There's a lot you can learn from the haters, the not-so-greaters, and the merely lukewarm. And you can use these lessons to spark joy in the people you can delight. Grumps are a great source of valuable market research.

Learn to love your haters

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but… not everyone is five stars, A++++, bonkers crazy in love with your credit union. No matter how awesome you are, not everyone will agree.

But here’s the good news: that’s OK. Really.

There’s a lot you can learn from the haters, the not-so-greaters, and the merely lukewarm. And you can use these lessons to spark joy in the people you can delight. Grumps are a great source of valuable market research.

Look for the stories

If you get blasted on Facebook, or there’s a mean Tweet, or a (gasp) less-than-five-stars review on Google, the first thing to do is, well, nothing. Get some emotional distance, then think about the person who wrote this.

Unless it’s a bot or a troll, there’s probably a real person with real feelings out there. Look for the stories underneath. What actually happened, and what can you learn? If it’s a real instance of a real problem, is it worth reaching out to see what else you can learn and figure out how to fix it?

This can be a surprisingly delicate decision – you might need to think carefully about your social media policy, and consult with your team about who responds and how.

Do you let things fizzle out, or dig deeper? Sometimes people just need to vent, and sometimes you need to reach out right away to fix a problem.

Watch for patterns

Don’t get stuck on what one random grumpus said. But set up social media alerts and watch for patterns – they might point you to a problem you need to fix, or a tough truth you need to face. If multiple people are complaining that your online loan app timed out, or they couldn’t use online banking, or no one answered the phone on Friday, these might point to technical issues that need to be handled pronto.

Or if a lot of folks are frustrated because they got turned down for loans, maybe it’s time to figure out how you can meet the needs of more members.

You can also get some great, very specific ideas from specific gripes. You know maybe we really do need to be able to communicate via text message, or maybe we should look at extending hours downtown. If computer science majors are having trouble using our online banking or finding info on our website, everyone else probably is too.

Sometimes you just have to let it go and focus

Much as they’d like to be, credit unions can’t be everything to everyone. And the followup is also true: no one can please everyone all the time.

Some people just aren’t ever going to be happy, and some folks just aren’t going to be compatible with your credit union. Answering the question “who ISN’T for us?” or “that’s something we just won’t do” is a powerful way to focus on the people you can delight with the things you can do.

Don’t ever take it personally, but make sure you pay close attention to negative feedback. There’s a lot of valuable information you can use if you sift out the stories behind the grousing.

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