Decorations everywhere. Casual meeting rooms. Cheering. Bell ringing. Hooting and hollering. An armed battalion marching through the office. Personalized office space. CEO in a cubicle. Sharpie writing on the staircase wall. Free lunch, soda, and snacks. No, this is not a credit union…this is what I saw when I visited the Zappos headquarters last week in Las Vegas. But, that is only part of the story. This is a company with top of the line service levels, dedicated employees, and happy customers. I went into the tour as a credit union professional and wanted to see what components of the Zappos way could be adapted to a credit union. Now, I don’t think most members would appreciate an armed battalion marching through the lobby singing Sound Off, but imagine a credit union that did that. What would it look like?

Would a fun and casual branch environment be more inviting to the younger demographic that most credit unions are trying to attract? Members would walk into a branch and each employee would have a personalized, decorated desk. Employees would ring a bell or do a cheer when a member pays off a loan, makes a savings goal, and sing happy birthday on a member’s birthday. Members are randomly given surprise gifts or opportunities to play a game for a prize. Employees are allowed to dress however they choose as long as respectful. Ok, maybe that is a stretch and an inaccurate comparison since Zappos is not serving their customers face-to-face like a branch. But, sometimes you need to look at the extremes to come up with something new and innovative.

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