“We need to establish a sales culture…We don’t sell, we educate…Our outstanding service will lead to sales.” All are common phrases expressed through credit unions describing the retail delivery of products and services. All are correct, in their own manner. All can be questioned, in their own perspective, too. As credit unions connect the gap between service and sales, one aspect remains constant and undeniable: when the member succeeds, the credit union succeeds.
Perhaps a “Success Culture” provides the necessary balance.
Focusing on success for the member, through sales and service, introduces a trading of value. For the most part, the credit union trades a set of well-priced products and, over time, the member exchanges value through increases in product use and purchases.
Success can certainly come through sales – new loans, additional deposits, insurance purchases, etc. But, too much focus on sales can create a “pushy” experience where members hear a pitch at the smallest hint of opportunity.
Success can undeniably happen through service – fast transactions, technological options, error resolution, etc. But, too much focus on service can make it easy to overlook growth prospects in the quest for an experience that doesn’t feel overly ambitious to the member.
How does a success culture balance the short-term need to serve with the long-term need to grow revenue? It begins with an outlook that ensures members are getting the most from their current set of products; continues with information introduced to illustrate how members can experience more success with the credit union; and, concludes with an attitude of action that guarantees all opportunities for success are fulfilled (i.e., moving the look-to-book ratio forward).
Front line leaders in a success culture need to see every member interaction as an opportunity to extend the long-term nature of a business relationship. This occurs with a twofold commitment: first, to serving the immediate need at hand; and second, to continuously showing members the tangible value they are receiving and how they might receive more. It’s as simple as remembering that the credit union does not succeed until the member succeeds. So, focus on member success. And maintain that each member understands that success, in the near- and long-term, is the goal.
Measuring a success culture is as balanced as its execution. Growth and performance measures might include new members, member retention, new loans, and cross-sales. Service measures such as Net Promoter Score, Member Effort Score, and post-transaction feedback provide insights into relationships where revenues will be achieved gradually over time. Incentives and rewards should be just as balanced, with perhaps 25 percent dependent upon revenue initiatives and 75 percent supported by service-focused measures.
As front-line leaders earn trust, members will invite them to participate in more in-depth conversations. This gives front line leaders insights for recommending a path to value, regardless of whether that course includes added revenue right away. Looking out for the member is the focus. This kind of attention allows front line leaders to explain more about value to their members, creating a positive impression that results in the member driving more business to the credit union. The outcome is a win for the credit union, with success seen on the balance sheet and income statement.
As long as the member succeeds first.