Understandably, credit unions put their best foot forward in creating customer promises.

Expressions of expert advice, great service and making the customer’s financial well being the # 1 priority permeate throughout their value propositions:

“You can expect expert advice, great service and a full range of financial services.”

“Our experts focus on building a trusting relationship with you that leads to your improved financial health. The simple acts of listening and discussing help us help you.”

“We’re all about our members—ensuring their financial well-being drives everything we do. And that’s not just something we say on our website, it’s a promise.”

Reality Can Be Different

While many readers are “pumped” after digesting these heart felt claims, the reality can be entirely different. In fact for some potential customers, the experience is, well like falling off a cliff.

And when does this first happen? When your branch gets a call, “I am interested in learning about what your credit union offers. Can you help me?”

Why This Matters

It’s a roll of the dice as to whom the caller ends up speaking to: a receptionist committed to turning the inquiry into a sales opportunity or one who views it as a nuisance call?

Will the staff person be astute in realizing that the caller could very well bring $250,000 $500,000 or even more of their business to the branch? Or someone who dismisses the caller, replying, “Go to our website. Everything you need to know is there.”

Net Promoter Scores (NPS)

NPS (i.e., “a single survey question asking respondents to rate the likelihood that they would recommend a company, product, or a service to a friend or colleague”) is easy to understand, quantitative, and certainly helpful.

But it does not capture real time experience or pinpoints many of the reasons for losing potential business. In other words the NPS question , “Would you recommend our credit union to your family and friends?” just does not cut it when assessing sales aptitude and success.

Mystery Shop Questions

So if you suspect that some of your branch staff are turning away potential business when taking calls from a prospective customers, ask your shoppers these 10 questions:

  1. Did the staff person thank you for contacting the branch?
  2. Ask how you learned about the credit union?
  3. Ask questions to get some understanding of your needs or goals?                                      
  4. Cite a unique advantage of their credit union?
  5. Mention a promotion or incentive?
  6. Express a desire for your business?
  7. Make an effort to create a relationship? (e.g. “I hope we get to meet?”)
  8. Ask for your contact information
  9. Offer to schedule an appointment?                       
  10. Ask if someone could follow up with you?

Their answers will separate the “Order Makers” from the “Order Takers”:

A Simple Recommendation
Have all branch staff take a sales development course every year that they are employed.