A friend recounted the story of a women’s softball coach at a major university. The program, that only a few years earlier had been invisible on NCAA softball radar, had in just three seasons advanced to the finals of their conference tournament and then on to the College World Series.
Like any good CEO, the coach met with each of his players individually. One by one, the young women, expecting a warm and fuzzy congratulations for a great year emerged one by one in tears. Each stopped at an academic counselor’s office and recounted how they expected something far different than the year-end review they received.
The bewildered staffer went to the coach’s office, recounting his meetings with the tearful team.
“What did you say to them? ”the counselor asked.
The coach cut to the chase.
“I told them that I’m not satisfied with just going to the World Series. I told them we were here to win championships. And if they were satisfied with just going to the Series, they needed to find another place to play.”
Since then, the program has won two conference tourneys and moved closer to a World Series crown.
As a former college athlete, I can tell you this: The coach wasn’t trying to break the spirits of his team. Instead, he was making it clear that in his program, expectations are high. Excellence on and off the field is the rule, not the exception.
So what does this mean to a community bank or credit union?
It doesn’t mean read the riot act to your staffers so that they are reduced to a puddle of tears.
It does mean that expectations should be high and the bar raised. Excellence is the standard.
Earlier this month in Credit Union Times, Natasha Chilingham reminded institutions that they only have one shot to get a good customer review, whether it’s on social media or across the backyard hedge. And if it makes a great impression, it has a great shot at building loyalty.
Chillingham cited a report from the Filene Research Institute, “Member Ease of Use as a Competitive Advantage.”
In a nutshell, the report makes the point that if a customer has to make a high effort to solve a problem, then disloyalty is the result. In short: “Banks and credit unions should forget the bells and whistles and simply solve customers’ problems.”
The study revealed that in interactions with retail call centers, 96 percent of customers who had to make multiple calls to remedy a problem were disloyal to the institution. Eighty-one percent who had a difficult experience said they planned to tell their friends about the negative experience. And as we’ve mentioned before, the old Zig Ziglar “Rule of 250” which states that every person knows at least 250 more. If he/she shares his bad experience with his circle, that’s bad news for the business. (It should be noted that Ziglar’s rule emerged some 30 years ago. The advent of social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat – the circle is much, much bigger.
And 58 percent of those customers who had to navigate through a negative experience said they would stop doing business with the company. That can cast a big chill on the bottom line.
Compare that to those customers who got their problems solved with little effort on their part. Ninety-four percent said they planned to shop there again; 88 percent planned to spend more with the retailer.
So what’s the lesson here? First, this is not about technology. It’s about old-school customer service. Train your staff well to create what Chillingham calls “a seamless system” empowering and enabling them to navigate the most complex challenge. That means one call, problem solved.
And second, like the softball coach, set high expectations for your team. Let them know that they are vital to the success of the organization. Set incentives for solid customer service reviews from customers.
It’s a recipe for success without tears.
Read Chillingham’s Credit Union Times column HERE:
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