Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: goals (page 1 of 4)

Honest Staff & Honest CU Systems

I’m not the only one helping ensure your processes are sound.  An awesome article from The Financial Brand delves into the topic.  It’s worth the few minutes to read through and understand. Really, it is a great article.

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Are you honest? At home? At work? In your credit union’s programs?

Ah, got you on the last one. How can CU programs be honest? If you deliver what you advertise, isn’t that honest enough?

Obviously, your products and services should be truthful, but having policies and systems “act” honest is more difficult a concept.

Scenario

Imagine this not-so-made-up scenario. You have internet service that has been canceled, so, the final bill is inbound shortly. Upon receipt, you find it is quite incorrect in its amount, so a call is in order to the customer care number.

Hundred Dollar Bill Puzzle

After too many menus, recordings, and hold times (those are different topics altogether), a representative comes on the line to assist you with your problem. The call goes great!

The representative notices the error, punches in some keys, explains how it is resolved, and that you should be seeing results shortly. They even put a notation in your account so if you have to call again, someone else will see!

Honest. Clean. They made a mistake, unfortunately (which should never have happened), but they acted to resolve it without problem.

Solving a Problem Means Solving a Problem

Fast-forward a month. In the mail (yes, paper), you receive an envelope from the internet service provider. Thinking it is the revised final bill, you open it, only to find it is actually a past-due notice with the unadjusted amount!

White Mailbox
This is a mailbox. It’s like that envelope icon on your phone.

Another call, and the number you are told to call only works for accounts in another state. Ok, you’re transferred, more menus, more recordings, and finally…another representative!

They then explain that all is well, the account is notated properly (thanks previous representative!), but the system automatically sends out the notices no matter what.

Let me repeat that: The system sends out the notices…No. Matter. What.

Processes Matter

You can have the greatest employees, most awesome products, and unparalleled reliability. But the moment something goes wrong (it eventually will), your carefully-automated process exasperates the issue.

Flowchart

So the message? Make your systems as honest as your team. Take the time to ensure nothing is automatically sent to members that may contradict what they have been promised.

Maintain a degree of control so you can intervene if necessary.

Automation is incredible. And machine learning/AI opens up paths that you couldn’t imagine a decade ago. Just keep it all in line with your institution’s  values and goals.

I’ll be honest…this post is adapted from a previous blog of our parent company, GreenProfit Solutions.  Since I wrote the last one, too, I think permissions are ok. 🙂

The Difference Between Succeeding and Trying

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a Tony Robbins event.  If your mental picture is a large gathering of people looking to become more positive through “ra ra” activities, then you’re half right.

It is an enormous group of committed individuals. At a typical event, there are over 4,000 people in attendance. Over the course of 4 days, you participate in ways only understood after doing them, and leave a changed person.

It’s not motivational speaking, it’s “change your state to change yourself.”

Do You Want Or Need?

One of the great take-home messages I grasped was this: If you want something, you might eventually make it happen, if convenient.  If you need something, you will do anything and everything in your power to make it happen.

To quote River Tam, “No power in the ‘verse can stop me.” An example which resonated with me was this: How often do you hear about people seeking weight loss? “I’ve just got to lose a few more pounds.”

We’re going to get dark for a moment, not Reaver dark, but Sopranos dark. If I told you that you need to lose 10 pounds by tomorrow, what would you do? Sure, it’s not preferable, at all, but you could slice off a leg and achieve the goal.

Achieving your goals should not be about causing yourself irreparable damage, but the idea is potent.  When there’s a need, there is a way, even if it is extreme.

Goals At Your Credit Union

How do you approach goals in your credit union (or personal life)?  Are they wants or needs? A want can be put aside as more important things arise. A want does not create a sense of certainty within you. A want is just that, something that would be nice to have.

Look at your goals as needs. Become absolutely certain they will be achieved. Set a timeframe within which they will be done. Take action NOW, even if it is a small step.

Remember, a need is like air. You can’t do without. It will happen, you already know.

It’s just time to show everyone else.

Image modified from amazing series/film Firefly/Serenity.

Trusted Partners

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Depending on the audience, I have a variety of secret lives. Here, my secret life is that of a credit union marketing partner. When working with CUs, I’m a secret ninja and industry blogger.

Now you’re wondering about the ninja part.

As a strategic partner, it is in everyone’s best interests to work closely together. A credit union is never “just another client”, whereas, we strive to never be “just another vendor”. Some of our relationship partners are real friends, and discussions can evolve beyond weather and sports into family. We are in it for the long term to help every partner (and individual staff/member) exceed their goals.

This is often not how we are received.

We understand. All of us have been in a business relationship that felt one-sided up-front or started out great, then fell apart over time. How can we know which to trust and which to cast away? Better off just keeping them all on a tenuous balance: Work together, but don’t share enough to give them any “power” over you. Ensure the contract protects you, then protect your members just the same.

Thing is, I can’t disagree with anything in the previous paragraph. Ensuring every member’s safety, privacy, and satisfaction is top priority, and nothing should ever compromise this approach. Yet your partners are how you expand member offerings, and any barriers you place can affect the member experience. Where’s the balance?

As part of our offerings, we assist credit unions to place landing pages on their sites linking to a partner portal for their members. The linked site is owned by a third-party, but contractually covered for privacy, due diligence…you name it. Despite this, some credit unions still pop up large warnings when navigating to the pages; we call them speed bumps. Not a great way to inspire confidence for your members.

None are doing this out of spite. All believe it is a requirement from NCUA, and their own counsel or examiner reiterates this idea. Hey, when the regulator says to do something, you don’t argue!

Trouble is, this is all based on a non-binding piece of guidance from 2003 (PDF). Remember the web back then? We all had sparkling unicorns and weather banners adorning our sites. Because, Internet! Given these were coming from unrelated third-parties, it made sense to inform your members of potential risks navigating there. Today, portals are custom sites designed specifically for the institution, with specifications laid bare in lengthy contracts. If that isn’t a trusted site, I don’t know what is. Even more odd, many credit unions have warnings when clicking the NCUA icon…or their loan application!

Each speed bump warning may seem innocuous, but they create falloff in member clicks, and generate suspicion in your members. “If my credit union doesn’t trust them, why should I?” It’s a valid question.

Whenever you engage in a partnership or contractual agreement, I believe it should be to each other’s benefit. Both parties gain equally and with mutual respect. If you ever feel that is not the case, it’s probably not a great partnership. Putting barriers in the way of these efforts tilts the balance of trust. If your MSRs were recommending a service, they wouldn’t say, “We have this great program, and it would be perfect for you, but be careful, since we don’t really trust them with any of your information.”

Why do it online?

Disclosure: Credit unions working closer with their partners may include my company. Therefore, I may benefit financially from their changes.

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