If you seek to deliver exceptional service in a challenging industry, look no further than Southwest Airlines. The company consistently sets itself apart in customer service rankings, believes that great service begins with happy employees, and espouses that, “If ‘friendliness’ is in our Mission, we had better live it.” That is firsthand information from engagements with Southwest’s customer service and experience executives.
As illustrated in past articles, credit unions can apply actual examples from the most customer-centric companies in the county in an endeavor to build a culture of success. Branding experts will agree that the sum of member interactions with your credit union is your brand. Why not build “friendship” into your hiring, training, technology, marketing, and expectations; making it part of your mission to deliver to members? What can your credit union discover and utilize from this long-time champion in service?
Focus on ease, enjoyment, and effectiveness. How easy is it for your members to conduct everyday business with your credit union? What more can they accomplish in your app? Can they begin and finish a process in one delivery channel? Could they deepen a relationship with your credit union, never having to step foot in a branch again? Ease is the better predictor of buying again; build it into your journey mapping and member experience processes.
Serve today, sell tomorrow. The hotel and rental car upsell following an interaction does not correlate with increased spend and satisfaction (and it is on its way out). Highly associated with spend and satisfaction is commitment to handling an interaction with expertise and efficiency the first time; and, possibly adding a tailored addition of value afterward. Consistent and personal marketing will keep your members aware and up-to-date; friendship by means of service will keep them engaged and open to additional business on their terms and timelines.
Make sure your member is glad he/she engaged. Being approachable and likeable goes a long way in member service and is applicable in technology, too (think, one click to borrow). Finances are personal and being genuine, empathic, and conversational puts members at ease. Building this kind of trust keeps your credit union and its brand close to your members’ hearts – and wallets for the future. People do business with those they know, like, and trust. How does your credit union stack up?
Do not rest on your laurels. Southwest Airlines and credit unions have earned the highest rankings in customer and member service for years. Congratulations. However, the competition is closing quickly and nipping at the heels. Surveying trends, listening to members, reworking delivery; measuring standards, and always training for improvement should be a part of service strategy. As your members get used to one level of service, they will expect more. Deliver this and reap the rewards of loyalty.
“The highest level of business is an act of friendship.” Credit the statement to friend and speaking colleague Jim Cathcart. Friendliness will win over just about every member, regardless of how they choose to interact with you. If “friendliness” is a guiding statement or one of your credit union’s values, how much more could it flourish throughout your products, services, pricing, and experiences? Consider these lessons in customer- and member-centricity as you continue to build a culture of success.
Learn more about a culture of success for your credit union: http://jeffrendel.com/one-percent-service/.