For any business, trust is key for retaining customers and attracting new ones. For credit unions, establishing trust is even more important because you are dealing with very sensitive issues—their money and their future. And we’re not just talking about convincing members to entrust us with their deposits in share draft or savings accounts. We ask our members to look to us for everything from financial planning and wealth management to lending to insurance related solutions, all of which drive revenue.
But building a trusted advisor relationship with your members on all things financial is easier said than done. Luckily, credit unions have a head start when compared to banks, not having to dig ourselves out of a ‘trust black hole.’
Many aspects of the credit union business model and brand just naturally lend themselves to building trust—putting members first, our service mentality, and so on. There is always room for improvement, though, so how would a credit approach building an even greater level of trust with their members?
A recent article from Deluxe, NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Check Printing, Online Check Ordering, Check Fraud Prevention, Member Loyalty Solutions, offers five practical behavior-based exercises for building trust. The article also includes step-by-step instructions to prepare for and lead the team building exercises.
The five behaviors highlighted in the article are:
1) Being authentic—Genuine, real
Make sure that every part of your credit union is authentic. Are all of your marketing materials up to date? You want to be sure that any information a member or potential member finds about your credit union is accurate and current. You will also want to make sure that your actual marketing messaging is authentic and appealing. These materials are often the first contact you have with potential members, so it is essential that these materials are trustworthy. Communication is also critical—for example, make sure that all of your front-line employees are aware of any promotional deals you plan on running when you announce them. The last thing that you want is for a member to come into your credit union to take advantage of a promotional deal only to be met with a teller that isn’t aware of it.
2) Being respectful—Polite, interested, caring
This is a no-brainer. You want to make sure that all of your credit union employees are respectful to not only your members, but the rest of your team. It is especially important for employees on the front line—tellers, loan officers, etc.—to be respectful to your members. But don’t just stop there. What sets credit unions apart from other financial institutions is the superior service they offer to members. Make sure that your members feel like your employees really truly care about their finances and their future.
3) Being a good listener—Tuned in, focused on messages
Listening is an under-rated skill. Being a good listener means that you care enough about what others are saying to take the time to really understand what they are saying. So make sure that your staff understands that they need to really listen to members. When they really listen, it enables them to suggest other solutions to members that they might not be aware of, like insurance or other investment vehicles. In addition, voice of the member input is the most effective market research you’ll ever see. Take note of members’ comments and incorporate them into the overall strategy of the credit union. Credit unions should always be striving for a better member experience. To do that, you really have to hear your members out.
4) Being knowledgeable—Perceptive, insightful, having answers
What members trust you with—their finances and their future—are very important to them. You want your staff to be knowledgeable and to come across that way so that you put your members at ease. Is your staff trained on all the products and services you offer so that they can point members in the right direction when they have questions? Does your staff seek to offer suggestions of services members could be taking advantage of to improve their financial situation?
5) Being secure—Safe from unauthorized intrusion
Again, your members trust you with some of their most prized possessions. You want to be sure they feel your credit union is a safe place for them. Is your website secure, or does it at least have a secure section, so that members feel safe logging in to check account balances? Do you ask security information when a member calls to make changes to their account?
Establishing trust with your members and potential members is not only important for your credit union—it is essential. Focusing on these five attributes is a great starting point to do just that.
Post written by Chelsea Sisson, Associate Marketing Manager, NAFCU Services Corp.