Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want

When was the last time you asked your members what they want from you?

As we discussed in last week's post, "This Just In! Gen Y Loves Meat Dresses," assuming you know what your members want without taking the time to asses their needs could be a huge misstep. Just as important, make sure that you're giving your members a platform to give you feedback, both critical and favorable. Here are some thoughts on the culture of complaining and how it affects your credit union.

  • For every person who complains, there are 26 who don't, but are still secretly p'od.

 A few months ago, I decided to do my grocery shopping at night so that my roommate and I could schedule our trips together. For some reason, my store decided to close all lanes except "self-checkout" after 10 PM. The lines were 12 people deep, and it took me about 40 minutes to check out as I scanned, by hand, two week's worth of groceries on a device designed for 10 at a time.

The first time it happened, I was upset and made some general comments to the attendent in the store, who shared my frustration. Weeks later, it happened again. This time I immediately called the store and left a message with a manager explaining my complaint, and was assured it would be looked into. 

The next time it happened, I decided it was worth my time to drive 20 minutes out of my way and go to Wal-Mart instead of patronizing this store within walking distance of my apartment.

Now, was I the only person upset? Probably not. Was I the only person who took time out of my schedule to call and make my frustration known? Probably. 

A survey done by the research firm TARP says that if 10 people complain, that means there are 260 people who are upset and take their business elsewhere without even telling you. Take each complaint by a member seriously - it means more than you think. 

Here are the other results of the 2008 study:

One unhappy client who escalates their issue to management represents 50 clients, on average, who either complain locally or don't complain at all.

75% will complain to 8 others about the issue either face-to-face or via the phone which represents:
            296 people who have been told directly who then tell 237 more people

13% will complain to 60 others via blog, tweet, or social media, such as Facebook which represents: 
            420 people who have been told directly who then tell 336 more people

12% will complain via e-mail or chat with 8 people which represents:
            48 people who have been told via chat  who in turn tell 38 more more people 

In summary, one escalated complaint = an average of 50 clients and 1,375 cases of word of mouth! 

  • Do you have a quick, easy and accessible way for members to share their frustrations and complaints? 

When a person decides to complain, they've reached critical mass - most people use active complaining as a last resort. When there is a problem, people gauge two things - "is this a fluke, once a decade issue?," and "is the problem worth the time it will take to complain about it?"

Make sure your members know where they can voice their concerns and feedback in a forum that is quick and easy, and make sure all branch representatives know about it so they can direct people there. There's nothing more frustrating than trying to have your voice heard and being stuck in an endless back and forth as the credit union tries to figure out where to place your complaint.

  • Your social networks are a great PR opportunity 

If someone tweets something negative about your credit union, or posts a poor experience on your Facebook page, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. Responding with promptness and an air of apology will go a long way here. Here's a quick, appropriate script you can use:

Hi! I'm sorry you had that experience. Please know that at DFCU we strive for excellence with our members. Please DM me your contact info so that we may have an opportunity to follow up with your concern.

Then (and this is the most important part) - make sure you follow up! This is an opportunity to show your members that you care about them - if you handle this correctly, the member WILL tell the rest of their social network about it.

No institution is perfect. However, reaching out to your members and asking them what you can improve upon not only gives you a chance to get better as a credit union, but gives your members a say in their financial institution.

Got any experiences with great credit union customer service or want to tell us how your CU does it? Let us know in the comment section!

DeAndre