As a young Nashville songwriter, I had no money. When I informed my parents, in 1994, that I would be using the business degree that they had paid for to pursue my life-long dream of becoming the next Garth Brooks, my father looked me in the eye and said something I’ll never forget. He said “son, I’ll support you…in spirit. Get a job.” I packed my bags and headed to Nashville with my guitar on my back and the need to make ends meet. I used to sing demos for extra money, and after a recording session one morning, the engineer suggested a lunch buffet off of West End Avenue that only cost $2.99. He said it was different but good. It was a meat and three, which as any southerner knows, is one meat and three vegetables. I decided to try out this mysterious buffet and discovered that it was in a nursing home. The nursing home opened its cafeteria to the public and after my first taste of fried okra, fried chicken, and peach cobbler, I was hooked and became a regular. Those who have an aging parent or grandparent in a nursing home know that if you sit down for long enough, someone is going to wheel up beside you wanting to talk. My secret buffet was no different. Every time I was eating lunch, a resident named Anna would wheel her chair up to the table and we would eat lunch together. We would talk and laugh, and she would ask me why I wasn’t yet married. I discovered that she had been a nurse and was married three times. Her kids were all grown and she didn’t see her sons as often as she’d like although her daughter would visit three times a week and take her to church on Sundays. I got the impression that our lunches were the highlight of her day. Whenever I would get ready to leave, Anna would always put her hand on top of mine, pat it gently and say “thanks for seeing me.” At the time, I assumed she meant “thanks for stopping by”, but looking back I think she simply meant “Thanks for your attention,” “Thanks for noticing me.”
The need to feel noticed is a powerful motivator. Do your members feel noticed? Do they feel important? The American Society for Quality Control conducted a survey that showed that 68% of lost customers left because of an attitude of indifference by a company employee.” This is a huge opportunity for credit unions to increase and maintain membership simply by noticing your members. Where are the opportunities to notice your members? Even if it’s for a couple of minutes in the drive through or the teller line, those precious moments of attention solidify life-long loyalty. People want to do business with those whom they like and trust. Liking and trust start with being noticed.