Each issue of Callahan¹s Credit Union Strategy & Performance (CUSP) features a section called Consumer Sentiments And Employee Insights.
Here, we collect real member and employee comments (both positive and negative) from sites like Yelp and Glassdoor to provide an additional perspective on the trials and opportunities present in the cooperative system.
Take a look at the comments below to see where they may overlap with your own institution and discover valuable lessons and best practices that can transform your business model in the process.
"The on-site daycare has been amazing for my family. I never have to worry about my kids and I am always welcome to visit throughout the day." — Current Employee, Glassdoor.com
"This is a very conservatively run organization so you know that it is not going to get run into the ground and leave you without a job." — Current Employee, Glassdoor.com
"The organization openly accepts members of the LGBT community and offers health insurance benefits for domestic partners." — Former Employee, Glassdoor.com
Staff members don’t exist in a nine-to-five bubble. And the financial and family-driven concerns they deal with in their personal lives can have an impact on their professional performance. The more of these behind-the-scenes worries, hassles, and roadblocks you can tackle with them, the more productive and focused their on-the-clock performance will be.
"I was stuck in Thailand and needed emergency loans to get home. I called them collect and they sent the money within a few hours directly to my hotel room. — killercal, CreditKarma.com When I lost my cards in Europe, they replaced them immediately and gave me the names of credit unions in New York where I could get cash (before I got back to Utah)." — ang4duke, CreditKarma.com
"My mom is disabled and all she does is call them and let them know she is coming and they assist her every need." — Elliegrace, CreditKarma.com
Any big financial institution will bend over backwards to accommodate a high-value client, but credit unions should be looking for opportunities to celebrate the everyday individual. Limitations on resources will likely require you to use wisdom regarding time and place, but occasionally rolling out the red carpet and going above and beyond standard practices will leave a positive impression on your members that will last for years.
"[When applying for a loan] I chose the 'to be called back' option and it took them nearly two days to call me back on a sale. Couldn’t imagine what the turnaround rate is on a problem with an account!" — Anonymous, CreditKarma.com
"They need to use their web-based mortgage application process better as they like to have mail sent to them personally, rather than through the web interface." — William C., Yelp.com
Technology may be one of the most common answers for increasing lending efficiency and follow-through, but it cannot be your only answer. Each remote contact point eventually requires a handoff between an automated process/technology and a real person. If not properly managed or supported, these can become chokepoints that effectively negate the value of the channel.
Want more ways to combine the best of both worlds, employees plus technology? Read this quarter's Technology@CU section to discover how offline and online are meeting in surprising ways.
"The training program needs some SERIOUS work. You basically read a few slide shows, take a couple tests, and get thrown to the wolves." — Former Employee, Glassdoor.com
"After speaking to FOUR loan 'specialists,' I received the following boat values: $26,000, $32,000, and $13,000, none of which are remotely close to a fair market value." — Anonymous, CreditKarma.com
Whether you are a teller, a branch manager, a loan officer, or an executive, the balance between cross-training and specialization is a tough target to hit. Many credit unions address both by having dedicated subject matter experts deployed across multiple parts of the organization. But remember, these individuals are only as valuable as they are accessible.
For an in-depth examination of how employee roles are changing in response to shifting business needs, check out this quarter's Ideas In Action.
"Applying for an auto loan, the officer told me I needed to work on my other bills before focusing on getting a car. My financial choices are not your decision, they are mine." — dragsparks, CreditKarma.com
Assumptions in business are always dangerous and if members feel they are being viewed as guilty before proven innocent, they’ll head for the exit. Instead, explain to these individuals where they are now and the options you can provide at this time. Then, follow that up with an explanation of where you feel they could one day be and, if they are interested, how they might get there.
"On our primary mortgage they took our application fee, said everything was fine, and after repeated attempts to find out the status of our loan application (and nearing the time we needed approval in order to purchase our house), they finally told us they did not do home mortgage loans in [this state]. They did not refund the fee." — Anonymous, CreditKarma.com
"The last straw? They piggybacked an insurance policy on the back of the car loan, at $812 PER YEAR, when there was a balance of only $5K left on it. No phone call, no email." — Anonymous, CreditKarma.com
From bad practices carried over from previous employers to tempting incentives, there are plenty of reasons for uninformed staff to just say yes or push product and services regardless of need or the ability of the institution to deliver.
Communicate on your sales-versus-service threshold early and often and enlist the help of other employees to enforce it, or face the business complications, regulatory blowback, and eroded member trust that may follow.
"I have been deployed to Afghanistan for a total of three years and I get support regardless of time of day or night I call in." — Anonymous, CreditKarma.com
"I have been able to open [other] accounts just by chatting with them through the app and emailing back the documents. That is fantastic! (Since I cannot go to the branch during weekdays)." — Ana R., Yelp.com
According to prospect.org, one in five employees work nontraditional hours. An "always on" approach may seem costly, but the constant evolution of remote channels means that call centers and online/mobile support are a viable substitute for many traditional in-person activities.