3 lessons by Jeff Bezos

by. Erik Payne

What can credit unions learn about their business model from the Amazon CEO’s interview on 60 Minutes?

Amazon is disruptive, perhaps ruthlessly so. Charlie Rose interviewed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for a 60 Minutes segment that aired this past Sunday, and credit unions can learn a lot from a business model whose motto appears to be “adapt or die.” Here are just three takeaways.

The Customer Is King 

Amazon’s customers influence its decisions and processes. For example, the company involves customers in internal decision making and even crowdsourced the selection of its first TV show, Alpha House, to customers. It uses more delivery trucks than planes because its 96 distribution centers worldwide cover a significant swath of the planet. People want their purchases quickly, so Bezos constructs distribution centers in as many backyards as he can.

Credit unions are member-driven institutions, so listen to your members as much as possible. Ask them about the big stuff like branch growth or services, but don’t stop there. They don’t need to select the color of the carpeting, but they can give you valuable insight on general branch design, promotions, and rewards. You might not have the operating budget to open a branch in every member-desired location, but smaller, alternative branches or personal teller machines (PTMs) can satisfy members’ wants without denting the credit union’s budget.

Efficiency In The Unexpected

In case you missed it, Amazon is testing a drone delivery method that would bring you your packages in 30 minutes or less, just like they’re pizzas. It takes time and money for workers to pack, ship, and deliver that used copy of Catcher in the Rye. Drones, on the other hand, are autonomous and efficient. They don’t waste time. The new strategy is contingent on new Federal Aviation Administration regulations and smarter technology that will mitigate flight or landing accidents.

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