Member Experience with a side of Economics Series, Part 2 - Tucson Federal Credit Union

Member Experience with a side of Economics Series, Part 2

Written by Matthew Gaspari, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer

This project was started by reviewing our Net Promoter Score comments to look for opportunities. Within those comments are the answers to gaps that need to be addressed. What stood out was the theme detected when members rated us as a 9 or 10. Most, if not all, comments from NPS surveys with a 9 or a 10 were stories about our staff. We didn’t see “thank you for the great rate” or “thank you for the awesome checking account,” we saw comments highlighting the impact our employees made on the membership. While it was clear that we were already doing an outstanding job servicing the members, there were subtle messages in the comments that provided a road map to achieve 6th Star Service. Emotional connection was the common theme; one that people do not typically associate with their financial institution. When reviewing the NPS comments, feelings of caring, belonging, appreciation and gratitude that our members expressed about our people would drive us to tears at times. These comments became the backbone of The Experience Sessions, which launched in April of 2018, and we are very pleased with the interactions and results. Before I go into those details, it’s important to understand people often think with their hearts not their brains, even when making financial decisions. Understanding why that occurs helped us to determine the range of topics that later became The Experience Sessions.

Behavioral Economics is blend of traditional economics and psychology and is becoming an area of focus in many industries. Behavioral economics phenomena refer to observed consumer preference and purchase dynamics that run counter to rational economic theory predictions by considering environmental and psychological factors that influence consumer decisions. (Conner, 2017). The portion of behavioral economics that correlates emotional connection and economic value via consumption decisions is relevant and is the cornerstone of what the Experience Sessions are designed to address. As we look to tie profitability to our member engagement, can we predict a behavior based on service style? And, is it a true competitive advantage when staff and a culture create emotional engagement to influence consumer behavior? Developing the Experience Sessions was predicated on the intention of connecting those dots between emotion and action. If we can create a loyalty and brand that is like the Ritz Carlton’s, then we likely have a sustainable competitive advantage predicated on relationship and emotion, not price. Emotion plays a major role in behavior, take it as an opportunity by being an advocate for your customer. (Adnan, 2019). Being a trusted partner and understanding how your customers react to important life decisions is essential for giving good, and helpful advice. (Kreisler, 2018).

Member experience is more than service, it is creating customized relationships with each one of our members who make an appointment, call or visit an ITM. To capture employee engagement, it was important to tell our team why it is so imperative to create relationships, and then show them how to do so.

The fact that we were already following these steps through living our cultural beliefs and focusing on the member experience made for easy employee buy-in. Simply, it was really an exercise in tweaking around the edges. Anticipation and preparation were two new elements added to our service delivery through the Experience Sessions; this duo is what we believe was the secret to going from Exceptional to 6th Star. We identified the key drivers that represented anticipation and preparation, and this in turn, helped us to define what service truly feels and looks like. Session One—DONE!

In the final article of the series, I detail the next steps that keep TFCU at 6th Star!

Conner, P. (2017). Emotional Economics May Be a Better Name for Behavior Economics. Retrieved from

Kreisler, J. (2018). Behavioral Economics is the Key to User Engagement in Banking. Retrieved from