“That’s not true just for us, that’s industry-wide,” the CCU digital marketing manager says. “If people take the time to post an online review, it’s typically because they’re pretty upset. We built this program to help combat that.”
Shriey says he receives 25 to 40 submissions a month and a couple of members respond each month with a positive review. He’d like to see more responses and is looking for more submissions from his colleagues to make that happen.
Review site terms of service typically forbid offering incentives to consumers to post positive reviews. So, CCU incents its staff instead.
Personal and professional service are highlighted by members who posted positive reviews after they received 5 Star Difference emails.
The 5 Star Difference program is completely voluntary, and all CCU employees are eligible. Those who submit at least two forms a month are placed in a drawing to win one of five $20 gift cards. Whether a member ultimately leaves a review doesn’t matter. It’s the submissions that do.
Consumers Credit Union has a distinct logo to internally promote the 5 Star Difference program.
“It’s a nice, non-salesy way to engage with members, by sending them an email and asking for a favor,” Shriey says.
Tactics for increasing submissions and subsequently more good reviews going forward, Shriey says, might include larger incentives, more staff communication, and team competitions. But it won’t include more emails to members.
“We don’t want to get pushy with them,” the digital marketing manager says.
CCU staff uses a standard form to submit names for the credit union's 5-Star Difference program. Members identified by staff as potential promoters receive an email encouraging them to post a positive review. Download the 5-Star Form and the Email Template.
In addition to sending the emails, Shriey keeps up with the rules at multiple review sites and checked in with his Yelp account representative before launching the program in January.
“She just wanted to make sure we weren’t offering any incentives,” Shriey says. “We don’t. And it’s not worth it to do that anyway.”
Shriey also vets each submission, checking to ensure it was a positive interaction with a member, not an attorney or someone else with power of attorney.
“I read them all but I don’t blindly accept them all,” he says.
Once he’s satisfied it’s a good submission, he selects a review site to specifically link to in the email’s call to action. He primarily sends member respondents to Yelp or Google but occasionally sends them to Credit Karma and Lending Tree’s DepositAccounts.com.
5 Star Difference submissions cover a range of interactions, from quick work on loans to financial makeovers. Here are a few excerpts:
“Member is considering bringing everything to CCU. Very happy that we were able give him a ‘financial makeover’.”
“Member was working with a loan officer that was out of the office. He wanted to close on his loan by the end of the day. I stayed after work to open his account and to finish his loan. Afterwards I sent him a thank you email, and he responded: ‘Thank you again. You provided a great customer experience.’”
“Member had a total loss on a new loan with us. I worked with him for a month and he was pleased that I helped him through the process. He is now driving a new Tesla.”
Shriey says the 5 Star Difference program took two to three months from concept to launch. The program name was a team effort, and he created the logo, email template, and submission form. All in all, the program is a reasonable lift for the reward.
“The biggest legwork is checking out the submissions and then moving them to the email program to kick out to the member,” Shriey says.
The credit union has 11 branches, including at its headquarters, so that means 22 review pages to keep up with on Google and Yelp alone. And, CCU also maintains a Facebook page.
“People trust these review sites, especially those that are familiar to them,” Shriey says. “It’s important to have a presence there, respond to positive and negative feedback, and work to boost our scores.”
The 5 Star Difference program also encourages employee engagement while fitting neatly into CCU’s overall member engagement strategy, says Jennifer Fournier, the credit union’s chief marketing officer.
“These sites are the first thing people look at when they’re researching anything, from a dry cleaner to a restaurant to a financial institution,” Fournier says. “Internally, most employees are pretty happy to be a part of it. The complaints we do see online are few and far between compared to the compliments we hear from members. This a great way to reinforce that message.”
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