Great client service is at the heart of every good business relationship, and credit unions depend as much as other companies on keeping their members satisfied.
It takes something more than a smile, however, to enable members to come away with a positive experience. One of the aspects of good client service is the availability of substantive technological know-how, presented in a manner that’s both courteous and responsive.
Here are some ways to make sure you’re delivering on this criteria:
Embrace Financial Technology
Keep your credit union up to date with the latest advances in financial technology. It can be challenging to comply with the constantly-changing regulations while meeting your members’ demands for service, but technology can be a big help if you stay on top of it.
It can also offer multiple opportunities to improve your customer service and increase profitability. Some of the advances currently being explored in the CU space include:
- Biometric authentication methods, to help combat security risks
- Use of data to analyze behavior and predict member needs proactively
- "Branch of the future" designs, with more of a concierge model. Have staff approach members with enabled tablets, rather than requiring them to stand in queues waiting for the next available teller.
- Robo Advisors, which could offer customized help via text or voice commands.
Make sure your staff don’t see technology as a threat to their jobs, but as an opportunity for the CU to grow and prosper.
Train Frontline Staff
The client-facing employees in a credit union are typically the first to deal with members, and as such they need to be approachable. Take your training the extra mile by ensuring your frontline staff know how to assist clients with setting up digital wallets and making online payments. They aren't required to be overly technical--most members will prefer plan-language advice from people they can relate to, although it's useful to have one really knowledgeable employee around for the more tech-savvy clients.
Develop your member-facing employees into ambassadors to whom consumers are willing and able to turn for digital advice. Help them stay updated with the latest technology, and provide the tools they need to represent your CU with confidence.
Engage With Credibility
Financial institutions such as banks and CUs typically have a natural advantage that enables them to engage with credibility. This is due partly to the fact that the industry is exceptionally highly regulated, and institutions have worked hard for many years to achieve “trusted agent” status. In this age of transition to technology, if your workers aren’t able to present an informed and helpful approach to the digital tools in use by your CU, that credibility is bound to be less well-perceived.
Providing exceptional service can also mean teaching your clients some DIY "tricks of the trade." Every member who walks out of your CU knowing how to manage his or her online payments from home is one more individual who saves time and money coming into the branch. That’s beneficial to both the CU and the member, but it can't happen unless your staff take the right educational approach to help members learn for themselves.
Take The Right Tone
Train your staff to provide member education in a non-patronizing manner, with the patience necessary to impart digital knowledge to interested members from all life stages. Ensure they don’t “fumble” their first contact with clients by offering a blank stare or being too pushy, and teach them to first assess the client’s level of technical knowledge before starting out on the wrong footing.
Ensuring your CU remains first choice with members and your debit and credit cards stay "top of wallet" requires you to become a trusted partner in your members' lives. And there's no-one better placed to do it than your frontline staff.