Consultant Claims Majority Of CUs Fail Business 101

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A company that said it placed phone calls to more than 800 credit unions recently is reporting that the vast majority failed business 101.

Mark Adams' company, Springboro, Ohio-based EnthusiAdams, said his company found after calling those credit unions that 95% did not perform the elementary steps of speaking to the caller by his or her name, or asking for the person's business.

"It is one thing to have great-looking marketing materials, but it means nothing if the credit union doesn't have the information in the hands of the right people," he declared to the CUNA Marketing Council's conference here.

Two of the more egregious examples Adams recorded of poor CU call center performance: "I don't know how to compare a bank with a credit union," and "Could you please call me back when I'm not so busy."

In 1991, when Adams was in the first year of his stint as head men's basketball coach at Central Connecticut State University, his team lost to the powerhouse squad from the University of Connecticut by 59 points on its way to being rated No. 301 of the 301 teams in college basketball's Division I-A.

A few years later, Central Connecticut State began winning. The difference, according to Adams, was improved talent, not improved coaching.

"It was amazing how much smarter I became as a coach when I had a 7'2 center who blocked our opponents' shots," he quipped.

Adams sees many parallels between coaching a sports team and running a business-it's not hard, it's just a matter of executing fundamentals.

"Be personal, not corporate," he said. "Worry about being morally right, not politically correct. Coaching is creating an environment of roving leadership. A good coach is more of a shepherd than a general. Teach one-on-one, and don't embarrass people."

The most important question a coach can ask his players is: What can I do to help you improve? According to Adams, steering people towards their "career-best effort" is the same in the CU world.

"It is simple-write down and call people by name. If a credit union did that, it would be better than 95% of its peers. If every call center representative set a goal to call 20 members a day by their names, that would be 100 members per week."

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