Summit Credit Union members have got oodles to be thrilled about.
With an eye on reinforcing its value to its members and the communities served, the Madison, Wis.-based credit union has launched Oodles, a membership rewards program.
“In a time when many businesses are cutting back on rewards and charging fees, we wanted to reinforce the cooperative value to our members in a fun and engaging way,” said Kim Sponem, president/CEO of the over $1.7 billion credit union. “Members will receive a variety of rewards and offers. And because each month is new, there’s a fun element of surprise to it as well.”
She added that as the program recognizes members who have helped build Summit’s cooperative value by using multiple services, it serves double duty as an incentive to increase existing member relationships while encouraging new members to deepen their relationships.
The entire program. including the look and feel design, was done in-house.
It took about a year from initial research, to concept, then to rollout. Summit researched other credit union rewards programs, as well as rewards programs in other industries and solicited feedback from members on what types of rewards they liked. In addition, internal research on its members helped shape the qualifications for the program.
“We wanted Oodles to be simple and easy for members to qualify. We didn’t want members to have to remember how to take advantage of the offers or keep track of points,” said Sponem. “The fact that they get a new offer every month–and that it’s always different–keeps the value and the program itself in the forefront. We also wanted there to be an element of surprise and fun to the monthly offers, and to include our member businesses. And because our target market is women, we also want the offers to especially appeal to them.”
Here is how it works. Members are automatically enrolled in Oodles if they are 18 years of age or older, receive statements via email and maintain two types of personal accounts with Summit.
Monthly emails are sent to Oodles members promoting the current offer, which can be anything from a monthly special offer to select businesses, discounts or offers on Summit loan or deposit products to automatic entry to special Oodles random prize drawings and exclusive offers for free Summit swag.
Sponem said that initially Summit has been partnering with local businesses that are either business partners or have an account relationship with the credit union and it has been an added benefit for them as well.
To redeem offers at local businesses, Oodles members simply need to show their card.
“We have fun, round cards that are meant for the key-chain, and also a wallet-sized card if people prefer that,” said Sponem. “Each card has a random barcode on the back, which we can scan here at our branches to help track who’s stopped by to pick up merchandise, or to redeem Summit offers. It’s simple for the member and for Summit.”
Oodles has been promoted through a mix of targeted emails, Summit’s website, member newsletters, branch signs and mailings. Sponem said staffers have also played a huge role in talking up the program and explaining how members can become part of it.
“Using Oodles to develop and increase member relationships is a key component of the program and so far it’s been very well received by our members and business partners,” said Sponem. “Our first email that introduced the program encouraged members to stop by a branch to pick up a special Oodles gift. We’ve had more than 1,600 members stop by in the first few weeks. Nearly 27,000 out of our 122,000 members qualified to start and over 800 additional members qualified in the first month."