FMCU Welcomes Home Members

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Thanks to a program called "Welcome Home," members of Franklin Mint FCU are staying home.

The Broomall, Penn.-based FMFCU rolled out its member satisfaction and retention program to reduce member turnover, both reducing costs and increasing revenue in the process. During The Journal's Best Practices conference, Regional VP Dan Catamusto outlined the reasons the CU developed the program in conjunction with Deluxe's Knowledge Exchange Cooperative.

Catamusto said 63% of customers at any business will stop using that company's ervices based on a negative experience. That's why Franklin Mint created "Welcome Home," which relies upon using acts such as making eye-to-eye contact, greeting the member by name and even walking them to the door after a transaction. It pays attention to the minutia, such as what odors a member encounters when entering a branch. "Do you know what your branches smell like?" he asked, eliciting laughs.

Indeed, the credit union has done more than just make its branches feel better. Management and employees cleaned out and refreshed many of the facilities. The goal was to give members all the right "clues" that the credit union cares. "We 'clue-scanned' our branches. From one we removed 18 bags of trash. It can be enlightening to see how the branch is kept," he explained. Now, Franklin Mint's branches all have "champions," someone other than the branch manager charged with being aware of the "clues" being sent members.

The investment by Franklin Mint FCU is paying off. After formally training staff in member-interaction skills, he reported that members now have a 92% overall member satisfaction rate. Members reporting the likelihood of doing business with Franklin Mint increased to 90%, with 85% saying they would recommend the CU to others. In brief, the program makes members feel welcome, engaged and significant.

"What we're truly changing is our behavior. They really want a pleasant experience when they come in," he said. "The key is to woo and wow the member during the first 90 days, but other members feel it, as well."

Catamusto mentioned several simple but spontaneous actions on the part of employees to better satisfiy members. In one case, an employee answered a telephone call from a blind member asking for directions to the branch from the bus stop. The employee walked to the stop, greeted the man and escorted him to the branch. Now the man can come to the CU branch on his own, he said. "What's that cost the company? Nothing," he said.

Catamusto also said branch employees have gotten into the spirit of "Welcome Home" by bringing in scented candles and fresh-baked cookies to create a pleasant CU experience. The Welcome Home approach works with employees, as well, as the credit union has reduced turnover.

"How simple was that?" he asked.

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