by Angela Prestil, Credit Union National Association
One year later, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney reflects back on the success of Bank Transfer Day in a recent column in The Huffington Post. Last year’s Bank Transfer Day on Nov. 5 gained significant media attention and spurred the greatest period of credit union membership growth in more than a decade. Credit unions added nearly 2.2 million new members in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2012, a total that is almost double the 1.2 million average growth credit unions have seen in similar 12-month periods over the past decade.
Now credit unions nation-wide have an opportunity to show these new members the organization they joined offers more than just lower rates and fewer fees. Providing higher levels of member service consistently, across all delivery channels and with every member interaction, will capitalize on this opportunity.
Completing transactions in an accurate and timely manner is just the beginning. Many credit unions use a 2-2-2 new member onboarding process — contacting the member 2 days, 2 weeks and 2 months after joining the credit union. Valuable knowledge regarding these new members comes from this type of process – and credit unions have an obligation to the future relationship with that new member to both document and disseminate what is learned.
It’s crucial to evaluate your new member onboarding process and consider putting more senior member contact staff into this critical follow-up role. More importantly, ensure whoever is in that role has world-class training and coaching in both credit union products and in service expectations. The staff person with a higher level of competence and confidence in the credit union’s products should also be able to provide critical links to areas that can resolve issues the member may raise during the follow up process.
It’s also important to build documentation and information dissemination into the onboarding process. By recognizing patterns in comments received from members, your credit union will be able to anticipate member needs and avoid problems. And that can be the difference between building merely satisfied members and truly loyal members.
On that note, why end the onboarding process after two months? At this stage into their relationship with a new financial institution, many members are just beginning to learn the online bill-pay system. They may not have an immediate need for additional services until much later in their financial relationship. Concluding outbound contacts with new members after just two months into the relationship leaves many opportunities on the table.
For optimal success with your onboarding approach, create a transition plan between the member contact staff conducting the new member calls and your marketing department. By building a smooth transition between these two teams, the relationship built over the first two months will continue to grow. Expanding the relationship rather than concluding it at the two-month milestone will allow the credit union to build on knowledge gained during those critical early months.
Credit unions who understand the importance of onboarding new members effectively and transitioning the new members into their existing marketing stream will create a base of members who experience what was promised on Bank Transfer Day – lower rates and better service.