How do your credit union’s members feel?

If you ask credit union members why they prefer their credit unions to their big-bank competitors, they might offer a variety of answers. Maybe their credit union helped them with a loan for their small business, or it offered them a good interest rate for their mortgage. But I would bet that all of them just prefer their credit union to the competition because of the way the credit union staff treats them. That attitude of extreme member service – always going out of your way to help a member – goes a long way.

When the poet Maya Angelou died earlier this year, many people cited a quotation from her as an enduring favorite: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Does your staff take the time to explain things that members are confused about? Do they go out of their way to make sure members feel comfortable and confident about the products and services they’re choosing? Do your members feel they have had the time to understand and consider all their options with each financial decision? Just like Angelou said – in 10 or 15 years, they will likely not remember the details of all those financial decisions, but they’ll remember whether they felt confident and comfortable, or rushed and uneasy.

Credit unions set the standard for that kind of extreme member service. Last year, the American Customer Satisfaction Index showed credit union members’ satisfaction score had risen to 85 while the customers of large banks only rated their experience a 73. Even better – survey respondents scored their credit unions’ member service at 93, citing quick, convenient transactions, a good variety of financial services available and high-quality websites and call centers.

Credit unions are about community – and that is conveyed most effectively through the attitude of a credit union’s staff. In Mark Murphy’s book, Hiring for Attitude, he explains why top performers are distinguished by attitude more than skill:

“You’ll likely find that what makes these folks so great is all about their attitude and not their skills. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that skills don’t matter – they do. But I’m also saying that the biggest challenge in hiring is not determining skill but rather determining whether or not someone has the right attitude to be a good fit in your organization.”

Members will remember a genuinely positive attitude – the helpful staff member with the smiling face. As Murphy said, skill is obviously important – and credit unions continue to demonstrate their skill by offering members the best products and services around – but attitude is what they will remember.

We all spend a lot of time thinking about member service and what credit unions can do for their members – and they can do a lot! But we should always remember that one of the most important ways to serve members is to welcome them with a smile and make them feel like – no matter what – we have their back.

B. Dan Berger

B. Dan Berger

B. Dan Berger became NAFCU president and CEO on Aug. 1, 2013. He joined NAFCU in January 2006 as senior vice president of government affairs overseeing five divisions including legislative ... Web: Details