I have a problem. Some would call it an addiction. It started out innocently enough. I would only do it with friends. Then it progressed into something I did by myself. A couple times a month at first. Then more frequently. I told myself it was just a little pick me up and I didn’t need it but I deserved it. Soon, I was doing it every day. Often more than once.
I’m talking, of course, about my relationship with coffee.
I started pretty late compared to my friends and family. In fact, I didn’t start drinking it until I was 30. But boy, did I make up for lost time. Now everyone that knows me knows that I am an intolerable zombie without it. And while coffee is available at literally hundreds of different places, I choose Starbucks.
My father-in-law (a coffee purist) will tell you that they don’t have the best coffee. That may be true. But I’m not a connoisseur of the brewed bean. Simply a big (BIG!) fan. I’m a Starbucks devotee for a couple of reasons:
Convenience. They are EVERYWHERE. No matter where I travel, I can usually find a store near me. In fact, even when I’m traveling, the green sign can be found throughout most airports. The best part for me is I use their app so I can just pay with my phone and go about my day.
I like being “a regular.” At the Starbucks by our office, I rarely have to order any more. I walk in and Jake or Craig or Kate or Rachel (yes, I know all of them by name) says “The usual?” I nod, scan my phone, grab my coffee and go. It is a feeling I wish I didn’t like as much as I did but there is a sense of belonging and being known. Again, I realize it is ridiculous but I can’t help my odd sense of coffee-related pride.
So why do I share this (somewhat embarrassing) addiction tale with you? Because your credit union has the potential to be the next Starbucks.
I know. It seems like a grandiose idea. You’re thinking, “but they have over 25,000 stores!” (or maybe you weren’t thinking that because you aren’t, you know, OBSESSED with them), but you get my point. How could your community-based not-for-profit financial institution compare to this worldwide brand? By doing the things they do well. Convenience and personalized service.
Let’s talk about convenience.
Do you let members set up a new account without coming into a branch? It isn’t just Millennials that want this service. Potential members of all ages are time-starved and want to be able to join completely online
Does your CU have an app? An easy-to-use, fully functioning app can be a huge selling point to people who are trying to decide if they should switch from a big bank to a credit union. If you do have an app, do members know about it? More importantly, does your staff know how to use it so they can help walk a member through the process themselves?
Shared branching and ATMs are a spectacular service that is often mentioned on the website. But are you talking about it in-branch? When a member comes in and mentions they are going on vacation or sending a child to college, does your staff tell them of the no-cost convenience you offer? I’m sure they would appreciate the reminder.
“Personalized service” seems like a cliché thing to talk about in 2017 but there’s a reason Starbucks writes your name on your cup and not an order number. Don’t just learn members’ names. Get to know their goals and what’s important to them. If you know they have younger kids, now is a great time to start speaking to them about saving for college. If a member changes their direct deposit due to a job change, there are a number of conversations that should take place to learn more about any potential changes to their lifestyle.
I love coffee. But my love of Starbucks goes far beyond the product they sell me. It’s time to consider how you can make your members can fall in love with your credit union in the same way.
Marne Franklin is a caffeine-fueled digital nerd who lives for coffee, convenience and good service. Get in touch with her to talk about any of those things at email@example.com.