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Improve Your Credit Union’s Sales Efforts in One Minute

If you go to your state fair, or to any trade show, you’ll find booths with people hawking their wares. You’ll also inevitably find one of the vendors asking for just one minute of your time. You’ve probably never pondered why they would ask for just one minute of your time when they clearly will require more to shell their goods. I would submit to you that it is because even in an era where time seems to be in short supply, typically a person views one minute as a marginal cost. Once you’ve given up your minute is when the value chain must begin. The salesperson must at this point provide value within that one minute in order for you to grant them more of your valuable time. Let’s say in this instance the value is conveyed in this one minute. Let’s make a practical yet hypothetical dialog of this playing out. ‘You’ are you. ‘Vendor’ is the trade show salesperson.

Vendor: Can I have just one minute of your time?

You: Sure.

Vendor: Have you ever noticed how easy your smartphone screen fills with smudges, providing glare or making it unsightly and sometimes difficult to see the full clarity of the device?

You: Yep.

Vendor: It’s also quite difficult to remove the smudges with a simple cloth, and if you have a special cloth for this, of course you’d have to carry it on you at all times. I have a product that you apply once to your screen and will never have smudges again. Would you appreciate it if your smartphone screen never smudged, ever?

You: Of course.

Vendor: May I now have more of your time to show you a product that with just one simple application, will keep your smartphone screen from ever smudging again?

You: What is the product?

In the above scenario, you are asked for more of your time, however not until the vendor provides a potential value for you. You are giving more of your time to learn about the product to which you may now purchase. We are arriving at the point of a sale, by only asking for one minute. One minute, something many of us can afford. As a credit union, one minute is something many of your members and potential members can afford. At your credit union, you offer generally the same loan and deposit products as your competitors. You offer generally the same methods for buyers (members/non-members), to start the inquiry process which is needed to lead to the sale such as phone, lobbies, and full online applications. This does not allow for much differentiation with your credit union. Let’s agree on a couple of things.

1. Perception is reality for consumers.
2. Differentiation can create a path for success.

Imagine if your credit union was the only financial institution in your market offering vehicle loans. You would have a clear competitive advantage. Now imagine if you could create the perception that it only takes one minute of a consumer’s time to get a loan? CU Ratecheck is about creating more inquiries for your credit union’s products with just one minute of your members/non-members time. As a credit union, you ask for just one minute of their time. They in turn give it to you as it is a simple investment. In return you create value in the form of a potential product such a vehicle loan that will either purchase their desired car or save them on their current one via refinancing. This value will then allow you to ask for more of their time to deliver the product.

Differentiation through perception.
Perception equals relevancy.
Relevancy equals growth, irrelevancy can lead to insolvency.

As a credit union, applications are valuable. However, I challenge you to think that inquiries (no matter how incomplete) are sales opportunities. As a credit union, you must be in the retail business. Retail requires sales opportunities. Perhaps, one minute is all that is needed to create such opportunities.

Solving Members Questions/Comments Efficiently

At Community Choice Credit Union (CCCU) in Des Moines, Iowa, a $425 million asset shop, the phones seemed to ring off the hook. A slow dissection began to determine what was pushing such a high volume of calls. Hindsight as always being 20/20, looking to the CU’s website for answers should have been high on the list. Once analyzed, it was realized that one of the top visited pages was the “Contact Us” page. At closer examination of that page, it became evident that members were not being set up for good service, or were they able to find who they should go to for their answers. It was a typical contact form, with the CU phone number at the top. It appeared that when members had questions or comments, the best choice was to go to the phones. This ushered in Contacted™ from CU Ratecheck. Contacted™ has improved member service, increased efficiency in handling member questions while creating a level of accountability for managing the overall function. Contacted™ is essentially a triage system for handling member questions. The system allows the CU to assign users to each unique question or member’s situation. Then, when a question rolls in, it is immediately routed to the group that can fulfill that member’s need and alerts them via email. Within the first week of utilizing Contacted™, CCCU has handled over 150 member questions/comments quickly, seamlessly and simply.

Abandoned: Credit Union Lessons Learned from Retail Failure

As financial institutions, numbers are at the very core of a credit union’s operations.  However, one area sometimes overlooked for various reasons, most often for lack of accountability and/or no new
options, is abandonment.

Consumers (i.e. your members and potential members) are continually drawn towards convenience, making branches less effective in starting the relationship process while making online and phone communications imperative for future success.  As members use your online channels, think of the (more…)