At first glance, upscale restaurants and credit unions probably appear as different as—well, upscale restaurants and credit unions. However, in my years of experience, I’ve realized the two have far more in common than you might think. In fact, if you’re looking to create a credit union your members can’t quit talking about, you may want to take a few tips from your favorite fine dining establishment.
Focus on first impressions.
The best restaurants understand that memorable experiences begin the moment you walk in the door. A friendly host or hostess can make you feel welcome with nothing more than a smile and a pleasant greeting. This simple step can work wonders for your credit union as well. While you may not place an official host right inside the front door, encouraging your team to greet every member in a welcoming manner is a terrific way to create an environment where people feel appreciated.
Offer something for everyone.
Ordering from a menu may be the most familiar part of any dining experience. And while every restaurant strives to offer culinary selections that set them apart, they design the menu with their patrons’ preferences in mind. When you consider the programs and promotions your credit union will offer, make sure you offer solutions your members really want. And just as professional servers learn their restaurant’s menu in order to offer expert recommendations, your team should thoroughly understand the full range of services you offer. This expertise will allow them to suggest products naturally when they identify individual member’s needs.
Understand the value of your regulars.
There’s something uniquely satisfying about being a “regular.” If you’ve ever walked into your favorite restaurant and heard “Welcome, Mr./Ms. (insert your name). It’s great to see you again. Your table is ready,” you understand how a sense of belonging can enhance a dining experience. As a credit union, finding little ways to recognize your most faithful members not only makes them feel special, it also increases the likelihood they’ll share their positive experiences with others.
As you search for additional ways to distinguish your credit union from the other financial institutions in your area, take some time to figure out what you love most about your favorite restaurants. With some creative thinking, you may discover new ways to wine and dine your members, so to speak. After all, whether they’re making deposits or repaying a loan, your members are giving money to your credit union in the same way a restaurant patron happily pays for a delicious meal. They’ll show up occasionally if you meet their expectations. They’ll come back consistently if you exceed them.