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This sponsored content article is provided to the credit union community for shared insights and knowledge from a recognized solutions provider in the industry. Please note that the views and opinions offered here do not reflect those of Callahan & Associates, and Callahan does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer.

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May 31, 2004


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Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:14 PM

If you do not ask for the member's business, the banks will!

Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:14 PM

This is an issue we're struggling with in our organization. We've been working on this transition for a few years now. Our employees fit the profile described and are more than happy to help a member and are hungry for ideas about how to do that. The word "sales" stops them dead in their tracks. I like the concept of concierge.

Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:06 PM

We incorporate our Concierge position into our sales and service culture. It's a great place to make that first informed, professional impression.

Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:06 PM

I am with everyone else. We are trying w/difficulty getting to this point. If anyone has any suggestions or training techniques I would appreciate hearing from you. tina@nhfcu.org

Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:06 PM

I think the word "Sell" needs to be replaced with "Educate". If the credit union employee believes in the product (understands what it does for the member/credit union), they will be more inclined to educate the member on it (not sell it). In this way the credit union ensures that their employees understand the product(s)and the benefits to the member. The member is educated about each product available to them so they in turn can make an Educated decision on whether it will fit their needs. As the article says, not everyone can sell, but everyone can Educate and provide the necessary service to help the member understand what the product is all about.

Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:06 PM

I must agree with the individual(s) who disagree with this article. Having been a business developer for a community-chartered credit union, I can tell you, if you don't "sell" your products, banks, thrifts, and other credit unions will sell them for you. While education is a tremendous tool in preparing members to "think" about signing up with a product or service, without the mindset of selling, you've really missed the point. Banks, if they really wanted to, would educate every last person on their products or services or how they are far superior than other banks. People are not stupid. I truly believe the consumer or post dot-com bust consumer is more concerned with true value rather than a lesson on how and why their savings work. When I think of "concierge" or the term "service", I feel like driving up to the gas pump and yelling "service". Service, although an excellent method in passive selling, is great, but for other types of business, in my opinion. Those of us within the credit union industry, know well that banks aggressively sell everything from their no frills savings, to all types of checking, even non-profit joint marketing to "sell"(that word again) financial products. I couldn't agree more with the individual who responded to this article by saying without "sales", you foster a no-pressure environment for tellers or those who are in direct contact with members. Bottom line: Credit unions, whether they like to admit it or not, are in the business to make money. "Sell" or your credit union will be sold.

Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:06 PM

I agree with the person that made the comment "if you don't ask for the member's business, the banks will." The fact of the matter is that the banks have a formula that works and for some reason credit unions are in denial and try every which way to avoid it. "Sales" The formula: Set expectations, inspect performance, and reward/accountability. This "Concierge Culture" is just another "sale to credit unions" on an idea that once again avoids the topic of sales. That you can train staff to be a "concierge" -- when we can't even begin a successful sales culture! Seriously, how many people can be trained to be a good concierge? Sure credit union employees say they want to better service members, but without "sales" pressure/reward they enter into a day after day routine comfort zone with no sense of accountability. Say the word "sell" or "sales" and there goes the comfort zone. I feel the lack of success in developing credit union sales/service culture is the lack of accountability. The credit union value is there and I think that is what many CEO's confuse with service. People join credit unions because they get better products. Ironically we are supposed to be service oriented. Somewhere the lines have gotten fuzzy. Banks realized this and up their products. Now the score is all tied!! It is up to credit unions to get more aggresive and really stand up for there existence! The best way to overcome a fear is to face it. Credit Unions need to teach sales!!

Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:06 PM

Great information that makes it easy for employees to understand and hopefully can make the job of "selling" more easily accepted since we really are providing a service!

Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:06 PM

Very interesting slant to "selling" while still providing additional service(s) to members. The previous commentary with the "1" rating misses the point of this article. Concierge culture is still sales, but from a unique viewpoint. The belief is more sales can be made through a sincere discovery of members'needs then filling them.

Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:06 PM

Makes a world of sense. Now to find the right person(s) to fit mold.

Anonymous

7/26/2012 04:06 PM

We know from experience that people who meet a "great" customer service profile can sell in this "Concierge" style. The tool of choice for many credit unions is the "Cuctomer Service Perspective". It just maks sense to hire and manage credit union employees to this new way of thinking.

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