‘Selling’ Need Not Be a Dirty Word
In 2010, the Filene Research Institute conducted a study, “Customer Experience and Credit Union Opportunities.” One of the key takeaways from the report centered on a perplexing fact. Consumers continue to love credit unions, especially compared to banks, but member satisfaction has not driven increases in market share. In a service-based industry, more satisfaction should yield more sales, right?
One answer is technology. Filene’s i3 program created an online financial assessment tool called Debt in Focus in 2009 to help consumers understand their debt and discover ways to improve their financial lives. We have never been more proud of an innovation idea from our program. More than half a million financial assessments have been delivered by the tool in the past three years.
Still, we were missing something. We collected tons of information about Debt in Focus users, created customized budgets for them to use and coached them on how they could improve. But we didn't go far enough in need-based consulting. If someone has a 18% APR credit card with Bank of America, and a credit union has a no annual fee credit card that charges only 12%, isn't that information the user would appreciate? If it's clear that a member is digging himself into a hole of high-interest debt, shouldn't we suggest a consolidation loan that will reduce his expenses?