Elate: To make someone ecstatically happy.
I’ll fully own the cheesy rhyme in the title of this article. What I will not own (and what credit unions cannot afford to own) is something as mundane and trivial as member satisfaction.
What’s that? Member satisfaction is not a good thing? Of course it is.
Gartner research shows that marketing directors across multiple industries are now spending an average of 18% of their total marketing budgets on consumer experience. Clearly, it’s a good thing.
Just like a baseball player batting .300 is a good thing. Just like your local weather person getting the forecast right maybe half the time is a good thing. These are “good” things.
But they’re not great. They do not elate.
A baseball player batting .400 elates his fans. A weather person getting the forecast right 90% of the time would elate her viewers. Satisfying a consumer is, indeed, a “good” thing. However, it is not elation.
Why this fixation on elation? Over Christmas a colleague of mine purchased a cool little artificial intelligence robot for his children. He had some trouble getting it to hook up to their home Wi-Fi and contacted the company for support. As he relayed the story, the company quickly replied and resolved the issue and then followed up with an email asking if he was “elated” by the service he had received.
My colleague says he stopped and reread that sentence several times and noted, “I know what elate means and I’ve seen it in the dictionary, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever seen it in a piece of consumer marketing.”
Member satisfaction? Boring.
Member elation? That’s the ticket.
According to Digital Onboarding, only one in 10 financial institutions successfully engages new members after they open a checking account. And that’s just the beginning of the relationship.
Unless your member service experience goes for elation every single time, you’re not going to stand out from the competition. Unless your member service experience strives for elation on a daily basis, your members will have little reason to remember you. Unless your member service experience achieves elation at every member interaction, you’re pouring water into a leaky bucket.
Sure, you’ll probably keep adding members at the relatively slow pace most credit unions do. However, those you lose to attrition (the idea of that leaky bucket) are wandering off, seduced by your competitors with marketing tales of how much greener the grass is on their side. Had you wooed them, had you gone for more than satisfaction, had you achieved member elation, there’s a much better chance they would’ve stayed in your bucket.
Credit Union Times reported that more people leave financial institutions due to poor experience than to fraud. CUToday.info similarly found that for the first time banks are beginning to pass credit unions in customer satisfaction ratings. Credit unions must find ways to enhance member experience.
Go back to the very first line of this article — the dictionary definition of the word of elate. Honestly answer the question “How many members left my credit union today feeling ecstatically happy?”
If you’re being honest, the answer is probably a relatively low number. How much higher could it be? How much higher should it be? How much higher must it be in order for your credit union to thrive in this ridiculously competitive and ever-changing financial services marketplace?
Credit unions that truly seek to elate their members and cement their future as a growing and dynamic financial institution focus on the member experience with an eye toward elation. If your credit union does not look to every single telephone call, online chat, social media interaction, drive-through intercom conversation and (yes, they still happen) lobby interaction as a member elation opportunity, your participation in our little niche of the financial services marketplace is, frankly, not needed and potentially damaging to those progressive credit unions that do seek to relate their members.
Which culture would you choose? Member satisfaction or member elation?
The answer to this relatively simple question is a good indicator of whether or not you should bother opening your doors tomorrow morning. It may sound blunt and probably is but it’s also the truth. Credit unions that seek to stand out and make their members ecstatically happy are those that will still stand in this gladiatorial arena of financial services. Those that do not should exit stage left, satisfied (defeated) but not elated (ecstatically victorious).