Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: website (page 1 of 4)

Achievement is a Moving Benchmark

Originally published as feature article in February 2015 issue of student newsletter at my dojo, University Karate Center. Then published on CUInsight.com

Training in martial arts isn’t easy. Same with any other sport or activity. Beginners think, “wow, everyone is so far ahead of me…how could I ever do that?”

As a reader of this blog, you gain valuable insight into my secret life…a martial arts student and instructor. I’ve trained for, let’s just say, a while.

Progress in Life & Training

During my time at the karate school, many students have come through the dojo. Some still train today. Others moved on to different phases (and places) in their life. Most thrilling is welcoming past students back after extended absences due to school, work, or family.

In all of these scenarios, there is a continual challenge of improvement. What do I mean? Well, when you’re doing a thing for a while, you are immersed in it. You gain skills at a nice rate. It feels good.

But then you stop for a long period. “No problem,” you think. “I’ll just get back in the swing of things; I know this stuff!” Except, we all know it’s harder than that.

What you remember as simple isn’t quite so anymore. But you’re committed! You train hard and help regain your previous skills, perhaps even with a deeper understanding. Good for you!

Sure, these are the seeds of a longer discussion, but today I want to focus on what I call the moving benchmark.

As You Improve, So Do Others

The benchmark challenge emerges for individuals both new and long-term.

One recent karateka, as students of martial arts are referred, asked a great question a few months into their training:

“Sensei, how can I become as skilled as the high ranking instructors here? Every time I gain a new insight, they show me another way in which I’m just a beginner.”

Sound familiar? Hint: This isn’t solely about karate.

As you get better, at anything, and you are (really!), those with more experience are as well. You are working towards a moving benchmark. While you train and learn, your teachers get better, too.

Avid readers know what happens now. It’s time to relate to credit unions!

Improvements & Your Credit Union

Paper Notebook with Graph and ChartThat’s a mighty fine marketing strategy you’ve got there. As is your website; the team should be proud. And your member referral program is stellar!

Of course, yours is not the only credit union working on making each area better. Another looks to the same improvements, yet has an additional 25 years upon which to build.

As we tell our students at our dojo:

“It’s not about how long it took to finally start training. You started. And you’re here now. That’s what matters.”

Emulate the Experts

Even Olympic champions look up to someone. It’s how we all work together to improve.

Don’t be discouraged if the expert looks like an expert. That’s literally the point!

Continuous Growth

Embrace our karate school ideals of continuous growth and replicate what works.

We also encourage learning from those both junior and senior to you. Just because they’re a white belt doesn’t mean a Black Belt can’t learn from them!

Finance Flowchart with Laptop on DeskFor you, that means looking to your competition, whether that’s a fellow credit union or regional/national banks. Then remember you’re not competing with credit unions! You can all learn together!

In the martial arts, we use the opponent’s strength to our own advantage.

While sweeping your competition onto the mat may be an untenable act, observe their “movements” (actions, strategies, etc.) and discuss internally how a similar approach might work within your own institution.

The road to Black Belt is a long and challenging one. Also, it never ends. Who says it’s any different for credit union success?

My Ultimate Guide To Helping Members In Distress (Audio Post)

Update: The Resolution, and Some Great Lessons

Our hosting provider provided the damaged files (thus, that development site is back) and admitted fault in the issue. Below is a 2nd audio post where I show the other side of customer service and explain what in the world happened (even if you’re not a techie, it’s still pretty wild). Super short summary: It was the polar opposite of that first, critical interaction. And they managed to not blame me the whole time!

Listen while I share the rest of the tale. With some great customer service examples! Note, it goes for 5 minutes.

Original post: Listen First

When things go wrong with computers, they always seem to go big. I bet you have some repressed memories of digital challenges. Given I have had a computer on my desk since I was 5, there are many I definitely blocked out by now.

But this post isn’t about the computer portion. It’s about the service portion. Namely, how to do it right, by experiencing it done wrong. Really, really, wrong.

The audio is about 4:30, and I get that’s a bit long, but it’s worth the listen. If you’re in a crunch, the advice comes in at around 3:30. You’re missing lots of great content, but I want to respect your time!

I would tell the story here, but since it’s sharing advice on how to deal with customers over the phone, hearing for yourself is the best path.

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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