Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: simplicity

Your Credit Union Members Want Simple

I Love Choices

I’m the kind of person who rotates between five brands of orange juice (I live in Florida and this is a perfectly normal thing here).

As a tech geek, I also dive into Settings menus on all products to see what I can personalize, edit, or tweak.

Even Choice-Aholics Want A Clear Decision

But even for me, a choice-aholic, there are things I’d rather be decided ahead of time. If I plug it into the wall, I want it to be UL listed. Don’t give me the choice of 6 highly similar products with varying degrees of regulatory approval, safety certifications, or otherwise.

Offer one. One “just right” option.

Variety comes in actual aspects of the product or service. Let the provider whittle down the “backend” complexity. That’s why I’d buy from them, because they did the work so I don’t need to.

Which brings us to you. The smarter choice, the only decision your member should have to make.

Oh Boy! A New Member!

Wonderful, you’ve welcomed a new member to your credit union family. Let’s help them get set up with a checking and savings account, talk about refinancing loans, and perhaps see if a credit card makes sense (use that credit pull to position the conversation around rewards, interest rate, or balance transfer).

Shouldn’t be too hard. That’s only 4 things, and, more than likely, 3 are pertinent to the member. So let’s get that checking account opened first, because it can help make you their PFI. You have more than one? Ok, no problem, we’ll help them decide.

So, should they go with Advantage Checking, Premium Checking, VIP Checking, Rewards Checking, Rewards Plus Checking, Free Checking, Senior Checking, Youth Checking, or…wait, there’s more?

Just like those famous droids, “these aren’t the choices you’re looking for.”

It’s checking. Not choosing your preferred model of F-150 (if you aren’t aware, there’s oodles of options). You only need one. Maybe two. That’s it. If your board insists upon the old and boring free checking, keep it.

Providing Immense Value

You’re about value. So make your checking be something your members smile about having (and even paying for…yeah, seriously). Add a clear monthly fee Premium Checking with more benefits than your members can believe.

Since you’re getting a small monthly fee, offer everything:

  • Dividends (though low, offer higher rates up to a certain dollar amount at very low cost and high perceived value)
  • Rewards on debit transactions
  • All your standard services
  • Plus, value-adds like ID theft monitoring, mobile phone insurance, and more
  • Budget-conscious members, whether young, rebuilding credit, or some other life journey, always have the option of your free checking.

Basic and free or Premium and small fee. Simple.

When’s Too Many Too Many?

Doors Along Wall

That’s a lot of doors. I mean choices. Maybe I’ll just wait here.

Some credit unions have 5 or more checking accounts. That’s. Too. Many. And then you can become eligible for other benefits through achieving a series of Reward Levels. These are based on the depth of a member’s relationship.

Maybe it means lower loan rates or higher dividends. Sometimes it adds ATM fee reimbursement, or other value-adds. I’ve written about this before.

Once we’ve made it through checking, maybe the conversation migrates to an auto loan. How many LOS platforms do you have? Exactly. One. Because more would be unmanageably complicated.

Yet, how many “car resources” do you offer? Find one which offers the best overall experience for your members, and you’re done.

It’s A Trust Thing

Your members joined (and continue to bank with you) because they trust you with their money. That’s saying something. Believe me, if you explain that the credit union has determined “so-and-so” is your preferred option for members, they won’t question it.

Cat and Dog Laying TogetherThey trust you’ve done the work to select only the best solutions. They could search Google. And, most likely, they already did. Then, they asked you.

Your member just wants a place to easily manage their finances! Keep it simple. Then you can focus on improving your members’ lives. Which should be your driving force in every decision.

Disclosure: My company partners with a firm which offers a comprehensive checking solution. It’s in hundreds of CUs and is loved by staff and members. My company also offers a Car Buying platform for CUs. Knowing when members are in the market saves everyone time and money. 

The CU That Could Be

Originally published on CUInsight.

Think of all the greatest parts of your credit union. You know, the things which stick out in comparison to the entire industry. If none come to mind, look to others you have recognized for their leadership. Now go back and immediately implement at least one of those innovative concepts.

I could actually end this post right here and have still provided some useful information. But I’m all about exceeding expectations, not barely meeting them.

The reason I asked about a great idea was to begin building a picture. One which goes beyond any single institution. You see, there’s a credit union which doesn’t yet exist. In the future, it may never be. But it still thrives in the hearts and minds of a lot of people. It’s the credit union that could be.

What do I mean? It is the product of every amazing member service strategy, financial solution, loan growth effort, and much more. To quote one of my favorite films, it’s the “best of the best of the best, sir!” Only, banking services, not potential alien-policing agents. They’re clearly similar.

Imagine if every hurdle to improvement at your credit union could be removed. No regulations slowing new product introductions. No board overstepping their role to dictate day-to-day activities (most are great, but I’ve run into some who just stifle all forward movement). No middle management seeking credit or blame for some effort. Just pure action of the most innovative ideas, using the latest technology, supported by a 100% all-in team.

That’s what this series will be. I want to look at a variety of areas of traditional credit union operations and imagine what the best version of that would look like.

Think of it as a case study. Of a credit union which could be.

Leave The Puzzles to Zelda

Originally published on CUInsight.com

When I was growing up, I enjoyed video games. It didn’t hurt that I am part of that generation who experienced the “golden years” of console gaming. My first system was an Atari, then a NES, Sega Genesis, and onward. But there was one game franchise which kept me on a certain company’s systems: The Legend of Zelda.

No game before (and few since) presented adventure, humor, and puzzle-solving thought in a single package. Plus, the storyline was always solid. If it said Legend of Zelda, you wanted to keep playing, and not just to the end, but to completion, where all side-adventures were done as well.

Puzzles for Link are good. Puzzles for your members are not.

Your credit union is not Hyrule, and the member benefits chart should not read as a set of clues to the Triforce. No joke: One of our clients has a member reward structure based on their level of involvement. That’s fine; offer more to your most profitable/engaged members. However, it is far too complicated, with 4 levels ranging from Bronze to Diamond. What changes can you expect from each level? There are 11 areas which vary, plus another 10 benefits which are available to all members. However, of these 10, 2 of them, despite being shown in a chart as available to all members, are actually an extra fee on certain account setups.

Confused yet?

I get why credit unions want to offer membership levels. A lot of the benefits you offer cost money, and why pay to provide them to members who have hardly any relationship with the institution? My concern is when you have so many variables, it’s hard for a member to keep track. Oh, did I mention that this credit union offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements for all new members, for the first 6 months?

Such a confusing structure lays the groundwork for member issues. “What do you mean I pay a fee? I never did before!” “Yes, but since you are now a member for more than 6 months, or your total balance fell below $5,000, or you’ve paid off your auto loan, you are now eligible for these new fees.”

Aim for simple. In all aspects of your institution. Your members and your staff will thank you.

“So that’s it? All that buildup with Link, Zelda, and references to the game series, and now you’re done?” Ah ha! You got me. This is part 1. Part 2 will discuss how you can use the best ideas from games to excite your members into furthering the relationship.

Image credit: http://images.cryhavok.org/d/3385-2/its-dangerous-to-go-alone-take-this.jpg

© 2019 Credit Union Geek

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