What Signs Do Your Credit Union Send To Members?

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Today's credit union member will most likely use a combination of office visits and Internet transactions. One effective strategy for increasing more deposit and loan activity at your credit union is to encourage members to visit your offices more often.

For many years, community banks offered coffee and cookies to their customers. During the early 1990s, when many of the community banks merged into larger institutions, this relatively inexpensive service was trimmed from the budget. Recently, more financial service companies have started offering coffee again-some have even installed an espresso bar! This reactivated complimentary service is all about the customer having a good experience while performing financial transactions.

Complimentary coffee and cookies may not be the decisive factor for choosing a credit union, but it will add a personal touch to the member's experience while visiting your office.

In the past decade, many financial service companies have also realized that effective signage and merchandising placement creates a lobby that is easy for the customer to navigate. The moment members enter your credit union the signage should direct or inform them where they need to go for a product or service. The merchandising displays should have content that entices your members to ask about your products and services.

When deciding on the signage and the posters for your merchandising displays, consider the distance it will be viewed from and the contrast between the copy and background. The type style and size is also very important. Your older clients will appreciate the larger and/or bolder type along with the high contrast between the message and the background.

If the credit union uses an information desk, the word "Information" should be noticeable when the member enters the office. Credit unions can direct their members to an employee by having the proper signage in place. In addition, department identification should also be prominent throughout the office.

Consider enhancing your credit union with a freestanding merchandising kiosk. Kiosks come in configurations between one and six sides for displaying marketing materials. They are typically used to display your promotional posters, product literature, investment and loan rates, community events, and even mandatory regulations.

Today kiosks are available in sleek modern styling or handcrafted wood for a warm, traditional look. Look for a kiosk that offers the flexibility to change the configuration as well as quality craftsmanship so it will look as good in five years as the day it was delivered.

To effectively promote an attractive loan or investment product, consider a rate display that features one or two rates in large type. The options for displaying a feature rate are: on a kiosk in your lobby, in the window or on a desktop. The kiosk and window display should have the same type height, about seven inches high. In the lobby, the feature rate should be visible from anywhere in your office. In the window, it should be visible from across the street.

The desktop display unit will only have a number height about one-and-one-half-inch because of the size constraint. This is still visible from at least 12 feet away without making the unit too large for the desk.

An ideal location for poster displays with your marketing messages should be in the line of sight where customers are waiting. Poster displays can be placed in windows, on doors, be wall mounted, or freestanding.

It looks unprofessional and unsightly to tape notices to your entrance. Instead, purchase a clear acrylic poster frame that can be mounted to the glass door. This will allow you to insert a two-sided notice to reinforce your message as members enter and exit your office.

Teller information displays will eliminate clutter at teller windows by accommodating several different message components within a durable, one-piece metal frame. These teller displays can be surface-mounted or counter top style.

Regardless of how many teller lines are open, there will be waiting times for service. If the wait is reasonable, this can work to your advantage. Be sure to place your merchandising displays in areas where they can be viewed during wait times. Make sure the literature racks are within easy reach of the people standing in line. They should also be neat and well stocked. It is a waste of your time and a wasted expense if no one is reading the marketing literature. Merchandising displays, with different marketing promotions, will help you cross sell products. Make sure members are aware of all the services your credit union offers.

People need to know if the credit union is open or closed for a particular holiday. Make sure you post these signs a few weeks in advance to remind people that the office will be closed on these particular days.

A golden opportunity for credit unions to reach their members is drive-through lanes. The bottom seven inches of the drive-through window can be used to post information such as your logo, hours, policy, and insurance logo. It is recommended that you merchandise your drive-through lanes with either weather resistant banner stands or poster displays. Both of these methods promote your products to members who rarely use the lobby.

Because of the competition credit unions face from banks, it is always important to make a good first impression. If the credit union can visually communicate with its members, especially new members, it will deliver a positive message. That credit union is telling its members it cares about them, and wants their business.

Mr. Ottow is National Accounts Manager with Kane Graphical Corp., Chicago, which provides signage and merchandising displays for financial service companies. Mr. Ottow can be reached at 800-992-2921, ext. 135 or at dottow kanegraphical.com.

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