Imaginations Sparked with Redstone FCU's New Branching Model
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Redstone Federal Credit Union is taking branching to the next level with a facility that helps consumers imagine the possibilities of membership.
"We realized that we put all this money into building beautiful branches that just provided service, they weren't being used as revenue generators," said Assistant Vice President of Communications Joyce Dye. "We started thinking about how the branches can support the bottom line and took a hard look at how to create a service environment that would also
generate revenue and be a marketing machine for the credit union."
With the branch located in one of the fastest growing areas in Madison County, serving a diverse community it had to truly reflect the attitude of the area--progressive. Working with a firm out of Atlanta, Dye says the focus was to find a way to get a new look and concept that would be functional and get the message out about who they were and what they stand for.
"What was key is that they took the time to visit all of our branches and actually spent time to observe how members use and move through the space analyzing everything from what areas members frequented to the brochures they picked up and discarded," said Dye. "This was also a venture where all the main players got involved not just marketing--yes we originated the idea of the facility being a retail marketing machine but Operations, HR every department pulled together with the design firm for two years to create something that's not just a flavor of the day but really is a most extraordinary, unique branch experience."
The new 6,970 square foot facility builds on the words members surveyed commonly associate with the Redstone name such as trust, loyalty, honesty, friendliness, helpfulness and community. Dye says it is a true retail store experience--from the black ceiling that allows member to focus just on the CU messages,
to the zones designed to maximize comfort and member choice. Dye says every inch of the branch
has a function.
"We wanted this branch to be an environment where people want to stay a while where members don't have to get into a cattle line for services but rather can go in and make choices on what they want to do," said Dye. "As soon as they step through the door it is like they step into a decompression zone--that 'ah' feeling--like when you go from three digit temperature heat into cool air."
With the new branching approach came the development of new language, titles and training for branch staffers that includes learning professional presentation skills.
"The first person every member meets is our service coordinator and that is not just a greeter but someone who helps them get to the appropriate place. This isn't the typical low-man on totem pole position it is closer to being a management role," said Dye. "The success of this branch really depends on this individual and their role in helping that person also to ensure the movement of members, that service delivery doesn't get stifled, and working with members to help best meet their needs."
The state-of-the-art, member-centric interior design plays up the idea of engaging members to imagine the possibilities available with Redstone FCU as a partner. From retirement to buying a sailboat huge graphic images on the walls and in the brochures further reinforce that Redstone is there to help make whatever members can imagine become a reality.
A community area features an entire wall that provides a whimsical look at what is unique to the community. For the Harvest branch that means pulling local images from the high school cheerleader and the agricultural fields, to the area's signature water tank. The community area also provides a showcase where the credit union can highlight current and upcoming community activities/events it supports from a football program to a cancer walk.
With an eye on creating a warm, inviting environment where members feel comfortable the branch has plush seating areas, flat plasma screens, teller services, stamps, coffee bar, technology zone, coin-counting machine, four drive-through lanes, ATM and safety deposit boxes.
"Like a grocery store setting the milk in the back of the store because it is a staple most people have to buy, we've done the same setting most of the services toward the back. It's a layout that allows members to walk through the branch and experience how we can help them," said Dye. "Everything from the wall graphics, the collateral to the images on the televisions, it is all a very soft sell with the goal of just engaging and getting to know our members more so we can help them realize their dreams."
The branch, which had its grand opening on September 21st, has been a hit with members and staffers alike and it will serve as a prototype for future Redstone FCU branches.