by: Justine Rivero, Credit Advisor, CreditKarma.com
“This is so helpful!”
“Honest, complete, and (really) free!”
“Lovin’ this site!”
You don’t typically hear that from consumers unsolicited, unless they are die-hard brand fans of the likes of Nike or Apple. Financial institutions aren’t known for having the kind of fans who spread the good word; more often than not, criticism—not praise—spreads faster in the financial industry.
However, the above comments were written on CreditKarma.com’s Facebook wall by our members. While we aren’t a credit union, we share similarities with credit unions. As a website that provides free access to credit scores and credit monitoring, CreditKarma.com is committed to being on consumers’ side; similarly, credit unions are differentiate themselves from banks as the honest, consumer-friendly alternative.
So how can you elicit that type of response from your members? Chances are, they already feel that way about your credit union.
There are three things your credit union members won’t tell you, and a few tips on how to get a little bit of love back.
1. “We love you guys!”
It’s human nature to complain if things aren’t going well, but we aren’t necessarily vocal when things are going right. But it’s important for your employees to stay in touch with how members truly feel and how satisfied they are with the product. For example, when CreditKarma.com’s Marketing team began sharing with the company the positive feedback we get on Facebook and Twitter, it was the first time the engineering, sales and product teams heard what members really thought of us. It’s an incredible validation and motivation for the whole team. Likewise, make it easy for customers to show you some love by having a Facebook page, Twitter account or in-branch customer conversations that actively asks, “What’s going well for you here? Are you happy with the product and service?” Don’t forget to share the good news with your team. Sometimes, it takes an outside pat-on-the-back for your team to truly grasp what great work they are doing.
2. “I have a great suggestion.”
The suggestion boxes of old have been replaced with Facebook walls and Tweets. While it’s great to get love, you also need to hear constructive feedback from members to keep building a better product and customer experience. Have you tried asking your members for their ideas? It could be in the form of a social media contest, like what DBS Bank did in Singapore. DBS Bank asked their members to design a bank branch aimed at Gen Y, and came out with a winning design entry that was constructed as DBS Bank’s newest branch, as well as authentic interactions with a younger target demographic. You could also simply ask customers in branch, “What improvements would you like to see to our products or service? Is there anything we can do to make you happier here?” When CreditKarma.com asked a similar question over Facebook, we were hit with a ton of credit questions. Looks like members were looking for more information and resources on credit basics like how to manage debt and how to understand their credit score. Thus, our Credit Advice Center was born. Good ideas don’t just come from conference meetings and company brainstorms; they can be crowd-sourced direct from your members.
3. “Why should I follow you on Facebook or Twitter?”
Credit unions are still struggling with the utility of social media. In fact, one in five credit unions abandons their Twitter accounts, reports The Financial Brand. One of the reasons financial institutions drown in social media noise is because they don’t have a clear reason to use social media in the first place. If you don’t know what you’re doing on Facebook and Twitter, then your members certainly don’t know what the value is in following you. Offer something through social media that isn’t available in your newsletters, website or in-branch. Also, clearly communicate what kind of goodies and benefits members will get from engaging with you via social media. For example, US Bank clearly positions its Facebook page as a way for members to discover more about the company through its customer service channels and interactive tools. Wells Fargo uses its Facebook as a way to share very specific content, including helpful news and job listings. Also give your Twitter account a straightforward purpose, whether as a customer service channel or a financial tips resource. Be clear and straightforward with your members about what your social media channels offer, instead of simply pandering for them to “Like” or follow you.
Be proactive in inviting your members to participate and talk back. The important thing to note here is that if you want to know something from your members, you have to ask. Maybe that’s through impromptu in-branch conversations, a Facebook post or formal surveys. Also, If you want something from your members like their social media love, give something valuable before you get. It’s the basics of human relationships, and it’s just as true in your credit union’s relationships with your members.
Justine Rivero is the Credit Advisor for CreditKarma.com, a free credit management website that helps nearly 5 million consumers access their truly free credit score and free credit monitoring. www.creditkarma.com