Signs point to yes: The key to a robust service culture

At CUNA, we tout our ability to cultivate an exemplary service culture with resources like CUNA Creating Member Loyalty™, and there’s a certain confidence that accompanies the skills and resources we provide, an assuredness that I could never quite tie up in a nice neat package.

When I attended Chip Heath’s keynote address at the CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council Conference, his presentation, “Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work,” got me thinking about the importance of decision-making process in any sales and service culture – especially in the case of credit unions. That’s when it hit me. The key to a robust service culture lies in decisiveness.

Think about it – when you encounter a service culture where everyone, from the CEO to the tellers on the front line, is knowledgeable, capable and empowered enough to make influential decisions as a part of their day-to-day work, you walk away impressed. Put in that light, the decisiveness of the staff plays as big as role in creating a confident culture as any of its executives and in making members feel that they’re in capable hands.

Here’s my service culture spin on what Heath had to say about decision-making:

  • Widen your options
    How do you define your sales & service culture? It could mean everyone uses the member’s name. Or that you have defined service standards. Or that you have organizational alignment around your goals. Or many other factors. Don’t get stuck in thinking that you have to have every element fully defined and functioning to get started. There are hundreds of elements that go into building a successful culture. If you get hung up on those details, you could find that you’ll never get started.
  • Reality-Test your assumptions
    Once you’ve started to figure out where to begin the process of building your full culture, use what the Heath brothers call “ooch.” How can you test out your new sales process, service standards, or coaching protocol before making a wide-spread credit union-wide change? Perhaps you test elements with one department or one branch at a time. You “ooch” rather than leap.
  • Attain distance before deciding
    As you start adding elements to your culture, you may find it necessary to enlist the help of outside resources. And if there is a sense of urgency about moving forward with a particular initiative, you may feel intense pressure to make a decision. Try what the Heath brothers call the 10/10/10 analysis. How confident will you be with your choice in 10 minutes? In 10 months? How about 10 years? Do all signs point to yes? Go for it!
  • Prepare to be wrong
    Set realistic expectations about what will and won’t change as your new culture takes shape. If you are overconfident about the results your team can expect, your rose-colored glasses could soon be replaced with disappointment in the boardroom. Instead, prepare for a wide range of outcomes and be nimble enough to course correct as you move forward.

For more insight into Chip’s decision-making process, check out his book, Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work.

The next time you’re in a business of any kind, see how they stand up. Is their team knowledgeable and empowered enough to make the calls or does every decision need to be put through the ringer before it’s made?

For additional information on CUNA Creating Member Loyalty and other CUNA Operations, Sales & Service resources, visit

Angela Prestil

Angela Prestil

Angela Prestil is Director of Business Development for Credit Union National Association. Her responsibilities include ensuring the successful implementation of the Creating Member Loyalty™ sales culture development system, as well ... Web: Details

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