I am not the best mom. I’m a good mom and a strong mom. I’m a take-no-shit kind of mom. I say things – inappropriate things, snarky things, tongue-in-cheek kinds of things. I go in my own direction in life. At times perhaps not the right direction, but it’s always with a purpose, nonetheless. But two things I excel at, two lessons I speak of ALL THE TIME to my girls who are 12 and 9, are as follows:
Number one: Be true to yourself.
Number two: Be intentional.
Number one is important for so many reasons and, as simple as it sounds it always isn’t easy. Humans by nature are judgmental and assuming. It can be difficult to hold your ground or speak your mind when it is against the grain or against the norm. It’s difficult at 46 and even more so at 9 or 12. I tell my girls, shoulders back, chin up and go rock whatever (shit) it is you’re about to do (within reason and not illegal obviously).
Number two is just as important and really goes hand-in-hand with number one. In today’s day and age of digital-first communications, whether it be via email, lobby screens, text messages, social media, or images, being intentional to your brand is vital. Your brand can be your personal image and what you choose for people to see about you. It can also be the image of your credit union or whatever industry/company you represent.
Personal image – whether you are 9, 12, or 46 is important. What you put out in the world is what you are choosing for people to see about you, which helps them make assumptions about you. Choosing what you show to the world on social media, in person, or in your actions allows people to create an image of you. What do you want them to see? What do you want them to believe? The world is filled with wannabes, big talkers, people or brands that hide behind illusions of what they really are. Where is truth behind the words? The images? The clever hashtags? The ACTIONS and BEHAVIORS.
Experiences are everything.
Are you leaving your members with the right impression? Are you creating an experience worth talking about? What is your brand image saying about you and your credit union? How does your front-end staff play into that image? What about your call center, your lending team, your collections department, your website, your member-facing communications and maybe even more importantly your INTERNAL communications?
To consistently deliver an A+ experience to your members, you must deliver an A+ experience to your employees. We have high expectations when it comes to employee delivered messages. We have high expectations with our ScoreCard measures and goals. We EXPECT our employees – our team – to show up and work daily, not just physically but mentally and with an upbeat positive attitude. This is a big ask.
What do you do every day to project a positive, member-first behavior? What do you do every day to put your shoulders back, your chin up, so you can go rock whatever (shit) you have to? What are we doing to ensure that our employees deliver the correct message? In a manner that POSITIVELY reflects the image of the credit union? What are we doing to encourage our employees to have conversations with our members? What are we doing to make sure they understand the why of those conversations matter?
We are credit union people. THAT means something. THAT defines us. Defines me. I was once told that Credit Union people hug. I laughed but it is accurate. I DO put my shoulders back and I DO put my chin up when I say I work in Credit Union Land. We CARE. THAT is a difference.
Experiences are everything. At the end of the day, numbers will happen, goals will be met, testimonials will come, referrals will come IF you deliver a CONSISTENT, MEMBER-FIRST experience.
Automation. I talk about it often. I love automation. I believe in automation. BUT, I believe in automation for the sole purpose of the member experience and setting expectations of the member journey, product life cycle, or service attributes. Automation does not have to be about sales. Automation can be about education, about awareness, about benefits, about checking in. Automation can take the onus off the front-end, call center or lending team of being on-point and game-on ALL. THE. TIME. (They should be don’t get me wrong, but life does get in the way, and people have personalities as they should.)
Automation can, of course, serve other purposes as well include the dreaded cross-sales goals.
But it can also reduce expenses, deliver relevant timely message and increase efficiencies. Automation CANNOT replace the “hug” of the credit union, but it can enhance it.
When you are looking at your goals and budgets in 2020, ask “what will reaching this goal do TO enhance the member experience?” or, “how can I reach this goal BY enhancing the member experience.?” “What will increasing (or decreasing) do to or detract from the member experience?” I truly believe if the member experience is your priority the rest will fall into place.