One CU Gets Its ACT Together On Tracking

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If a credit union has a strong SEG recruitment business development program, sometimes the hardest part is keeping track of all the business it's bringing in.

That's why Spokane Teachers CU created its own database to manage its SEG and member relationships, according to Jackie Wright, business development manager at the $700-million CU in Washington State.

"No matter what you're doing to promote your credit union, be it direct mail marketing, advertising, benefits fairs, lunch and learns-it's all about relationships," Wright told attendees of The Credit Union Journal's SEG & Business Development Conference. "We're all under the gun with a lot of competition. We knew we had to have a strategic direction for targeting growth that goes beyond just promoting loans or deposits. It has to be about deepening member relationships."

Wright related that when she first started, STCU had about 60 SEGs and simply had an Excel spread sheet listing them taped to the desk. "How can you keep track and monitor your SEGs when that's all you've got?" she asked.

More importantly, she asked, how can a credit union get from mass marketing to one-to-one marketing? The key, she said, is creating a strong database. Now that STCU has more than 100 SEGs, having a database for contact and relationship management is all the more important.

"Initially, I didn't even ask for CRM, I knew we needed something in the interim," Wright noted, explaining that to keep costs down, she researched the ACT Database, which actually came with the credit unioin's data processing system but simply hadn't been used. "When I created our database, I created a shell that other departments could use, too, then kept the business development database specific to our department so no one else can go in there and mess up our information."

But how does something that never interacts with a single member help deepen the member relationship?

"The database is better than gingko biloba-it reminds you of the last conversation you had with a particular contact. It tells you if that person is a golfer and when was the last time you golfed with that person," Wright offered. "It tells you which benefits a SEG has taken advantage of and when. It allows you to offer a personal touch every time you contact that person."

Of course, it only does this if the user takes the time to enter all the appropriate information. "When creating your database, you want to list the person's contact information, but you need to go beyond that," she suggested. "Include the date the SEG joined, the contact's birthdate, spouse's name, children's names, their interests and passions. A database is only as strong as the information you record into it."

Wright also suggested having a section where a business development officer can record the "history" of the contact-stuff mentioned in the last conversation, where they met last, who was present and interesting things of what is happening in the contact's life.

"You want to record any connections you made so you can rekindle that connection the next time you talk with them," she commented. "Include any concerns they said they had about the credit union and how you addressed them."

In the case of SEGs, it's important to include a section that describes the type of business the SEG does, as well as what the SEG's fiscal year is so the credit union will know when the SEG is reviewing its benefits program, open enrollment, etc.

"You've got to start somewhere," Wright suggested. "You'll need to get some training so you can maintain the database yourself. At some point, I want a credit union-wide database network so tellers have access to it and use that as cues for when they're talking to members, too. But what we've got right now is a really good start."

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