Fresh Approach to Feedback Earns Improved Member Loyalty

Replacing mystery shoppers with direct member feedback provided First Credit Union with valuable insights that informed new training and service priorities — all in a fraction of the time.

First Credit Union

In 2019, First Credit Union was awarded the coveted 5-Star  Superior  rating for excellence in capital adequacy, profitability, asset quality, and much more, making it one of the strongest credit unions in the nation according to BauerFinancial, Inc. First Credit Union is “fiscally-fit because they go the extra mile to help their membership to be fiscally-fit as well.” Established in Arizona in 1929, First Credit Union revolves around its 42,150 members and employees, and was awarded the Best Place to Work in Arizona in 2020.

The Challenge

Competition from banks is fierce and getting fiercer. As credit unions grow, delivering excellent member experiences is a vital competitive edge that must also grow. Over and above other competitive differences and advantages, there’s no time for a credit union to rest on its laurels. “Our core value is and always will be: People helping people,” according to Lori Gallegos, EVP/COO First Credit Union, “and we must always look for ways to improve the relationship and enhance the value of the membership we provide.”

Prior to Sogo, First Credit Union was no stranger to customer research, but it had been gathering that research in a cumbersome way using a “mystery/secret shopper” type of program. This meant that First Credit Union members weren’t the actual providers of feedback, but one step removed from that feedback, filtered through third party shoppers. Also, survey questions were too extensive, and in some instances, answers were not properly addressed or cohesive as they often didn’t match actual comments. Additionally, lots of “YES/NO” questions were included, offering little qualitative value. Ultimately, the feedback gathered was hard to act on and didn’t provide a solid foundation for improving member services or increasing member loyalty.

The Solution

A better way to collect valuable membership information was needed. “First Credit Union was initially attracted to Sogo by its simplicity of the software and its ease of use,” according to Mauricio Jaime, Regional Manager at First Credit Union. “Creating surveys and working on projects was simple, yet very effective.” After just seeing a few presentations spotlighting what other organizations were able to accomplish with Sogo, they were quickly convinced. First Credit Union wanted similar results. Sogo questionnaires were much easier to create, distribute, and analyze compared the previous third-party secret shopper methods, and results would be much faster and more relevant. And hearing directly from members was a special priority. After implementation, First Credit Union rapidly moved from a small feedback pool to surveys that reached all of their members using a multi-phase approach to better understand member need and jump start building relationships.

“We started with implementing surveys that are directed to members conducting regular transactions at the teller line. In addition, we have included surveys for members opening new accounts, members calling our phone center, members applying for loans in person and through our digital channels, etc.,” according to Jaime. First Credit Union is also leveraging Sogo Polls to gather employee feedback as well. “Obviously the best part is that we get to read all of the comments that our members and employees are giving us. This information is allowing us to implement strategies that can improve member loyalty by doing more of what our members love and doing less of what they tell us they dislike.”

Using Sogo allows First Credit Union to start developing a better member journey map which will be a valuable tool for building loyalty. “Something that we found very interesting is that for many years we read articles and listened to people on the business of ‘selling,’ and that we need to ensure that we spend lots of time asking questions and learning from our membership.” First Credit Union discovered that it had been trying too hard to sell as much as possible during the first interaction because they didn’t know when they would see the member again. “However, with the help of Sogo, we found that people care more about building that relationship first (not being sold something). In addition, most of our members want friendly service, quick/fast service, and they want you to greet them with their name. They want you to get to know them first, then they will become loyal members.”
The Result

This feedback helped identify what members valued and wanted — and how to address it in the gradual, progressive way that members felt was so important. This meant collecting ongoing feedback throughout the credit union journey to provide the intelligence needed to improve the member experience. First Credit Union can now segment and analyze feedback at each stage of the relationship — account opening, applying for a mortgage, using the mobile app, etc.

With Sogo, members can share their feedback more efficiently and directly through multiple touchpoints along the way, rather than having an overwhelming initial member experience. This allows the organization to help achieve their mission by finding the right balance to help members to make money, save money, and make banking more efficient.

With Sogo, First Credit Union benefits include:
Streamlined process of capturing perceptions of the member experience with higher quality data by turning a month-long delay to instant results. With secret shopping, while responses were collected throughout the month, but results weren’t delivered until the 8th of the following month – making it harder to take timely action.
Real-time insights from real members – not secret shoppers – means that the more member-centric philosophy and practices are reflected in the results. Previously, the limited data collected – just 205 measures throughout all of 2019 – may have shown high scores, but these results didn’t necessarily reflect the experience of “real” members.
More accurate and useful responses to surveys allowed the team to reevaluate and redesign the training and approach for new account opening in order to deliver a fast and efficient account opening process.
Dashboards and instant analytics helped foster a new partnership between members and branch operations teams.


“It has been wonderful working with Sogo! Not only do we get great tools, but we also get customized/personalized meetings to learn about new reports, new tools and they listened to us when we provide feedback. I strongly recommend them!”

- Mauricio Jaime, Regional Manager


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