A New Take On Member Experience: Onsite Coverage
NEW ORLEANS — Attendees at CO-OP Financial Services’ THINK 14 conference have developed a new brand positioning statement that conference organizers hope credit unions around the country might use to help update their own statements.
“A credit union is”, according to the new statement attendees created on Wednesday with the help of the THINK 14 conference app, “a financial institution that delivers trust and value because of our commitment to caring and community.”
Attendees were asked to use the app to give one-word answers to a series of four questions posed by CO-OP Vice President for Marketing Samantha Paxson. The responses then appeared, real time, in a word bubble on a screen in the front of the room before being tabulated for use in the sentence.
The sentence development was the precursor to CO-OP’s announcement of its Empowering People, Amplifying Dreams campaign and set the stage for two afternoon presentations which asked attendees to question how well they really know their members’ lives and needs for financial services.
Using the experience of a 19th century inventor, William Henry Perkin, to launch her talk customer experience consultant Kate Feather urged attendees to remain open to the possibilities of new markets and new members.
Feather is director of the customer experience transformation practice at PeopleMetrics, a Philadelphia-based consultancy.
While working as a very young chemist on the search to synthesize quinine as an anti-malarial compound, Perkin stumbled across a method to manufacture mauveine, the first synthetic, chemical dye for the color mauve.
“Before Perkin's discovery,” Feather told the meeting, “the only source for this particular color was the mucous from a certain type of mollusk and extracting it was an unpleasant, slow and expensive task.”
Perkin’s genius, Feather said, was recognizing the economic and market possibilities represented by the discovery and being willing to follow those even though they were completely different from what he had been looking for when he found the compound.
Like Perkins, Feather suggested, credit unions need to be aware and open to the time in which they live and dubbed this era the age of the consumer.
“No product or service will long succeed that doesn't take into account the consumer experience,” Feather said, “giving consumers what they truly want and need.”
Read more: consumer experience not the same as customer service ...
She emphasized that consumer experience differs from customer service, using Amazon.com to illustrate her point that most of the attendees valued their experiences using Amazon.com even if only a small portion of them had ever used the retailer’s customer service.
Customer experience is the sum total of all the interactions between the organization and the customer, Feather said, everything from visits to a brick and mortar location, use of online and mobile services as well as a call center.
Building a strong customer experience, Feather said, means really listening to your customers or members about what they really want.
For example, financial service executives surveyed about what they thought most important for their customers replied that technology and being on the cutting edge of technology was the most important, but a survey of those customers found technology and new technology to be far lower on the list of priorities.
How well do you know your members’ lives and needs, Feather asked, compared to how well you think you know them?
Ivan Askwith, a film producer and digital strategist, presented after Feather and picked up on her message, noting in the customer experience, “It really isn't about you, it's about them.”
Askwith presented about his experience as helping to organize the Kickstarter effort to finance a movie based on the canceled television series “Veronica Mars.”
Kickstarter.com is an Internet site that allows the public to invest in different sorts of artistic or commercial projects, usually for some non-financial return tied to the project.
The “Veronica Mars” movie effort raised $5.7 million for the project, more than $3 million more than was needed, Askwith reported, and involved almost 100,000 investors, a record that still stands on the site.
Askwith didn't focus on the details of the effort itself as much as what it signaled about the customer experience in the television industry that he described as a broken business model.
First, he said the organizers were struck by how many of the investors to the project felt real ownership in it and partnership with the people producing the film, a feeling they sought to cultivate with frequent communication and other means.
Second, he had personally been interested in the numbers of investors who said they were giving money to the effort, even though they didn't particularly like the show, because they wanted to send a message to an entertainment industry they felt had ignored them for too long.
Askwith put his story in the context of other industries such as the railroads and video rental firms. These have all either failed or fallen on hard economic times because they didn't understand the business they were truly in, Askwith said.
The railroads thought they were in the business of rail lines and shipping without understanding they were really in the transportation industry, he said. Video stores failed when they didn't realize that its business was not really video rental but entertainment.
What, Askwith asked, is the business of credit unions?