3 service delivery strategies for 2015
One of my favorite customer service quotes comes from the automotive industry: “If we aren’t customer driven, then our cars and trucks won’t be, either.” In the same vein, whether members will still do business with their credit unions in 2015 and beyond has a lot to do with how credit unions set out to serve them.
Members want to be served how they want to be served, and credit unions must meet those desires—which will likely be different by generation and by member. The goal for credit unions is to move repetitive, information-based transactions to online channels and have member needs related to life events (such as buying a home or saving for a child’s college education) served in the more expensive physical locations. There’s no magic formula for this, but it’s time to head in that direction.
As you think about the new year—and the next five—consider taking the following three steps to get on the best possible path for member service delivery.
- Set up an executive- or board-level committee to spearhead knowledge and next steps in this arena.
Stan Moeckli, CCE, president/CEO of $148 million Electro Savings Credit Union in St. Louis, told me recently about something I think needs to become an accepted best practice. Electro Savings CU put together a board-level committee to review the latest in service delivery, including possible fee structures; compare the CU’s offerings with market trends; and make recommendations to the CU’s board next spring. (To help in applying this idea, the charter for Electro Savings CU’s committee is available to CUES Members in CUES Members Share. Members can get password help by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Look at what leaders in member service delivery are doing.
It was my pleasure earlier this year to visit the “Inspiration Branch” of $2 billion Summit Credit Union, Madison Wis. President/CEO Kim Sponem is a CUES member and a member of our board. If you’re at this Summit CU location to talk about a loan for a special trip, you might head to the left side where you can make your plans in a room with airplane seats. Next door to that is a setting that feels like home, where members interested in taking out a mortgage might want to have their conversation with CU staffers. Next to that is a white building with big columns symbolic of a university, a place where members can talk about student loans or saving for college. You get the idea about just how cool service delivery feels when you’re in this branch. Notably, there isn’t a teller line at this location. Instead, there are half a dozen universal agents at a circular desk in the middle, all trained and ready to help you do whatever you want to do.
- Learn, learn learn.
The service delivery landscape will continue to change and evolve. To keep up, look to periodicals and expert presenters for ideas that may become actionable. For example, you might want to read“Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?” about interactive teller machines from the December issue of our CU Management magazine. Or, you may find value in attending CUES School of Product and Channel Management in April, or the new CUES School of Payments in May, both in Chicago.
And don’t think learning is just for members of the C-suite. CUES knows for sure that front-line branch staff need to be top member service providers. It’s a huge but key responsibility to ensure that your stars who interact with members every day have opportunities to grow and evolve their roles. That way, they can be of ever-better service to your members—and therefore to your organization. We’ll be here to help.
Charles E. “Chuck” Fagan, III, is president/CEO of the Credit Union Executives Society, an individual membership association based in Madison, Wis. Before joining CUES in January 2013, Fagan served as executive vice president of PSCU’s national sales and client relationship teams and helped pioneer the company’s role in bringing emerging payments technologies to its member-owner credit unions. Previously, he held positions at Electronic Data Systems and Virginia Credit Union. Fagan earned a BSBA in finance from Longwood University in Farmville, Va. He and his wife, Kathy, have two daughters.