It’s the end of another year, so let’s do some deep-dive thinking when it comes to your staff, culture and brand. Here’s a question to ponder as 2017 draws to a close:
Can your staff and brand handle it when transactional becomes experiential?
By that I mean — can your staff and brand handle interacting with a member (or potential member) transactionally (cash in, cash out, etc.) but fall apart when it comes to experiential interaction (asking questions, digging deeper, engaging members, etc.)?
We see this fairly often when conducting mystery shops as part of the overall marketing audit process for credit unions. If your staff and culture, for example, is set up to handle the majority of inbound member interaction at the teller level, are your tellers prepared to do more if that member needs more? During mystery shops, it is not uncommon for tellers to become uneasy, disengaged and even detached when the conversation moves from transactional to experiential.
This, obviously, is not good news for your brand.
The same ideal also applies not only to your tellers but also to every other employee of your credit union involved with member contact. Are they trained, prepared and willing to plunge into the deeper waters of member engagement? This requires more than cash handling skills and balancing the drawer. In order to successfully engage with members at this deeper level, your staff and brand must be empowered to do more, such as:
- Ask open-ended questions
- Discuss member benefits/solutions instead of product and service features
- Practice active listening
- Develop a member information databank (both mental and embedded in whatever member information tool your credit union uses) to draw from later
- Elevate member discussion from a one-off event to a series of conversations that, when observed from a higher level, leads to deeper and more meaningful member relationships
To succeed, your credit union must look at member engagement as more of a perpetual habit than an occasional occurrence. Task skills and accuracy are still vitally important (after all, it doesn’t matter how great your brand, culture and training are if drawers don’t balance or a check is deposited to the wrong account).
However, task accuracy only takes you to the transactional level. Successful credit unions, with an eye towards more impactful member relationships and key performance indicators such as products per member, products for household and wallet/market share, go beyond task accuracy. They focus on developing a staff, culture and brand that demands a more in-depth relationship with members.
In the new experience economy, the experiences members have with your credit union drive their decision to entrust you with more (or less) of their business. Credit unions that invest in member experience are those that tend to grow quicker and deeper roots with their members and realize continued financial success.