Sometimes You Have to Leave Credit Union-ville to See the Bigger Picture

I’ve always found value in networking with a diverse group of people, and diversity is easy to find within the credit union system. Having clients in six time zones representing big, small, urban, rural, community-based and association-based credit unions contributes to a never-ending (and richly rewarding) learning experience.

But sometimes it’s not enough. Every now and then, I believe it’s important to venture beyond the credit union system to learn what other leaders and innovators are working on and how different industries are tackling similar issues.

Case in point: quality service-delivery and profitability

If you’ve ever been responsible for managing a multiple-service delivery platform, you know how difficult it can be to consistently meet or exceed high-quality service delivery objectives at the unit, group, or individual level. You also know that poorly performing units (especially those located far from the home office) damage the brand and impact revenue. This issue is as true for credit unions as it is for airline companies, including Alaska Airlines. Effectively delivering service to dozens of brick-and-mortar branches, a virtual branch and a call center could be daunting; how do other players successfully manage much larger delivery operations? How do world-class companies like Alaska Airlines earn the coveted J.D. Power and Associates Service Quality Award? Think about it: hundreds of ticket counters and luggage handlers, 125 flight crews flying to 91 destinations, call centers, kiosks, air partners, a website, etc. It’s amazing that Alaska is able to consistently measure and manage quality service-delivery over such a large network, and it’s something credit unions can learn from and strive toward.

Find a friend with a broader perspective

Max Israel, president/CEO of Customerville (it’s not “Memberville” — deal with it) is a friend of mine and one of those people I look to whenever it’s time to gaze beyond my own borders. Many years ago, it was Max who first turned me on to the idea of the Net Promoter, explaining how it is more reliable than member satisfaction scores. It’s been fun to watch an innovator and entrepreneur like Max invent and grow a successful company, not only in the United States, but also in Europe. I’ve learned a lot from our meetings, and the information shared has helped me find out-of-the-box solutions for credit-union service delivery opportunities.

Max is home from Spain for a while, and we recently had a chance to get caught up. During lunch, Max shared the latest version of Customerville’s survey and monitoring dashboard. Wow, what an incredible model for gathering real-time member service feedback from multiple brick-and-mortar, call center and website locations. For those operations managers reading this, imagine having a tool that will alert you in real time when there is a dissatisfied member at one of your branches or online. Imagine receiving an e-mail or text when this occurred, giving you the ability to quickly respond and positively mitigate the situation. I was taken aback by the dashboard, which compares service delivery scores at the location, department, and even the individual level. What a great way to identify and reward consistently strong service stars, and quickly identify departments or groups that are underperforming, damaging the brand and impacting profitability, not to mention having the data to proactively work on specific areas needing improvement. Max isn’t a credit union guy (or his business might have been named Memberville), but his ingenuity and passion for service delivery and management could revolutionize the way we manage larger service-delivery platforms.  Take a minute to check out Customerville. It’s easy to understand why Banks are taking notice.  I hope a few credit unions will too.

If you’re feeling isolated in the credit union box…

Look outside of your current credit union circle and see what’s going on in the world at-large. Hang out with some interesting people who have a different view of the world than you. Learn from professionals that might work in the same disciplines as you (marketing, sales, service, finance, lending, etc.), but in different industries. You just might find that your eyes will be opened to many new and exciting perspectives relevant to credit union-ville.