Retail: 'Profiling,' Credit Union Style

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As credit unions we often say our members are very important to us. If that's true, why don't we take the time to get to know our members better? Right now your "top" members are on your competitor's prospect list. Members who feel neglected or taken for granted are ripe to be stolen away. By identifying your most valuable members and "profiling" them, you can begin winning their trust and deepening their relationship with you. Profiling is the practice of asking good questions to learn more about your members and recording the information on a profiling form or on-line document.

You might remember last year I mentioned Emma, my personal banker, in a previous article. Emma calls me now and then and is always asking good questions to discover more about my business and personal needs. As a result I feel that I am receiving the best service possible and happy to give her additional business.

To begin your relationship program, assign 50-150 of your most valuable members to your best member contact staff. The goal is to "manage their book of business." Ask them to call 10-25 members a week to introduce themselves, thank them for their business, review current accounts and ask about their satisfaction with your credit union. If you cannot get through by phone, leave a message or send a note asking for a phone appointment. Additional questions can include:

1. Hobbies, music, travel preferences and other interests.

2. Children's names as well as pets.

3. Future needs (lending/saving/investing/major purchases).

4. Existing accounts.

All information is recorded over time in a "member profile," preferably online, although a paper form will do. Developing a "client history" record is helpful when new staff take over existing member relationships. So if you want to protect and delight your "most valuable" members, begin your membership profiling process today.

Barbara Sanfilippo and Bob Romano, of Romano & Sanfilippo are consultants specializing in developing sales and service cultures.

For info: 877-478-2333, or www.romanosanfilippo.com.

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