Special Report: America's CU Conference

Remarry Your Members

Don’t treat members like they’re interruptions; celebrate them.

June 22, 2011

“The customer-service bar has been set so low, it’s become relatively easy to excel at it—you just don’t have to try that hard,” Scott Stratten, social media expert and president of unMarketing, told attendees at a Tuesday morning America’s Credit Union Conference breakout session.

“I used to do business with a certain bank,” Stratten confessed, “and whenever I called the bank I heard the message, ‘Due to unusually heavy call volume…’ I heard this message every time I called for five years. And then I asked myself, ‘At what point does unusually heavy call volume become usually heavy call volume?’”

Many service providers treat their existing customers poorly but fall all over themselves to roll out the red carpet for new customers, Stratton added. “What you should be doing is celebrating every member who walks into your lobby. Don’t treat them like they’re interruptions.

“I noticed an ad in the newspaper recently that said my bank was giving away iPods. So I walked into the lobby and asked for my iPod. But the teller told me the iPods were only for new customers opening new accounts. I felt penalized for having a pre-existing relationship with them. What kind of message does that send?”

Instead of treating your existing members poorly, he suggested, “you need to be like that cheesy couple who get remarried after 40 years. You need to remarry your members. Tell them how much you love them. After all, the best source of future members is ecstatic members—not static members—but ecstatic members.”

Stratten’s advice for credit unions using, or planning to use, social media is to think of it as talking. “If you don’t like talking to your members, social media probably isn’t for you,” he said. “Financial institutions that don’t like talking to people are called ‘banks.’ But talking to people is in your DNA. It’s who you are.

“Remember that people spread awesome content on social media; people don’t spread average content,” he warned. “Don’t engage in ‘frequent futility’—don’t blog or tweet if you don’t have something awesome to say.”