Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

The Interview Which Began With A Tweet

Originally published on CUInsight.com

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a series of tweets from a credit union member to no one in particular. That I saw it at all amongst the mass of data is odd. But here’s where it gets interesting. The member had an issue with their credit union, Idaho Central Credit Union, and said so in a tweet. They didn’t @ mention the CU or # them, either. So, really, there was no simple way for the credit union to ever know about it. The member was, for all intents and purposes, yelling into an echo chamber.

But the credit union did reply. And thus the origin of this post.

After seeing how the credit union located this member and solved their problem (all through Twitter), I contacted them directly. Unsurprisingly, their Twitter account had a friendly reply, wherein they referred me to the social media/marketing director, Lisa Davis. The following is an interview conducted with her. This credit union, and their team, get social media. I wanted to help them share this strategy with you.

Joe Winn: Good afternoon and thank you for taking the time out for this discussion! As mentioned, I recognized your social media efforts were far beyond the norm when you plucked a member complaint out of thin air (in a sense) for resolution. How did you do that?

Lisa Davis: I work with a couple of systems to grab any mentions of us – monitoring a number of different keywords. We really want to keep tabs on what is being said about us (good and bad) on social platforms, news articles, review sites, etc. We go after negative comments and try our best to turn them around. This is not just great for our members, but is a wonderful way to display how amazing our customer service is to those watching that are potential members.

Winn: I sure was impressed! From their posts, it seemed the member was as well, which is what really matters. What spurred ICCU to develop a social media presence?

Davis: We felt and feel that social media is a great way to connect with members and potential members.

Winn: I agree. How did you inform your members it existed?

Davis: We started off with just a Facebook page and did some fun promotions—contests and whatnot to gain followers. We also had “Like us on Facebook” stamps made up for the tellers to spread the word. Now, we advertise all of our social platforms in the branches on the screens behind the teller line. In addition, we do run Facebook/Instagram ads.

Winn: Engaging the “what’s in it for me” mentality is a good strategy. Of course, I’m sure it wasn’t all roses and massive follower adoption. What missteps (if any) did you encounter as the system grew?

Davis: In the beginning, we weren’t catching as many mentions since people use a variety of different names for us. This is what prompted us to look into monitoring software – which has proven very useful, especially since as we continue to grow, mentions are growing as well.

Winn: So that would be how you caught this member’s complaints to no one in particular. Given a member can ask anything online, is the social media platform effort engaged with all CU departments, or just routed through a specific team?

Davis: I manage all things social, but work with many teams to accomplish our goals. For example, we strive to follow up with anyone who has an issue or a question – whether they request follow up or not. Based on the question or concern, I facilitate these through the appropriate team member and then make sure the person has been contacted and then follow up on our social channels so the public can see that we have addressed it.

Winn: Sharing these resolutions is a smart move. It’s like when a restaurant responds to reviews on Yelp. Always makes me feel like they truly care. How do you feel member support and outreach will grow in this medium? Will it become just another option for members, or will it begin to replace existing platforms (live chat, phone, e-mail, even in-person)?

Davis: I feel that [social media as a member support and outreach medium] will continue to grow. (emphasis mine) As we…grow, we have definitely watched our member interaction through social channels grow. We have some members who use social media as their primary way to connect with us – to inquire about a new product, provide feedback on a recent interaction, or ask a question about their online banking. Social never really shuts down for the day. Although, it is not expected, if I get a question at 10pm on a Saturday night, I’ll answer it. Our members know they can count on us through social to at least get feedback that their question has been passed along to a team member who will get in touch with them shortly after the opening of next business day. I think this makes them feel more connected to us and builds a level of trust and security knowing they have a place to go with a question or concern 24×7. (emphasis mine)

Winn: Well, I’ve definitely gained a level of trust through this discussion. Thank you again for your time and for sharing these insights! I’m certain readers from other credit unions will enjoy learning about your strategies and the passion committed to making it the best it can. This reflects, as you intended, positively on Idaho Central Credit Union.

Follow Idaho Central Credit Union directly through their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages! Visit their site for even more ways to connect.

So, fellow geeks (and honorary geeks)…what did you think of this interview? Want to see more discussions with your peers? Let me know in the comments below!

Image credit: http://freshspace.co/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Twitter-Help.jpg

Summer Doldrums Review

I’m told you cannot wear white after Labor Day (Here’s why). However, I was born in Florida, so your cold-weather rules do not apply. White shirt, beige shorts, and sandals on September 6th! For those of you in the North, winter is…ahem, summer is ending.

With school back in session and vacations completed for a spell, we sit down now for a credit union tradition: Annual Planning. How can we make 2017 an even better year than this one? Breaking records left and right, 2016 is going to be a tough act to follow. What did we learn in these past months to prepare us for the challenge?

Let’s look back at some of the posts you may have missed during the “dog days”:

Wow, that’s a lot for the summer doldrums! How many of those posts did you read? Maybe this is a good time to assess my publishing schedule. My favorite blog (no, it’s not my own) Wait But Why posts every sometimes. Is that too often? Let me know in the comments, and also, which was your favorite?

Thanks for your readership and support for nearly 2 years of geeking out!

Image credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/30000/velka/hat-and-flip-flops-on-the-beach.jpg

“I Want To Do It Myself!”

Update 8/23/16: NCUF recently held a #foundationchat on Twitter about member financial education. Though this was written prior to that discussion, many of the points are shared.

Very short background: My family has a vacation property we rent to guests during their travels. The audio/video components (TV, stereo, DVD, etc.) have detailed instructions for use. Of course, there’s always someone who thinks they know better, and rewires the system to their whims. Shockingly, it then doesn’t work right. Puzzled and embarrassed, they leave it and future guests complain the directions are wrong. Cue regular phone conversations troubleshooting and working around these modifications until I can get back to fix the “updates”.

Stereo systems aren’t the only thing people know better. Financial services, too. Members need your help, but, like most people, want to feel they are doing things themselves. How can you empower them while educating and guiding towards your services?

Think back to learning to ride a bicycle. Did your parents send you off the nearest black diamond cliff with nary a wave? If so, we need to talk, because you have stories to tell.

Typically, there’s a training period…with training wheels to protect against falls. That’s your financial education program. It’s a foolproof service for those who need careful guidance. But some people know how to ride a bicycle; they’re just not too confident. If you were wobbly, and I suggested putting the training wheels back on, how would you respond? Exactly.

Create a tiered education/action program for them as well. It’s no longer about rolling up and down the driveway; these members are riding down the easy trails (ie. taking first steps to managing their funds)! The steps taken now are their own, with suggestions by your team. If your member tips their bike, the credit union is equipped to catch and help get them pedaling again. Each consultation enables the member to go further on their own, with confidence and competency.

Every day I read about how credit unions are the leaders in financial education, that they can serve the role sorely needed in our society. The NCUF promotes it on their home page through grants, youth programs, and more. CU Social Good asks credit unions nationwide to share their stories. It’s all about the strategy! Just as you wouldn’t learn to ride a bike by reading a manual, so to it is with finances; action is what excites.

How are you empowering your members to use the financial stereo system efficiently?

Image credit: http://characters.wikia.com/wiki/File:Lion-king-simba.png

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