Keeping Your Members Happy

Management guru Peter Drucker once said, “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” It is a “law” of any business: It is more cost effective to keep your current customers satisfied than it is to look for new customers to replace them. A recent Ernst and Young global consumer survey found that 25% of customers changed banks in 2011 due to poor levels of personalized service and branch location proximity. While it would be nice to think that most of them switched from banks to credit unions as part of Bank Transfer Day, odds are that plenty went the other direction too.

Successful credit unions will look at all aspects of their operations for opportunities to retain current members by constantly striving to improve their member experience.

The phrase ‘member experience’ is broad and encompasses practically every aspect of a credit union. There are many ways credit unions can improve the member experience. Loyalty programs, financial education, and community involvement are a few things your credit union may want to look at adjusting. There is another area of member experience, however, that is often overlooked even though it comprises a large part of your members’ interaction with your credit union: ATMs.

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Christopher Columbus had his flag, credit unions have video ATMs

Originally published on

Back in Columbus’ day, geographic expansion for Old World nations was a relatively straightforward process. Over the centuries, both countries and credit unions have found growth to be much more complicated.

All of us learned the story of Christopher Columbus back in grade school. Notwithstanding the fact that there were already plenty of people in America at the time of his arrival, under the Old World law of the time all Columbus needed to claim the New World was a flag, and presumably a witness or two, as he reportedly uttered —

“I claim this land in the name of Queen Isabella, and hereby declare that henceforth all lands and territories extending to the furthermost point north and to the furthermost point south shall forevermore be called ‘North and South Columbus,’ and that my name shall be so inscribed on all future maps of this Glorious New World.”    (Christopher Columbus, upon landing in the New World, October 12, 1492).

Fast forward to today, and new “lands and territories” come with more risk, cost and red tape for the nation’s credit unions.

It is not surprising that NCUA chose to ignore the extensive body of historical precedent set by the unbounded imperialism of the 1400s. Instead, NCUA set more stringent requirements in place for what a multiple common bond Federal credit union had to do when it received permission from NCUA to expand into an underserved area.  A credit union has to establish and maintain an “office or facility” in the area [see 12 U.S.C. 1759(c)(2)] within two years, and then to maintain an “office or service facility in the area (see Chartering Manual Chapter 3.III.F)”.

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Successfully Navigating the Converged Channel Era

Guest post written by Eric Markiewicz, Director of Global Services Marketing and Offer Management, NCR Corporation

As the most frequently used touch point for credit union members, the ATM plays a key role in an evolving multichannel environment. ATM functionality has grown beyond simple cash withdrawal and continues to increase. Deposit capture and ad placements at ATMs, for example, add new sources of revenue streams, cross-selling opportunities and other personalized member communications.

In this converged channel environment, failure to achieve the highest levels of reliability, availability and security of the ATM can adversely impact the credit union’s brand. At the same time, credit unions recognize that it is neither feasible nor practical to keep ATM management expertise in-house. More and more credit unions are turning to outsourcing strategies, including specialized managed service providers to provide an innovative service delivery model that provides high availability in a secure fashion.

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The Future of Retail Branch Banking: Waltons or Jetsons?

Guest post written by Bob Tramontano, Vice President of Marketing, NCR Corporation

Branch Transformation is now a ubiquitous term, synonymous with retail banking organizations searching for the golden solution to leave the past 5 years of banking turmoil behind and enter the next decade with a fresh, dynamic and customer-centric branch banking proposition. But do retail bankers really need to re-invent the wheel to create ‘Branch Transformation’?

Accessible modern technology exists which enables customers (your members) to select and enjoy a rich set of self discovery and self service options when dealing with their retail banker (your credit union), enticing and giving the member the power to easily move from impulse to action.

Retail bankers publicly declare that their strategy is to offer the very best banking experience – and yet, recent mystery shopping across the major name banking brands shows neither similarity nor progress, towards this ‘banking nirvana’, revealing only inconsistencies in the banking ‘experience’ as variable as their staff skill levels.

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10 Deadly Social Media Sins

Social media has changed many rules of marketing, which can be especially disconcerting for those of us raised in the ‘traditional’ media world.  Some of the things we have always either accepted as fundamental precepts or taken for granted are no longer true, or maybe more precisely no longer as effective as they used to be. The good thing is that there are always new marketing fundamentals taking the place of those that are fading.

One of those is most certainly social media. The one thing we can count on is that social media (and whatever it evolves into in the future) has to be a permanent feature of a comprehensive marketing plan. There are just too many people in our key target demographics (i.e., the next generation of credit union members) for whom social media is more relevant than traditional media for us not to be in it.

So how can we better understand how to integrate social media into our existing marketing programs? One way is to learn from experts in the field about not only what you should do, but also what you should try really hard not to do.

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