Have some fun

Credit unions, most of the time, tend to be sticks in the mud. We’ve got to be serious about people’s money, right? Take a clue from Nestle. You can be functional and still have fun at the same time.

Have a listen, it is hilarious!


Don’t be so serious

In my recent quest to clean up the website and try to squeak out some performance gains, I have been looking at different CDN (Content Delivery Network) providers to host all of my static files, like images.  Rackspace has a service they call Cloud Files that enables you to save files to the proverbial “cloud” for $.15 per GB, exactly like Amazon’s S3 offering.  Rackspace, however, has a CDN built in to their online file storage.  Long story short, I went to their site to sign up and try it out.

What in the world does this have to do with credit unions?  Well, I never finished the sign-up process and the next day I received this email:

How cool is that!  Not only can they tell that I didn’t finish the setup process, but they are providing me an incentive to come back and finish.  Credit unions are just beginning to get into opening accounts online, but they can take a page out of the Rackspace playbook.  First off, they have the technology to make this happen, so make sure your online account vendor can do this.  Secondly, they don’t take any kind of holier-than-thou attitude about why the potential member didn’t finish.  Finally, they provide an incentive to come back.  “Outbound calling”, aka hounding indirect auto loan customers, would do well with some like this.

Here’s my version:

Hey Joe,

We noticed that you didn’t complete your online (insert product name here) application yesterday.  If you have any questions about the process or just need someone to talk to, feel free to give me a call directly at 888-888-8888 or call into our Member Service Center at 888-8888-7777.  Oh, and by the way, we really value the business of all of our members, so if you’d like to finish the application online or come into a branch, enter in your discount code of ALMOSTGOTAWAY and we’ll give you another .5% on your (insert product name here).

Robbie Wright

ABC Credit Union

Please don’t make your members do this

Have you ever noticed how hard we make it to do business these days?  Sign this form, mail this in, come into the branch, blah, blah, blah.  If we really wanted their business, we’d make opening a new membership, certificate, or loan as easy as humanly possible.  We’d find ways to satisfy the regulations we have to, but still provide outstanding service.  Don’t make your members jump through hoops to do business with you.  And don’t make them jump through this either.


Don’t print account numbers and SSN’s on envelopes

Unfortunately for Priority One CU, they managed to print the account number and the social security number on the election ballot envelope of Steve Bass, a blogger for PC World, as well as the rest of their membership.  Here’s Steve’s article (on PC World).

Priority One has an opportunity here.The phrase making lemonade out of lemons comes to mind.  The CEO, actually probably marketing, sent letters to the membership informing them of the security breach and they have a notice on their site.  They’ve also given everyone free credit report monitoring for a year, which all seems to be becoming a standard response..  If I was Charles R. Wiggington, Sr., their CEO, I’d personally call Steve and ask him to help start a blog for the CU so they could better communicate with their membership.  They might have a chance to turn one of their unhappy members with a wide audience into one of their biggest proponents.  And maybe redesign the website while they’re at it.

What? Free WiFi?

You heard me. Free WiFi.

But how?

Whisher is how. Whisher is a software technology that people install at home that enables secure sharing of their WiFi. Anyone in the Whisher community can travel about, find other Whisher members and use their WiFi for free. The software does lock down the connection with WEP or WPA and only Whisher member have access to your network.

I mentioned a while back in my post about CU’s and WiFi that credit unions might have an opportunity to blanket their branches or a brave CUSO might try a whole city! Whisher takes some of the basic credit union philosophies and applies them to sharing WiFi! You can even setup small groups who share their WiFi connections. (I’m thinking we’ll give you a 1% discount on your next loan if you share your WiFi with the ABC Credit Union group. Then CU’s can blanket cities with WiFi for free!)

I love the idea and I can’t wait to use it personally and see how the free service does.

What’s important to your members?

I recently attended a regional Raddon conference reviewing our CU’s results. Paired with our recent member survey, some of the results were mind-blowing and very surprising.

