There are two main types of loyalty that have been widely accepted within academic circles, attitudinal and behavioral loyalty.
Behavioral loyalty is where a consumer will repeatedly purchase a product or use a service without any conscious or active thought. There are many different reasons why a consumer may succumb to behavioral loyalty, whether out of routine or convenience. Attitudinal loyalty is where a customer will go out of their way to actively seek a specific store, company or brand with which they wish to do business.
As credit unions, most of us strive to that ultimate goal of full attitudinal loyalty. We want our members to love us, love who we are, what we do and what we stand for. We want our members to come to us because we are credit unions, faces behind finances, friends. But do your members view you this way?
Members may join under this pretence, but after joining, do they continue to use our services because of their deep routed ethics and emotions? Or because that is simply how they now conduct their finances?
When a member is behaviorally loyal, they will continue to use products, which for credit unions mean they will take out multiple loans, sign up for insurance products and more. This is the foundation of our business. Without lending, we cannot make the profits we need to show returns for our members.
So the conundrum. Do we want attitudinally loyal members, or behaviorally loyal members?
The answer in short: We need both.
We need members who will be our advocates and tell their friends how good we are, how we can help. But we also need members who will keep using us just because. You’re going to find fewer attitudinally loyal members than you are behaviorally loyal ones, and that’s OK. The attitudinal ones will keep singing your praises. The behavioral ones will keep using services. Hopefully, they’ll rub off on one another.
Always strive to give members the kind of service, guidance and support that converts a behavior into an attitude.
James Marshall is marketing manager at Plane Saver Credit Union, London.
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