You’ve heard it before: You’re really not in the financial services industry; you’re in the member service industry. At least that’s how you and your employees should be thinking about what you do all day, every day. But, how do you really know what that means and, once you know, how can such a culture of service be sustained through the long-term, through employee change-over, and through inevitable changes in the industry?
1) First, take a look at the hallmarks of member service culture from the point of view of, well, the customer. What, indeed, does every member or potential member want from you? Over and over again, research in the area of member service reveals the following distilled list of needs and wants:
– They want you to listen to them.
– They need common sense policies and procedures.
– They want every transaction to be completed quickly (and remember- their attention spans are getting shorter and shorter every day).
– They want to be treated like royalty – by everyone in your company.
– They only want products and services that are of the highest quality.
That’s it. Five things. Seem easy? Maybe.
2) Second, you’ve got to take an honest inventory of your current stock in member service. With those member needs and wants in mind, ask yourself if your company can compete against every other company in those five areas. If you think so, try answering these questions:
– Do your employees have a thorough understanding of every product and service you offer? If so, do they explain them well to members? Are employees empowered to solve all complaints?
– What training programs are in place to ensure employees understand everything?
– When was the last time you held an employee training program of any sort?
– Do you measure whether an employee’s training actually shines through during interactions with member?
3) If any of your answers to the above are clouded by uncertainty, it’s probably time to take a thorough look at your company culture again, from your hiring practices to company policies. Experts suggest that refresher courses are needed every three to six months.
For any program to succeed there must be measurable goals and an opportunity to improve continuously. One credit union has an employee performance measurement system in place that provides a “Service Culture Score” for each employee. Using data and the experiences gathered by mystery shoppers through Customer Perspectives, an employee is assigned a score and can earn bonuses based on certain measurements. The credit union is committed to following through on every aspect of its member service measures.
Take a moment to begin your self-analysis. You’ll be that much closer to a true culture of member service because of it.