Fee or Free? Managing Expectations May be Key

By Lisa Hochgraf

Airline travel always gives me time to think–and new experiences to chew on. When I checked in for my flight to CUES Symposium: A CEO/Chairman Exchange in February, I found that my husband and I were not sitting together for two of three long flights to our destination, despite the fact that upwards of $1,200 had been spent on our tickets.

To thicken the plot, let me tell you that the airline would gladly fix that problem for $75. What?! I’ve already paid $1,200 for tickets and now you want me to spend an additional $75 to sit with my traveling companion, whose ticket was booked at the very same time as mine?

This experience points to the idea that when someone thinks something is (or should be free), accepting a fee can have the bitter taste of medicine. Maybe if the airline had said that “additional seating fees may apply at check-in,” I wouldn’t have been quite so upset. Managing expectations would certainly play a role.

So, too, with financial services. At CUES Symposium, Terence Roche talked with CEO attendees in an open forum about what delivery channels going forward will be fee(d) or free–and what strategies will be needed to decide when each is OK for your credit union and its members. Roche is principal with CUES Supplier member and strategic provider Cornerstone Advisors Inc.

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