Operations

Compete on Experience, Not Price

Ask qualifying questions to discover members’ life stages.

September 19, 2013
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Many retailers, financial institutions included, are turning to mystery shoppers to improve the customer experience.

Mystery shopping enables organizations to measure how closely customers’ experiences reflect what the organization expects them to experience, Eric Gagliano said during the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Leadership Conference and Expo.

Gagliano is senior vice president, client management, for MarketMatch.

Whenever a consumer goes through a certain life stage or milestone, Gagliano says, there are related financial needs. “It’s up to you to ask the qualifying questions to discover the member’s life stage cycle and offer appropriate products and services.

“Don’t compete on price, compete on experience.”

Gagliano says it’s important to have a clear member interaction process. This includes:

Greeting current and potential members appropriately when they walk into the branch;

Asking leading questions to determine their needs and confirm what they told you;

Determining other needs they might have and providing information on products and services to address those needs.

If your credit union has multiple checking accounts, for example, don’t tell them about all of the accounts. Instead, ask questions to determine which accounts are most appropriate for them.

Following up with members with a handwritten note or phone call.

“Above all,” Gagliano says, “treat members like they are guests in your home”

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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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