talk to your members!!!!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: “Read Fast Company!!” On page 71 of their July/August issue they have an article entitled “Talk to our customers? Are you crazy?” The article details the experience immersion, as the subject of the article calls it, and it outlines Credit Suisse Bank and how they are figuring out what the members, I mean customers, want.

Raise your hand if your CU has done a member survey in the past two years…….. Good for you. But wait you say, we do transactional-based surveys and we have a suggestion box online and a voicemail box to leave suggestions too. Pull out the party poppers. Everyone has that.

Some of you reading this might, just might have thoughts of a blog dancing in your mind like a sugar-plum fairy and good for you. But Credit Suisse has a real focus on finding out what their members, I mean customers want. (That’s a hard habit to kick!) They actual talk to their members. Not focus groups. Not surveys. Real, in person chats, in their branches. Now it doesn’t happen all the time but they drug out a few busy executives to 3 of their branches for a little visit.

The first branch the execs had to learn how to watch customers. The next branch they had to do some customer-type transactions. And the third branch they had to actual talk to real people. In person. Face to face. The end result: branch remodels, strategies to decrease wait time, and redesigns of basic policies.

Credit Suisse is doing an awesome thing, and us as CU’s need to pay attention. They are really talking to their members. Get those VP’s out in the branches. Make them do different transactions in a branch. Make them wait in line. Make them find an ATM location on your website or apply for a credit card.

Put on your member hat. And you can’t do it by sitting in your office because they are not just like you!

RSS for the masses

How do you get CU employees reading blogs and other RSS feeds? Personally, I use and all my feeds just magically come to me! I know that Outlook 2007 has RSS built in so maybe network administrators and subscribe to feeds for everyone? Maybe put it on the intranet site?

Blogging will become more common place when you get it in the hands of the decision makers. Get those “C’s” comfortable read/using/commenting on blogs and they’ll come around!

Taking payments

After sitting with our contact center staff off and on for a few months now, it’s becoming clear that our members want the ability to transfer money from another FI to our CU. Now there are quite a few funds transfer companies out their now where our members can do the transfers themselves online, but I want a tool so our staff can make that last minute credit card payment on the phone or transfer money immediately to their stranded daughter in Des Moines. I want to see someone use a product like and make a real simple tool for front staff to use to immediately transfer money from on FI to another, directly to that member’s account, and charge the automatically if need be.

Let’s see the “C’s”

How many of your “C’s” (the CEO, CFO, etc) know what a blog is? How many actively participate, or at least subscribe to, blogs?

If you can get those C’s to start understanding the power behind blogging, you’ll be able to get your CU, or whatever other company, blogging to! Get them to see the product ideas, marketing insights, and financial management theories that pop up in blogs.

Help get your C’s blogging, and when you do, a CU sponsored blog will become an eventual reality.

EBay not getting along with Google

Earlier this week, Google released the new Google Checkout program. ( The tagline: “Find it with Google. Buy it with Google Checkout.” It works with their AdWords product and seems to be positioned fairly well for some growth. In addition, AdWords customers get a discounted rate on transaction costs. For every dollar a seller spends on AdWords, they receive $10 of free transactions through Google Checkout.

EBay has decided that Google Checkout is not “appropriate” for the EBay marketplace.

The PayPal vs Google Checkout should be an interesting battle to witness!

Gaining some efficiency (and cross sales!)

I see everyone’s had a nice little vacation this past week. Not too much action in the CU blogging world! But last week was a busy one for me!

Just last week, I put the final touches (I guess I’m actually just getting started now) on our new “New Account Process”. I just got the CEO to sign off on our new contract with Andera, a FiServ company that specializes in providing online membership and share account opening. Not only will our FSR’s no longer have to do triplicate entry to open a new membership anymore, it’ll take the time down from over 30 minutes to about 10 minutes! Now with all of that extra time, our FSR’s will be able to do some more effective cross selling because they’ll have the potential member’s credit report in front of them to!!

AND we are now going to be able to full open, and fund, new accounts online!! How cool is that! Now I just have to figure out how to get the high-yielding savings account thing figured out. But I think I’m almost there……..