Marketing

‘Onboarding’ Clock Is Ticking

The first 60 to 90 days are critical for success.

January 13, 2012
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Bank Transfer Day—Nov. 5—is now in the record books. By any measure, it must be considered a success.

After revising earlier numbers, CUNA now estimates 441,000 consumers joined credit unions last September and October. That’s about 75% of the membership growth for all of 2010—a remarkable influx of new members.

There’s a great temptation to demonize banks in all this. But banks are merely doing what banks are supposed to do—maximize profits to their shareholders.

Banks are for-profit entities and their business model is designed to maximize profits. It’s like putting a steak in front of a pit bull and being surprised when the dog devours it. It’s what pit bulls do—they eat meat. No one should be surprised when this happens. And no one should be surprised when banks try to maximize profits. It’s what they do.

During the past few months, banks have shown their true colors, and many consumers decided they didn’t particularly care for those colors. So consumers moved their accounts out of national banks and into local credit unions.

CUNA estimates credit unions opened about 400,000 new checking accounts in October, alone.

Now that credit unions have had this much-needed infusion of new members, the challenge becomes one of welcoming these newcomers and turning them into loyal members who sing the praises of financial cooperatives. The welcoming process is called “onboarding,” and credit unions have their work cut out for them.

“Onboarding new members is a critical process that begins when a member opens an account and continues through the first 60 to 90 days following the initial contact,” according to a 2010 Fiserv white paper, “Developing a Successful Onboarding Program to Drive Customer Loyalty and Profitability.”

Onboarding best practices underscore the importance of getting new members to sign up for online banking and online bill payment. Members who use these “sticky” online services are more likely to stay with your credit union for a long time and use more services while they’re there.

If the critical period is only two or three months after signing up a new member, the onboarding clock is ticking.

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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 (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) 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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