‘Look, a Landline!’

Determine which delivery channels members want today and tomorrow.

October 26, 2010
KEYWORDS delivery , service
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My dining room probably looks a lot like yours. There's a big table in the middle that seats eight. In the corner, there' a desk with a standard cordless phone.

A couple weeks ago, I had some college students sitting at my dining room table consuming vast amounts of food. While we ate, the phone on the desk rang. One of the students pointed to the ringing phone and exclaimed, "Look, a landline!"

It was as if he'd spotted a species of animal long thought to be extinct. It was like, "Look, a woolly mammoth!"

I never thought of my landline phone as outdated technology. But it's rapidly becoming so as cell phones and smart phones render landlines virtually obsolete.

For me to keep up with the latest in personal electronic gadgetry is one thing. For a credit union to keep up with the latest service delivery technologies is quite another.

If I invest in technology for my home that quickly becomes obsolete, no big deal. But if a credit union invests in a service delivery strategy that quickly becomes obsolete—that is a big deal.

Credit unions face the daunting task of figuring out which delivery channels members want, and what they will want in the future. Mobile banking looks like an investment many credit unions are willing to make.

And the investment might be more of a competitive necessity—all of the 10 largest retail banks in the U.S. currently offer mobile banking services.

Nearly 37% of U.S. adults whose primary financial institutions offer mobile banking have used it in the past year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. And in the first half of 2009, the phrase “mobile banking” appeared in direct mail offers more than twice as often as in the first half of 2008, according to Mintel Comperemedia.

Before spending a dime on any technology or delivery channel, analyze your local market conditions and conduct reliable member research so you build your service delivery strategies around members’ wants and needs.

STEVE RODGERS is editor of Credit Union Magazine.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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