Part of Raddon’s member survey is a “Zone of Performance” where the members rate how important a certain factor is in their financial institution and how well we deliver on that factor.

The ranking of the 20 factors initially seemed completely backwards to me. Bill Pay fees were dead last in importance. Interest on Deposits and Online Banking were in the bottom six. Even variety of services, a measure of innovation in my mind, was in the bottom five!! Here I am always preaching about innovation and new products, and our members don’t care!

After digesting the chart for a while, logic took over. Things like friendliness, accuracy and problem resolution where in our top 5, and most of the top 5’s of all the other CU’s. So I did a little quick math in my head. Being budget time, spending money (or not) is on my mind, and looking at the list of 20 factors, most CU’s spend all their budget on things that may not matter all the much to our members. Last place, bill pay fees, cost us an arm and a leg to provide for free!

So how do you spend money on friendliness? Wait longer (and pay for) the correct hire maybe? Accuracy? How often do we ever hear about innovation coming from a core processor? We need to innovate the systems that CU’s use and make them fool-proof so the accuracy is built in! Sometimes CU’s get sidetrack (excited) about spending money on new technologies and we might be missing the whole boat.

When you think about the pain points of your members, think back to the last complaint you might have heard from a friend about their FI, or even one of your members. “Wells Fargo screwed up my checking account!” “WaMu lost my check!” Just look around at My Bank Doesn’t Get It and you’ll see what I mean.

Let’s start spending our money where our members want it. I want mobile banking, instant issue, and kiosks as much as the next guy, do you’re members?

Club Med

So my fiancee, I mean wife, and I went to Club Med for our honeymoon last week and was it amazing. Club Med has a very clear vision of what they want their customer experience to be.

If you’ve been to any Club Med, one of the first things you’ll notice is their attention to their customer’s needs and their incredible employees. Their “Chief of Land Sports” not only is in charge of the obvious, but he was in their nightly shows singing, dancing, and acting. The cooking staff even has their own dance! Club Med employees appear to be incredibly friendly, outgoing, flexible, and very knowledgeable about their position. I kept asking myself how can Club Med attract such amazing employees?

Is it the locations? Maybe. We were in the Turks and Caicos islands in the Caribbean, so yeah, the weather was awesome. But Club Med employees move to the middle of nowhere and leave their family behind, and spend most of their time in the village as most don’t have cars.

Is it the pay? Rumor has it pay was only about $200 a week. It’s almost like joining the military, but without the monetary benefits.

Whatever they are doing, I found myself saying they should write a book about how they attract such talented, bi-lingual employees from all over the globe.

I think that a CU conference should rent an entire village out (yes, you can do that) just to study the customer experience that Club Med provides.

GonzoBanker and the BAI conference

Cruising through Terence Roche & Steve Williams article about the BAI conference this past week and came across this wonderful little nugget in their post:

The most interesting thing to watch will be if banks (insert CU’s here) can really let go. Are we really serious about letting the front line drive the place, or will our industry just slip back to aimlessly giving compliments to Starbucks and Steve Jobs?

Read the full GonzoBanker post here.

Everyone in the online community and in some of the conferences around the country have been talking about member-centric this and movement vs industry that. All I’m seeing is talk. CU’s like to think innovatively, but the execution seems pretty poor. I’m going to an little seminar shortly called “Expertise – The Innovation Killer”. I never would have thought expertise is bad, but in my personal experience, it is the “experts” that hold back the innovation in our industry.

How many experts to you have in your CU (or company)?

my new mortgage

My fiancee and I just closed escrow on our first house together about 3 weeks ago. It appears that the mortgage company we used will be selling the loan to Wells. Not then end of the world as I’ve used them before.

I went to their site tonight to sign up for online banking, and can’t. Called their 1-800 number and after getting transferred it appears that I have to make my first payment either on the phone (for $20) or in a branch before I can access my account online.

Sweet. Can’t wait to see how everything else turns out.