Member service: Matters of life and death

1,000 Songs in Your Pocket.

Did you know that Apple wasn’t the first to introduce the MP3 player?  

The first digital music player was invented by a four-man company out of South Korea, followed quickly by others – all marketing their device’s respective “tech and specs.”

In contrast, when Apple launched the iPod, its promise was simple and straight-forward: 1,000 songs in your pocket. It’s no wonder Apple became the market leader, while its competition entered obsolescence overnight. 

Using internal nomenclature, rather than talking to customers in terms they actually care about, is a trap that marketers fall into over … and over … and over again. This is particularly prevalent among technology companies.

One way to combat this predilection is to focus on the real-life situations that you – our credit union partners – encounter on a daily basis. That’s exactly what we are devoting this column to as part of our Year of Transformation. 

Read on for CRMNEXT’s first in a series of “Stories from the Frontlines.”  

Death of a Member.

There’s no delicate way to transition from iPods to interment.  Nor is it any less distressing to go from helping a member buy his first car one minute, to assisting a grieving widow with a deceased loved one’s holdings the next. 

Yet this a reality you’ve most likely encountered. And it’s often a complex and time-consuming process involving multiple departments.

Here are just a few of the possible items that might need to be considered and addressed.

Accounts – The steps vary by ownership type. Is the account joint? Does it have right of survivorship? If so, then the survivor still has access to those funds. If not, 50 percent of those funds have to be frozen.

Safety Deposit Box – Did you follow the correct procedures? Contents must be inventoried by the Clerk of Courts office and entered into the estate before family members can access the box. 

And then there’s all the stuff that happens behind the scenes, which can be easy for branch staff to overlook. 

Bill Pay, Credit Cards, ACH – Auto-drafts and deposits need to be stopped. If forgotten, those payments will go through and the credit union is on the hook. That’s bottom-line loss for the financial institution, and it’s extremely unlikely they’ll get those funds returned. ACH transactions are related to social security, carrying even steeper repercussions if not dealt with properly after a member’s death. 

Then there’s compliance, risk management, digital banking, loans, etc. to handle. And here’s the kicker: All of this has to be addressed in tandem. 

Relationship Matters.

At the end of the day, when a relative comes in to report the death of a loved one, it’s not the list that matters most. It’s the relationship. And that’s where technology comes in. 

The right CRM for banking can organize all pieces of a complex process in one place – automating the required action items related to a death, so you can focus on comforting the living. 

Here’s the best part. Any employee can put the correct cogs in motion by opening just one case. This singular action triggers an automated workflow that creates and assigns all required sub-cases for each department – ensuring no balls get dropped.

Technology. It’s Awesome. 

Be it the perfect song in your pocket to suit any mood, or the best way to provide support and solace after a member passes, the right technology choice can simplify and improve matters of life and death. 

How does your tech stack measure up?

P.S. Can you relate to this scenario? Do you have your own story to share? Let us know in comments, or reach out directly to

Contact the author: CRMNEXT

Contact the author: CRMNEXT

Emily Thomson

Emily Thomson

Emily Thomson is the director of marketing strategy at CRMNEXT, a leading CRM solution for credit unions. She is well versed in all things banking and branding, and has spent ... Web: Details