Last week was Customer Service Appreciation Week, a time to not only reflect on what it means to provide excellent member service but also to shine a light on the employees putting that into practice every day.
Here at CO-OP we honored service excellence all week long, awarding certificates to the employees that exemplify the CO-OP Values: work as partners, communicate openly and honestly, demonstrate excellence, and champion change. We are also holding ice cream social events at each of our offices in celebration of the energy, dedication and collaborative spirit our employees bring to work every day.
“CO-OP exists for the betterment of credit unions,” said Todd Clark, president and CEO of CO-OP. “Time and again I witness our employees going the extra mile to help our clients succeed and to enrich the credit union experience they provide for members.”
Why Good Service Still Matters
According to CustomerThink, 86 percent of consumers will pay more for a better customer service experience and a recent Aberdeen study shows that companies with “a well-crafted customer service approach” enjoy a 92 percent retention rate.
For credit unions, good service is the lifeblood of our industry and what our members appreciate the most. According to a survey of 25,000 consumers, when it comes to customer/member service, credit unions outperform banks and other financial providers and this has led to higher overall satisfaction rates for credit unions.
With technology and consumer demands dramatically changing the way credit unions do business, exceptional member service should remain a constant. This means extending the same level of personalized, friendly service at branch locations and contact centers to every aspect of the member experience.
As we celebrate Customer Service Appreciation Week, here are a few ways to think about improving member service across your credit union.
1) Be Member-Centric
Good member services starts with understanding member needs and preferences and building solutions around them. With so many online and offline interactions happening throughout the member journey, identifying your members’ expectations at each stage is an increasingly difficult tasks.
Action: Solicit Feedback
Feedback is the best way to measure the level of service you are providing and can come in a few different forms. Consider performing a member journey mapping exercise to measure how your credit union is performing at each member engagement. (Or leverage the research we’ve already done on 2,000 member journeys)
Additionally, lean into the insights and knowledge gleaned from your customer service representatives, branch managers and other member-facing employees. Similar to how CO-OP Co-Creation Councils provide a forum for gathering valuable feedback to help improve our products and services, consider formalizing a process for collecting feedback from your member-facing employees to learn how best serve your members.
2) Pursue Innovation that Serves
Providing excellent member service is no longer simply about meeting member expectations, but also exceeding them. This requires building a culture of innovation, where new products and services are delivered based on what members want now and in the future.
Action: Find New Innovations for Older Products
It’s tempting to chase the next big payments technology or software solution. But innovating on your more traditional channels can help deliver unexpected value to your members. Self-service banking is a great example of how a rising consumer trend is creating new innovations like cardless cash access at the ATM or mobile credit/debit card controls. Artificial intelligence also comes to mind; beyond the immediate benefits such as fraud mitigation, AI promises a greater level of understanding about what members want before even they know.
3) Form Strategic Partnerships
If one thing is certain for the future of customer service it is that credit unions cannot go it alone. But beyond just adding products and technology from other vendors, credit unions must be able to seamlessly integrate them, without disrupting the member experience.
Action: Look for Partners, Not Vendors
Finding partners that share your vision and member-centric approach is vital for serving your members well across all channels. The best way to do this is by adopting an ecosystem mindset and thinking about how different partners and products fit seamlessly into your product ecosystem and member interactions.
Customer Service Appreciation Week reminds us of our collective mission of service – and that putting the member first is both the right thing to do and the path towards growth and success.
Discover ways to improve member service during our upcoming “Mapping the Member Journey” webinar on October 23rd at 11:00am PT. We’ll discuss the results of a research study into 2,000 member journeys and how you can leverage that research to drive a more positive member experience.