“We were approved without a cosigner for an auto loan through [the credit union]. We were trying to rebuild our credit so this was very important to us. We loved their customer service and loan process so much that we decided to move over another loan from another bank. We now have a checking and savings account with them as well.”
— amberlamb83, CreditKarma.com
“We had previously filed bankruptcy and afterward continued to ruin our credit (not something I am proud of). By all means [the credit union] should not have given us a loan because we were a terrible risk ... but they did. We made sure to make every payment on time and paid the loan off. Since then, we have always been approved for financing without question. They were there in the beginning and an important part of our rise to financial stability.”
— brianandjami, CreditKarma.com
A single interaction — be it applying for a loan, signing up for a service, or just having a conversation — can influence a lifetime of actions. Serving members solely for the specific reason they walked in the door is something any financial institution could do. Taking the time to understand and support a member’s larger plan is what separates the order takers from the dream makers.
“I am not your ‘average’ customer that keeps a few hundred dollars in a bank account … yet they treat me like I am. They nickel and dime you on everything. I am closing all my accounts with them and taking my money elsewhere.”
— Jolene012, CreditKarma.com
Although there are lots of variables that ensure a sustainable give and take between financial institutions and their members, members don’t always know that. For this reason, credit unions may want to adjust their fee structures to accommodate those who contribute in other ways. In the face of a rigid, blanket fee policy, even financially committed members might take their business elsewhere.
“Don’t promote the training staff from among the most successful sales people. Hire people trained in how to teach. Experience in the subject matter isn’t as important as being able to teach the subject matter.”
— Former Employee, Glassdoor.com
Customer service, relationship building, problem solving, public speaking, and compassion are all traits that staff from multiple departments can offer. Look for those when determining whether someone has the potential to be an effective trainer for the institution. If sales plays a large role at the credit union, consider splitting a training role between two coaches, one who personally excels in the material and one who understands how to teach it.
“The representative I worked with had almost zero knowledge regarding an investment property loan. Two days later a ‘mortgage representative’ calls me and leaves a voicemail [where] I can barely understand the callback number. And that’s it! Not another call or email or any follow up?!?! I’ll stick to my regular bank where employees are experienced professionals, not just “member advocates.”
— Ryan S., Yelp.com
Even if the credit union considers a loan to be niche, employees should be able to talk about it or refer interested members to an internal party that does. A shared online knowledge center or product-based phone tree ensures all employees know how to channel business into the right, capable hands.
“[The credit union] is a mixed bag. They provide a really down-home feel. The tellers are really friendly and everyone treats you well. They do what they can to meet your needs and requirements, often going above and beyond the call of duty. [But] their online and mobile banking services are so bad that they would be laughable if they weren’t so horribly inaccurate and their ATM system is a decade behind the times.”
— Matt S., Yelp.com
Even the best customer service can’t compensate for falling out of touch with technology and other points of competition that occur inside and outside the financial services industry. Personalized interaction might have been the sole ingredient to a credit union’s secret sauce a few decades ago — and it’s still important today — but a modern recipe for success calls for multiple elements, including usable, convenient technology.