Six logical things Mr. Spock might say about long-term client relationships
Ask any Trekkie fan if they are familiar with Mr. Spock, and you will most certainly hear a variety of answers. More than likely, they can quickly characterize his trademark look, rational approach, and recite some of their favorite Spock lines.
For the few who may be unfamiliar with Mr. Spock, he was a half-Vulcan half-Human character with pointy ears and eyebrows, and he was one of the three central characters of the original Star Trek series. Mr. Spock served as a Starfleet Officer under Capt. James T. Kirk in the USS Enterprise. His Vulcan side prevented him from showing any emotion, so the character is known for his no-nonsense, logical answers, as well as his signature Vulcan hand salute which was followed by the line, “live long and prosper.”
As a credit union, you can take the Vulcan greeting to heart, since you definitely have a vested interested in running a successful and prosperous company for the long haul. Keeping a rational approach in mind, Mr. Spock might advise the following six logical things to know concerning long-term member relationships:
Logic #1: Keep a laser focus
When a member joins your credit union, you probably focus all your attention on them, making them feel like your top priority. You take the time to understand their needs and goals, and craft original non- ‘cookie cutter’ solutions. Over time, it can be challenging to maintain the same level of focus; however, do not allow complacency to set in. Remember, it is cheaper to keep current members than to find and cultivate new ones. In a Forbes article written by Patrick Hull, he cites statistics from the book Marketing Metrics, which states businesses have a 60–70% chance of selling to an existing customer while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5–20%. Keep your focus on the existing relationships you have, so they don’t feel the need to shop your competition. And, in the event they do, the level of service you provide will be hard to beat.
Logic #2: Seek opportunities
While it is important to pursue potential opportunities to capture new members, it is equally important to keep an eye out for ways your members can improve their finances and lifestyle. Consider sharing an article you wrote or found which described a new process, trend, or insight which might help them reach their financial goals. You could also host workshop on focused on building credit, budgeting, or any of the other numerous financial topics your members are interested in. Or, maybe it’s as simple as educating your members on additional services your credit union now provides that may be relevant for them. That’s the key—the relevance to them. If done with due diligence and with genuine spirit, your members will value your efforts and time taken, which may deepen their loyalty.
Logic #3: Accountability always
Keeping your commitments and always being honest about a situation ensures your integrity stays intact. Don’t be tempted to tell a little white lie to excuse your missed deadline or your failure to return their call or email. You’ve built trust over time and should value all that it’s worth. Trust can take years to build, but only a second to lose.
Logic #4: Stay fascinating
Spock said the word ‘fascinating’ in several Star Trek episodes in a variety of situations. He said, “Fascinating is a word I use for the unexpected.” In your members’ eyes, would they consider your credit union fascinating? Do you take the initiative to stand apart from competitors? Do you have long-term plans for your members? And if so, are they aware of your plans?
An article in Entrepreneur magazine details how Sally Hogshead coined the term ‘fascination advantage,’ while working as a creative director for brands such as Coca-Cola, BMW, Nike, and Mini Cooper. She explains, “You don’t live on a desert island. It’s about figuring out the specific aspects of who you are that are very valuable to people, and the ones that aren’t.” Fascinate your members with your story, your plans, and your passion to succeed.
Logic #5: Encourage feedback
Keep the lines of communication open and encourage feedback. Your members rely on you to keep them abreast of everything from the status of projects to roadblocks you may have encountered. Conversely, don’t assume your member is happy with the outcome of the latest project. Constructive criticism should be appreciated and will help you solve any issues of concern and, if necessary, enables you to make adjustments on upcoming projects.
Logic #6: Remain thankful in an ‘old school’ way
When was the last time you went old school and actually sent a member a handwritten note of thanks? Yes, you could send a text or email, but it just doesn’t carry the same weight as taking the time to write a note. Don’t underestimate the value of a genuine expression of gratitude. Take the time to hand write a note, and send it off via snail mail. Everyone likes to feel special and appreciated; authenticity will shine through. A Houston Chronicle article points out the significance of thank you notes by stating most business people know to verbally say thank you after a meeting, but that’s where the communication ends. Unfortunately, many businesses may be missing out on an opportunity to stand out from the crowd—the extra time and effort in a handwritten communication can help strengthen potential member relationships or reinforce current ones.
You recognize your level of success is dependent on maintaining positive relationships with existing members. There’s a lot of time, work, and effort associated with this endeavor, as well much to gain. Also, you are quite aware it is illogical to think members will continue conducting business with you just because they have been around since you opened shop. Stay in it to win it. In the immortal words of Mr. Spock, “Live long and prosper.”
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