create a truly differentiated and memorable member service experience, they first decided to invest in their overall employee experience. As it turns out, employee experience and member experience are directly related.

“What we’ve discovered is that our Employee Engagement survey (done in April) is predictive of our Annual Member Satisfaction survey (conducted in August),” shared Bill Daily, VP of Marketing and Member Experience. “We’ve made the local ‘Best Places to Work’ the past two years in a row. Our 2016 member satisfaction survey generated the highest score in the 15 years we’ve been tracking it.”

“Our credit union has also taken a number of other steps to help improve employee engagement and, therefore the overall member experience,” said Lily Currin, VP of Human Resources. These steps include:

  • Sharing branch level data for employee engagement rankings and member satisfaction rankings with the individual branch teams. Identifying similar questions in both surveys to drive home the correlation.
  • Sharing the aggregate level ranking data with branch managers. (Branches with more engaged employees have more satisfied members)
  • Asking our branch managers to generate employee engagement plans and hold quarterly meetings with us (the VP Marketing and Member Experience and VP of Human Resources) to discuss progress.
  • Setting aside a piece of the marketing budget for employee engagement.
  • Celebrate our employees’ successes on our in-branch TVs and social media.

“I don’t know if it’s correlation or causation but it’s there,” added Daily “It’s real. And it’s the first lever I’d recommend pulling to move member satisfaction.”

At Rio Grande Credit Union, the biggest step towards improving the overall member service experience is to analyze and enhance the employee experience in the workplace. Although it may sound like an already-learned lesson, other financial institutions are well-advised to refocus on this tenant: satisfied employees that love where they work and buy into the brand are employees that deliver superior service experiences to consumers.