by: Stephanie Lutz, Management Analyst, CRI Solutions
Imagine walking into a department store and finding that they had hidden away all of their accessories. The belts, cufflinks, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and handbags are nowhere to be found. It would seem strange, wouldn’t it?
Now imagine that in order to purchase an accessory from this store, you had to ask a sales associate for the specific item that you wanted before they would show it to you. Then, if the accessory you had asked to see was difficult to ring up, the associate would try to discourage you from purchasing it. You probably wouldn’t shop at that store very often, at least not for accessories, and you probably wouldn’t view them as a resource on what was fashionable. After all, fashion is so much more than just shirts, pants, skirts and dresses.
The scenario above sounds absurd. What department store, or any retailer for that matter, would lock up their accessories and demand that customers request to see them? Besides being bad for business, that’s terrible customer service. Yet that’s exactly what happens every day in credit unions when a Member Service Representative (MSR) doesn’t offer add-on products on loans to members.
Credit Insurance, Debt Protection, GAP, and Auto Warranty are just a few of the products members can purchase to accessorize their loan. The problem is, credit unions too often keep those accessories hidden away and only bring them out if a member asks. But what about the members that don’t ask, or don’t know what to ask for? Providing the highest level of member service means making sure they are aware of the accessories that are available and how those products will complement their loan.
There are a number of reasons that MSRs might not offer add-on loan products to a member and it is up to credit union management to give them the tools that they need to offer fully accessorized loans every time. Often, MSRs don’t feel comfortable either with the products that they are offering, or with the idea of “selling” to a member. Product and soft skills training, which helps staff better understand the products and the way to offer it to members without having to hard sell, can be an effective way to address this obstacle.
In other cases, the product might be difficult to quote and the MSR either doesn’t want to take the extra time to provide pricing for the product, or they don’t have the tools to provide an accurate quote. Having an accurate and efficient quoting tool that can handle even tricky products, like Debt Protection and Vehicle Service Contracts, is crucial when equipping staff to offer these products. Still, even with these tools, some MSRs just decide that members won’t want certain products, so they don’t offer them. Maybe they don’t think the member will like the cost, or they think the member is in a hurry and won’t want to take the time to hear about additional products, or it seems like the member isn’t the kind of person who would buy a product. Regardless of the reason, they never give the member the opportunity to ask questions and decide for themselves.
Accessorizing your members’ loans is a win-win. Not only does the credit union benefit with a boost in non-interest income and more secure loans, members are given the opportunity to protect their loan and their finances for the future and the credit union becomes their go-to resource for their complete financial well-being – not just a place to get money for a loan. Just like fashion is about more than clothing, personal financial management is about more than loans and deposits. Don’t your members deserve an accessorized loan?
CRI Solutions’ unique QuoteMore tool provides credit union staff with an easy and effective way to quote add-on loan products on all loan types, complete with an interface to NADA and auto warranty pricing and a menu format that displays a variety of package options for each loan. Their credit union training program also helps MSRs feel comfortable and confident when offering products to members. With over 35 years of serving credit unions, CRI Solutions focuses on ways to help credit unions and their communities transform tomorrow by integrating technology and financial services in ways that best benefits members.
Stephanie Lutz is a Management Analyst with CRI Solutions in Elkridge, MD. CRI Solutions exclusively serves credit unions by integrating insurance and financial products with the company’s best-of-breed technology platforms, resulting in market leading custom lending and workflow solutions. To learn more about the variety of training programs offered by CRI Solutions, visit our website at www.crisolutions.net.