Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: expectations (page 1 of 2)

Squeaky Wheels Getting The Grease

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Change is tough. And not just for your own team. Your members get comfortable with a product, process, or service, too. Even if it has some obvious issues. Here’s the wildest thing: When you improve, some will hate it. Because comfort and familiarity is easier than change.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should never look to change anything. Evolution is a natural part of your operations. There will just be members (and staff/board members) who don’t like it. Solicit their input and apply improvements where necessary. You did ask what everyone thought first, right? If the project threw a lot of people outside their comfort zone, it’s going to be a long haul to get it right for most. But not all. You can’t satisfy everyone. If you are confident the change is a necessary and beneficial step for the institution, then that’s the end of the story.

You will receive complaints. And that stinks. Address those you can. The rest? They might be different members for a different credit union. We’ve worked with credit unions where they feared potential member complaints (by their admission, less than 1/100th of a percent) enough to abandon great improvements. Improvements which would have brought them in significant revenue, but, more importantly, helped their members in numerous ways. In their case, it wasn’t even squeaky wheels getting the grease. It was the thought of a squeaky wheel convincing them to avoid driving.

As a partner with many credit unions, I understand how important it is to build and maintain relationships. That’s the core of our success and of yours. Earning the trust of your members is paramount. It’s also essential to realize when you might be sacrificing the needs of the many, or the few, for the one. (I had to. I’m sorry. Mr. Nimoy, you’re still missed.)

If you roll out a program to your membership and 0.001% complains, while 95% express high satisfaction, you work with that small group, then continue forward.

Just keep some WD-40 on hand.

Image credit: http://www.fluentu.com/blog/english/useful-english-proverbs/

Different Credit Unions For Different Members

“Our members are different” might actually be true.

However, it’s for different reasons than cited. Most people react similarly to good marketing and smooth user interface design. They may not recognize why, but there’s a reason Google looks nearly the same as it did a decade ago.

However, individual credit unions may have a focus which makes them a better choice (pun intended) for certain members. While one member may be looking for the lowest credit card interest rates, another wants the highest rewards. During a recent visit to a number of clients in the Philadelphia area, I encountered this variance. While we were talking about goals and strategy, one credit union waved off anything below “C” paper for auto lending. Though they would work with members on individual exceptions (mainly to “look beyond the number”), it wasn’t their focus. The next day, I visited a credit union who went well into the low 500s for auto loans. “Our D paper is most other CU’s F- paper!” they exclaimed. The risk management was designed to accommodate these loans and they reaped the benefits of higher interest rates. This credit union felt that it was important to serve members who would otherwise be stuck in “Buy Here, Pay Here” financing.

What type of credit union are you? Is adopting a public face with impressive main office architecture, driving CU-branded cars around town, and sponsoring events your “thing”? Or, do you operate with a more low-key approach, relying on your existing members to spread the word and passing on those marketing dollars in the form of lower rates or greater dividends?

I’ve been to a lot of credit unions in the past few months. From a roadside office to a mountain compound to a 1700s governor’s mansion, the variety is incredible. I’d wager the variety of members served was equally so.

Is there a “correct” balance? Yes, one which allows your credit union to serve your current and target members to their highest satisfaction. This may mean offering numerous options for every service (though the Paradox of Choice normally precludes it…for much more on the concept, continue here or my post), focusing on rewards programs (make it a game!), or presenting “credit building” solutions. It’s all about your members. And you’ll get it wrong. So you tweak your strategy, ask your membership (remember the note cards?), and get better in the future.

Isn’t that, in and of itself, a way of being different?

Image credit: https://sorryabouthatbud.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/mm-edited.jpg

Be Plex for Your Members

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Each time it works, I feel like Merlin.

I’m talking, of course, about Plex. Consider it a software platform made of pixie dust, magic, and a bit of alien technology. Or just years of dedicated effort from a small team of developers.

“What is Plex?” you ask. Great question. Plex lets you access your digital library on any device, anywhere on Earth (or on the International Space Station, since they have internet now, too), at any time, with no additional effort. It also will add all appropriate information onto your movies, music, TV shows that help sort and access (like episode descriptions, air dates, ratings, etc.). As a long-time user, I’ve watched it grow from a buggy computer program into a must-have feature on any set-top accessory. Pulling up shows and movies within the home is neat enough, but the crowning achievement was when I was waiting for my flight in LAX. I pulled out my phone, opened the Plex app, and it immediately connected to my computer at home. Then, I proceeded to watch one of my movies, 2,000 miles away, as if it were saved within the device. Ask your IT person how many steps of awesome needed to occur for that to work.

Be Plex for your members. No, I’m not suggesting hosting your credit union’s new reality TV series on it, rather, follow their mission: Empower your members to access all services no matter where they are or what device they use. Further, like Plex recognizes a movie and adds all pertinent information, consolidate and organize the member’s relationship as such. A list of transactions and services held is fine, but what about more? If a member doesn’t have a credit card with you, what does your system display? Imagine a dashboard that can adapt to all screen types/sizes and has all of your potential services included. However, it will highlight and feature only those the member holds, to keep the experience focused. Of course, this enables tailored marketing based on their activity. What would help them most based on their current habits?

Before you go rushing out to replace your internal systems, remember, being Plex for your members isn’t about fad desires (they’ve been working on the software for many years). I could be wrong about the dashboard approach. The key is being adaptable. Just because Virtual Reality gear seems awesome doesn’t mean you need an Oculus Rift app for your credit union…yet. Feel free to swap VR for anything else your board or executives claim is essential today.

Even from this geek, at the end of the day, a great experience which fulfills my expectations is golden. Whether I want to watch an episode of my favorite show or check that last swipe on my card, tapping it and watching is all I need.

Image credit: clipshrine.com

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