Published in Financial Services

An Amazing Journey!

Mountain America Credit Union Wins 2015 Customer Experience Excellence Award

Experts at Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, and 1to1 Media, a customer strategy media company, have named Mountain America Credit Union the winner of the Innovation in Customer Insight category at the 2015 Customer Experience Excellence Awards.

The leaders of Mountain America decided to revamp their member/customer experience (CX) program—including employee engagement, feedback collection, and member engagement practices—and they have seen measurable and overwhelming benefits.

When you talk to the employees at Mountain America, they’re beaming with excitement over the journey they’re on and the success they’re seeing. Since they started implementing a CX program, their overall member satisfaction and employee satisfaction scores have increased, and they have seen growth in the adoption of products and services.

In the first year that Mountain America measured their Net Promoter Score (NPS), a measurement to see if members were likely to recommend them, their score was 64, and they continue to trend at around 60.

The good news continues as Mountain America has seen record member growth over the past two years and is trending to grow at an 11.6% growth rate in 2014, one of the highest in their industry.

The journey has brought more clarity to Mountain America’s leadership, management teams, and employees showing them a view of their members, employees, and processes that they had never seen before.

Mountain America has focused on member/customer experience since its beginning in the 1930s.  Even then, the company knew that focusing on members was the key to long-term success.

In the early 2000’s, Mountain America’s leaders focused on how engaged employees could create a better experience for members by emphasizing employee behavior and training. They knew the importance of the member experience well before current terms like customer experience (CX) and CX programs became part of the business vocabulary.

In 2008, Mountain America began to measure member engagement. Dennis Bromley, Mountain America VP, explained, “Our theory, in the beginning, was if our employees are happy it will be good for the members.” And Mountain America leaders were right. As the credit union started measuring member engagement, the results showed a direct correlation between increased employee engagement and member engagement.

In 2013, after their employee and member engagement efforts started seeing success, and as customer experience (CX) and NPS scores started increasing, the leadership team at Mountain America decided it was time to dedicate a team to member experience. Out of this declaration, the Member Experience Team was formed in 2013. A true futuristic CX program team was put in place to focus on members and employees and on culture, programs, processes, training, metrics, and reporting.

One of the main goals, and the key to the initiative was to measure and track the member experience across each location and service area. They knew it was important to see the 360-degree view of the member experience across all delivery channels.

Dennis Bromley, who became SVP of Member Development and Engagement for Mountain America in 2012, commented that the biggest change from the overhaul was that “the focus was on moving to a consistent approach throughout the credit union and gaining valuable data that will help us enhance the member experience.”

Other focus areas of the CX program included expanding the company’s survey program and creating a survey standard. Loyalty, transactional, branches and call centers, online and mobile, outbound, and employee team surveys were centralized and revamped. Subsequently, the credit union also refined ad-hoc surveys for their mortgage, investment, and commercial real estate teams. They started placing all member feedback on one customizable platform, the MaritzCX platform. This helped Mountain America gather and report on data that had not been pulled together before.

With all of the feedback and data in one location, Mountain America needed a way to close the loop with the member. As feedback is received, the responsible team at the credit union is notified so they can reach out to the member within 24-48 hours.

After pulling together member feedback from different functions and organizations throughout the credit union, the team began to focus on social media. Initially, the team focused on being available and visible with contests and educational material for their members. The team members began to monitor the feedback and to ensure they closed the loop with each member.

In early 2014, with the employee engagement and member feedback gathering well underway, the Mountain America team realized they had only hit the tip of the iceberg when it came to building the best possible experience for their members.

The next goal was to drive the organization and culture to get even better by knowing what their members want. The Mountain America team felt it was a perfect time for the organization to define a customer journey mapping process. The credit union’s journey mapping exercise consisted of leadership, front-line managers, and one-on-one member interviews. These conversations helped the credit union determine each group’s perspective of the member experience and then match them up with the credit union’s actions and the members’ and organization’s expectations.

This journey mapping project helped the credit union dive further into the experiences of their members and drive the conversation between the alignment and expectations of their members and the organization.

Nanette Graviet, VP Public Relations, Mountain America stated, “Instead of responding to just one piece of feedback or problem individually, the journey mapping exercise allowed us to come up with solutions for enhancing the overall member experience.”

The journey mapping project gave the credit union the ability to look at organizations, processes, systems and teams and implement necessary changes that would have a permanent effect on the way they do business.  So far, Mountain America has completed 10-12 separate journey mapping exercises within the organization, and there are even more teams that want to run journey mapping exercises.

Bromley noted that “Journey mapping and adding consistent measurement methods to our daily processes have made the greatest difference in our efforts. The engine is running strong, and there is not a weak area at the credit union.”

After talking to the team at Mountain America, I could see the credit union’s success is due to having a leadership team and culture that is dedicated to their members/customers. The process of implementing a CX program has helped the credit union listen, track, measure, provide feedback, and close the loop in a consistent way that is eliminating a silo member services approach.

At MaritzCX we worked extensively with Mountain America as they revamped its customer experience program. Bromley commented that the MaritzCX technology and platform and the customer/ partner expert teams were vital to the credit union’s success.
We think Dennis Bromley summed up the success of the member/customer experience transformation at Mountain America nicely in his declaration, “In short, it just really rocks!”

Congratulations to Mountain America Credit Union and the other Gartner 1to1 winners who have made customer experience a top priority.