Let’s Make 2023 a Five Star Year | Credit Union Times

Warning: Slide ahead.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but 2022 brought some of the worst things in my life as a paid customer of various services. First, there was the Home Chef fiasco. After using the food delivery service for about a year, I started noticing problems with my deliveries, such as missing food and groceries. Every time this happens, I report it, and the company responds with a written apology and an immediate credit to my account, which means I have to order more lunch boxes using the credit. Those packages will arrive with missing or incorrect items, and the credit-complaint cycle will begin again.

So – I ended up ditching them for their competition. (Shout out to Hello Fresh!)

Then there was the moving fiasco. I booked a special flight from a friend’s house to the airport in San Diego through a company that stated in its booking system that it allowed cancellation and full refund. But when I found another shipping service with a better price, canceling the original order was completely impossible. Emails went unanswered for weeks, and calls to the company resulted in someone blaming the delay in getting back to another employee. a department, but did not offer me a way to contact the party supposedly responsible. I only got my $140 back after making a claim on my credit card.

Finally, I’ve lost faith in the reliability of curbside pickup service thanks to Walgreens. After placing an order in which I clearly stated my replacement needs, I received an email stating that my order was ready for pickup, but the key items I requested to replace were missing. A call to the store led to discussions with three different employees who “had no idea” how to resolve the issue or refused to add more items to the order; I ended up canceling it entirely.

The frustration stemming from these negatives softened for me in December, when I had an experience with a sustainable brand called Nisolo. I ordered a holiday gift for someone whose rural area does not accept USPS delivery, believing the gift would be sent via FedEx. When it turned out that this was not the case and the gift didn’t arrive at home, I was able to reach Nisolo easily via text and get a replacement shipped quickly and free of charge. Five stars!

This poor quality of customer service that I have witnessed over the course of the year may be due to a number of social and economic factors, such as the lack of workers caused by the pandemic. and the Great Resignation. I don’t blame the Home Chef grocery store or Walgreens hourly workers, who may be struggling to work due to illness or lack of it. an incentive from their manager to go above and beyond for the customer. But the bottom line is, customers will take their business elsewhere after poor service, and that leaves an opportunity for businesses — including credit unions — to make it easier. then win over customers whose fingers are tired from writing one-star Yelp reviews by prioritizing service and experience. Credit unions should always ask questions like, How easy is it for people to contact us? Are we helping members to solve complex problems without needing to burden the person’s decision? What are people saying online about their experience with us?

Ensuring positive experiences for members is a priority and ongoing challenge for many credit union leaders. In the Co-op Solutions report “Building new member leadership: A blueprint for credit union leaders,” which was based on data collected by CUSO during the June 2022 CEO Summit, 46% of credit union leaders said that improving the member experience is their biggest challenge in the environment, and 53% of credit union leaders say digital solutions are their top priority for future investment. But, as the report notes, the Committing to digital investment alone is not enough to solve the membership problem – a lack of buy-in from the board and senior management, as well as restrictive policies can get in the way. the fulfillment of a commitment to invest in a five-star digital experience.

And, as I learned in my miserable year as an American consumer, everyday digital experience isn’t the only thing that matters. Ensuring that people with unusual or complex problems have easy access to a partner who will deal with their issues quickly and professionally, and even come to things like employment, education and culture.

The Co-op’s report lays out seven keys to achieving “member-centricity,” which it defined as being there for members 24/7 by offering personalized solutions they need it at their fingertips – not just providing friendly, face-to-face service in branches. . The first key on the list is: “Build a foundation of service – the foundation of the credit union difference.”

When asked how a “special member experience” should be defined, credit union leaders surveyed at the Co-op’s CEO Summit chose “anticipate member needs and provide solutions” more than any other information in the poll (37%), followed by “offering multiple ways for people to interact with you” (29%), “providing the easiest way to doing business with them” (20%), “overseeing daily interactions” (11%) and “providing solutions for financial success” (3%).

To successfully anticipate members’ needs and provide solutions, “credit unions must have a strategy and vision, as well as access to data that offers empowerment, added value, ” according to the report. Collaboratively recommend defining a shared vision, ensuring alignment with the credit union’s core mission and values; defining who the credit union members are and how to join them; and developing motivated employees who are quick to identify process problems or barriers – and who will take corrective action internal operations and operations.

Of course, achieving these goals is not an easy task, and requires access to the right technology and investment, as well as having the right people on board. But it is beneficial for the credit union to do the heavy lifting on its end so that no heavy lifting is required on the member’s end.

In a world of short-sightedness, where there are so many options it’s easy for a consumer to get rid of a brand permanently if only one negative experience, it’s important for credit unions to act together for members. The good news is that when the bar is low in the department of customer expectations, the staff will not show up. They come as a pleasant surprise – as Nisolo did for me following a string of negative interactions. It’s not as it should be, but when other people can’t show it, you can be sure that the person who does will be remembered.

Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian, Executive Director (protected mail)

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