Consumer Sentiments And Employee Insights From Third Quarter 2013

Comments from online review sites can help credit unions refine their brand, sales culture, technology, and operations.

 
 

Every quarter, Callahan's Credit Union Strategy & Performance (CUSP) highlights the good, the bad, and the downright ugly from online review sites to help credit unions identify best practices and major no-nos.

Mislead Leadership

Comments

Senior management should investigate further why branch turnover is so high ... they'll be shocked to see what they find. Lots of retaliation happening from middle managers downward. — Branch Manager, Glassdoor.com

The CEO, who tries to run all of the departments, really hurts the culture, morale, and overall quality of the place and its services. — Anonymous Employee, Glassdoor.com

Lesson

Strong leadership is one thing, but too much power concentrated in the hands of a few can ostracize employees, prohibit good ideas from ever seeing daylight, attract unwanted regulator attention, and even quicken institutional failure. Like any good democracy, make sure you establish role clarity and a system of checks and balances at all levels.

Smart Policies

Comments

After my divorce, my credit rating took a real hit even though I had a long history of outstanding credit. They took this into consideration and approved my application with very little hassle. I completed one of those what-interest-rate-you-should-expect-to-pay forms on a financial web site and [the credit union’s] rate was 3/4 of a point less. — nine7one, CreditKarma.com

I informed [the credit union] that I had filed bankruptcy and was trying to find a way to build my credit back up. Before I was discharged, they had already approved me for a credit card. Thank you for helping me get my life back in order. — Raiford2, CreditKarma.com

Lesson

Now is the perfect time to reanalyze risk and pricing strategies to see where you can make the calculated gambles that competitors can’t. Many good members have taken hits from external circumstances and singular events in the past few years. Giving them a second chance is one of the most effective ways to build loyalty as  you help them stabilize and thrive moving forward.

The Best Form Of PR

Comment

  • College Tuition Reimbursement: $5,000 total each year if your degree benefits your career path at [the credit union]. I used this and it really REALLY helped me financially.
  • Profit sharing for those who are hourly. This was basically an extra pay check twice a year ... a huge bonus!
  • There is a preschool/daycare center within HQ. It's cheaper than almost any daycare out there (discounts for employees), top rated, and open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. so it'll fit anyone's schedule.

Keep in mind that a happy employee is the best possible sales person and PR you can have. — Anonymous Employee, Glassdoor.com

Lesson

Success shouldn’t come at the cost of a family life, personal development, or personal sanity. Rather than viewing employeebenefits and the creation of a work/life balance as an added cost, see it as an investment whose returns you'll see in better performance, retention, and service for your members in the long run.

For inspiration on strategies you can implement without breaking your budget, read Workplace 2.0 and Forget Chutes And Ladders, Focus On What Matters.

Cultivate Future Relationships

Comment

They have a nice account/savings program for kids that includes a debit card with the child’s photo. My daughters, who are both under seven, love their accounts and their cards with their pictures. — EmiNesli, CreditKarma.com

Lesson

Think beyond the Gen Y demographic. In as little as five to 10 years, your current child and teen members will be looking for car loans, student loans, and personal loans as well as competitive deposit products to help them continue with reponsible financial behavior. Formulate a plan now, and see it fulfilled tomorrow.

BE Different

Comment

They have intentionally opened branches in low-income neighborhoods with the stated goal of edging out predatory payday lenders and providing fair financial products to people living at or near the poverty level. Can you imagine a for-profit big bank doing something that audacious? — djpolymath, CreditKarma.com

Lesson

It’s not enough to say you are different; you need to behave differently in visible ways that consumers can understand and appreciate. With financial deserts cropping up in underserved neighborhoods around the country, there’s plenty of opportunity to serve areas and memberships no one else will.

The Benefit Of The Doubt

Comments

Because their own website was not clear in how a fee would be charged for making a transfer to an external account, I ended up overdrawing an account by $3.00. I was then charged a NSF fee of $35.00. Because of that one error, [the credit union] also disabled my ability to make any transfers to or from my accounts with external banks. I was told that they would not reconsider the decision for at least six months. Seriously? Over a $3.00 misunderstanding? — Michaela K., Yelp.com

Had an issue with fees again — and this time, they were a lot less courteous in cutting me any slack. It may have been that we moved a large chunk of savings to a different bank, so perhaps they no longer saw me as a customer that was worthy of giving any sort of consideration? — Ted S.,Yelp.com

Lesson

Giving members the benefit of the doubt on an occasional mistake can pay dividends in terms of creating loyalty, especially when a penalty would cause a greater negative consequence. At the same time, make sure it’s a teaching experience and watch out for members trying to game the system, employees who default to certain behaviors to make their jobs easier, and repeat offenders who can impact income levels long term.

Respect Digital Boundaries

Comment

Be prepared to lower your browser's security settings to accommodate their cookies. I have to get a text message sent to my phone every time I want to do any sort of online banking unless I let them set up shop on my computer (if you ever clear your history you have to start all over again.) They are trying to sell you products before they let you log in to your account with NO WAY TO OPT OUT OF OFFERS! You have to receive the offer to remove the offer. My credit union has become a street vendor overnight. — D.R., Yelp.com

Lesson

Irritation is a sure sign you’ve overstepped your digital boundaries, but don’t give up one these strategies just yet. Instead, see through the complaints to what members are really asking for — in this case, options. By experimenting with channel, timing, delivery, and frequency, all filtered through the lens of relevance and choice, you can find a message that resonates with almost anyone.

 
 

March 24, 2014


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