An unexpected occurrence happened along the path of three decades serving credit unions and their business partners: the course widened to include helping many of the most recognized customer-centric companies in the country. After all, so many credit unions and their leaders have current and historical ties to these exceptional companies (think Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Marriott, Nordstrom, and more).
What is it about these companies, cultures, and results that set them apart? It is obviously more than offering great products and providing high levels of service. These companies understand they exist, last, and will prosper because of their customers. Their commitment to a customer-focused way of life, ongoing marketing, and exceptional service leads to new, repeat, and referred business. What lessons from these companies can your credit union incorporate in its own culture and commitment to members?
Stay focused on members. In an industry where members have so many options, they chose you. Commit to building great rapport in every interaction and opportunity for engagement. While you certainly want more business from members, it will come on their terms. As members perceive your interest in a permanent relationship, they will be more open to opportunities for a primary relationship. A lifetime connection offers countless occasions for mindshare and wallet share.
Build leaders at all levels. In some way, every role at your credit union affects members. Member-facing professionals serve immediate needs; marketing professionals generate awareness, interest, and sales; technology professionals bring “anytime, anywhere” to life; and, administrative professionals keep the motor of your credit union running. Every employee is the CEO of her or his job. Invest in them as they appreciate the larger extent of success they create for members and the credit union.
Add a lot of tech to your touch. Ease, efficiency, and effectiveness have driven the member experience for eras. From ATMs to Telephone Teller to online banking to mobile everything – technology has always been a major component of financial services and will only grow in importance and member expectations. Invest in technology that adds value to engagement and experiences. Technology extends to operations, as well, as added automation and analytics improve internal experiences.
Define success in every function. Marketing, members, loans, profits, and experiences are the major drivers of success. Marketing brings in members; members generate loans; loans produce revenue; revenue managed properly results in profits; profits are invested in experiences; and, great experiences retain members. A job taken seriously creates results – for the member, employee, and credit union. Every moment brings an opportunity for each colleague to participate in the calculation of success.
Always be changing for good. If your members love how your credit union serves them now, wait six months. They are consumers, after all. Like updates in the App Store, the member experience is constantly expanding, improving, and optimizing. This reality necessitates that credit unions constantly examine the business horizon, be in a relentless state of growth, and lead at the speed of members. What’s next and necessary for members; and, how are you acting on the shift?
In short, the most customer-centric companies in the land are committed to a culture of success; and, that same message of success can be a part of your credit union – with members, as professionals, and for the credit union. The models above represent just a handful of best practices. Choose one, master it in your credit union, and then incorporate another as you move forward.
Watch for further articles on how your credit union can add more success and member-centricity to its culture and operations, as well as a full “Culture of Success” system customized exclusively for credit unions.