3 steps to strengthen member loyalty with empathy

I love my insurance company. You read that correctly. I love my insurance company. My fondness towards them may sound surprising, yet they regularly show me that my love and loyalty is not misplaced. Over the years they have gone above and beyond to anticipate my needs and exceed my expectations. You can imagine my disappointment when I learned they can’t provide service when I move from Wisconsin to South Carolina.

For example, two days after my conversation with Tracey Morgan, the customer care representative who broke the bad news to me that they can no longer serve me, I received a thank you note from her. The hand-written note thanked me for my years as a customer. Then she iced the cake by saying, “We are going to miss you, but wish you the best in your new location!”

Why did that sentence give me all the feels? Granted, I’m emotional about leaving Wisconsin after living here my entire adult life. Yet a simple “thank you” wouldn’t normally inspire me to write about it. Let’s dissect this experience, shall we? When Tracey and I spoke, she employed all of the steps toward empathy by:

  1. Asking Questions: When I explained that I was moving and wondered if the company would still be able to serve me, she could have ended the conversation quickly by saying “No.” Instead, she asked me why we were moving and why we had selected that location.
  2. Listening: When she asked her questions, Tracey let me talk. She didn’t interrupt. She didn’t assume what I was going to say next because she’s heard similar stories. And she didn’t cut me off to end the call. Think you and your team ace this? I beg to differ, but that’s for another article.
  3. Confirming My Feelings: Tracey used phrases like, “It sounds like a lot of change,” and, “That’s so exciting to be moving closer to family.” That let me know she was not only listening, she was truly paying close attention to the emotions I was sharing.

Tracey and I discussed how much I was going to miss living in Wisconsin, and she reflected that emotion back in her thank you note to me. Her service follow up clinched my loyalty — even though I’m no longer a customer.

The bottom line is that loyal members are what will sustain and grow our movement through:

  1. Increased revenue. Loyal members are more likely to have multiple products with your credit union. They also use the services they have with you. Rather than accounts that sit dormant and cost the credit union, these members show their loyalty by engaging with your products.
  2. Reduced costs. Loyal members require less marketing and sales effort to retain. They are more likely to provide positive feedback, which can help attract new members. They are also more likely to recommend your credit union to others. Capitalizing on their feedback by asking for referrals and capturing their testimonials will go even further to help your growth.
  3. Improved reputation. A loyal member base is a valuable asset. It shows that your organization is providing high-quality service that people are willing to come back to again and again. Showcasing the longevity of your members acts as a confirmation of the safety and soundness of your credit union.
  4. Greater sense of community. Loyal members feel a sense of belonging to your organization. They are more likely to attend your annual meeting, vote for your board, and other ways that support your mission. In fact, these are the members you can rely on to get involved in grassroots activities when the movement needs them most.

Empathy personalizes the member experience to make each member feel like they are a valued individual. It’s a worthwhile soft skill to encourage, practice, and grow with your entire team. Reach out if you’d like to explore how your credit union can capitalize on empathy. We’re here to help!

As for my new friend, Tracey? She knows that my first phone call will be to her company if we ever move back to the area. And your first phone call should be to recruit her away from her insurance company — she’d be a phenomenal credit union team member!

Angela Prestil

Angela Prestil

As Senior Consultant for CU Difference, Angela brings a distinct specialty set in the critical areas of employee engagement, leadership development, and member loyalty strategies. She has helped hundreds of ... Details