As we’ve started to go out again to celebrate milestones, catch up with friends and basically return to our socially gathering selves this summer, I’ve been reminded of the importance of likability. Consumers have choices in everything they do and now after so much time not being able to exercise their options, they are really making their preferences known with how and where they spend their dollars.
Ask yourself, and answer honestly, is your credit union likable?
Tim Sanders wrote about the importance of increasing your individual and organization’s “likeability factor” in his book by the same name. What is most important to realize, is that likeability is not just about how nice you are, but your likeability is actually compromised of your skill set in four distinct areas:
- Friendliness: your ability to communicate liking and openness to others
- Relevance: your capacity to connect with others’ interests, wants, and needs
- Empathy: your ability to recognize, acknowledge, and experience other people’s feelings
- Realness: the integrity that stands behind your likeability and guarantees its authenticity
Most of us probably would say our credit unions are likable or we do a really good job on at least half of the elements of likability. That makes sense because as credit unions, at our very core is the idea of people helping people. However, anything we can do to increase our likability factor will help us keep the members we have and attract the ones we want. Here are three concepts to boost your credit union’s likability:
- Understand the member experience. Look at the fundamental member experiences in your credit union to understand where there are obstacles and hiccups for members and find ways to simplify the experience. A cumbersome or frustrating experience where the majority of the responsibility lies with the member decreases your credit union’s friendliness and empathy.
- Lead with your mission. Your mission should be at the center of your communications and marketing because it reminds members of why they do business with you. Describe the value you bring to your members, not only in savings on fees and lower rates on loans but by demonstrating your commitment to your members and your community. Doing good is good business and tying back to your mission, vision and values increases your realness and relevance.
- Define Your Follow Up. It seems simple but it’s so important. It’s not enough to say we’ll get back to you or someone will follow up with you. Set service level standards that you publish on your website letting members know when and how you’ll get back to them. Describe the steps in the process when applying for a loan or to become a member. You increase your realness, authenticity, trust and ultimately likeability when you define how you’ll follow up with members.
Members have choices when it comes to their financial institutions and most have multiple relationships. If you want to keep and retain members, work on increasing your likability factor and you’ll garner trust and deepen relationships for years to come.