Mastering the Three Moments of Truth

by Tracy Conner

What makes one credit union more successful than another? Why are some credit unions struggling to grow their membership, while others are growing at a double-digit pace?
Why are some credit unions successfully lending to their members while others are struggling to put new loans on the books? These are questions that many of us in credit union land have asked from time to time.

A recent CUNA Marketing and Business Development white paper entitled “Moments of Truth” by Richard Grady offers some new insights worth exploring. Grady and his colleagues evaluated all the credit unions in the state of Texas and examined two dozen studies conducted over the past decade by CUNA, the Filene Research Institute, various universities, and the American Society of Association Executives. They found that, while there’s no magic formula to credit union growth, the credit unions that are growing faster than their peers, their competitors, and the industry have mastered three “moments of truth”: service, selling, and socializing.

All credit unions are focused on these three principles to one degree or another, but Grady believes that mastery in these areas is what makes the difference. Let’s explore each moment of truth in greater depth.

Moment 1: Outstanding Service

Service is the first moment of truth and, most likely, the easiest for credit unions to relate to. In order for service to be considered outstanding, however, credit unions must go beyond merely knowing their members by name and smiling when they visit the branch. The next level of service involves actually knowing your members, their families, and their interests, and developing a relationship that transcends a warm and friendly greeting. It is taking an interest in people and treating them like members of the family. It involves personal communication, such as notes, phone calls, and e-mails, with valuable information. For the members who don’t visit the credit union branch, the personal connection may come in the form of live online chatting and assistance.

continue reading »