Neil Goldman


Credit unions today face an uncertain future, with their very survival in question. This study sought to understand where credit union leaders should focus to foster growth and create lasting organizational success. Treacy and Wiersema (1995) proffer that the key to growth rests in "customer intimacy" and as others suggest, the creation of an exceptional customer experience (McConnell & Huba, 2003; Pine & Gilmore, 1999). As customers for credit unions are called members, an exceptional "member experience" is thus necessary. Customer (or member) satisfaction levels indicate the member experience. Member loyalty levels also reflect the member experience. This study sought to uncover the drivers of credit union member advocacy and detraction, and explored the existence of age, income, or gender differences. The study used the seminal SERVQUAL model (Zeithaml, Parasuraman, & Berry, 1990) of customer satisfaction as a framework for understanding the drivers of high member loyalty. Specifically, responses to the Net Promoter Score's "likelihood to recommend" question (Reichheld, 2006a) were coded, first independently, and then to the five distinct dimensions of service quality: Tangibles, Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance and Empathy (Zeithaml et. al, 1990). In so doing, this study led to greater understanding of what contributes to high and low NPS scores, and thus what credit union leaders can do to create an excellent member experience, and high loyalty, among current members. The study also led to a new, more complete banking-specific account holder experience assessment model, "SQ+", and five additional dimensions: Convenience, Rates, Fees, Products/Services and Relationship. Two key research tools were also developed: A new SQ+ questionnaire for use in assessing the member/customer experience, and a codebook to use in interpreting and utilizing NPS "likelihood to recommend" comments.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Credit unions; Consumer satisfaction

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rhodes, Kent;