Here’s something to think about: What if your credit union died today? What if you locked your doors, shut off the lights, and just faded away? Would your members be irritated at the inconvenience of moving their accounts to another financial institution, or would they be genuinely distraught because no one else can offer you what you provide?
Consider that scenario for a moment and how it frames your value proposition. Is it as solid as it should be? Are you a commodity or an experience?
As we head into 2019 and you begin executing your strategic plan, your marketing plan, and various other initiatives for the coming year, what will it take for you to elevate your brand to something more than just a logo and name? Believe it or not, it may come down to whether your members consider you an acquaintance or a friend.
An acquaintance is someone you run into from time to time. A friend is someone whose company you seek out on a regular basis. An acquaintance is someone you can laugh with on a surface level. A friend is someone you can cry with over matters much deeper.
We tend to connect with people who interest us. We have fun with folks who know how to have fun. We bond most easily with those who share our beliefs. But when it comes to our deepest friendships, they are usually forged with people who have shared our pain. The seeds of commitment are watered by tears.
Think of the people you can always count on—the ones who have your back. You know exactly who they are. If you were in jail, they would be the person on the other end of your one phone call. Why? Because if they’re not in the cell next to you, you can count on the fact that they’d be there to bail out you. The storms of adversity can tear acquaintances apart, but they can also strengthen the bonds of true friendship.
So, do your members consider you an acquaintance or a friend? Will they trust you when times get tough? Would you be their first call when a financial emergency strikes? Or better yet, will they come to you during the good times when they need a trusted partner to help them buy their first home?
As you enter into the coming year, look for ways to take your member relationships beyond a sales pitch or a polite, yet impersonal “hello” each time you interact with them. If your ultimate goal is member retention, spend some time brainstorming with your team and finding creative ways to develop new friendships and deepen existing relationships with each member.