Plenty of credit unions tout a personalized banking approach, but not many really pull it off. Most will offer a checklist of products from which to choose, but they are all standard variations on a theme. There really isn’t any customization, just a few choices of models. It’s a manufacturer’s mass production, mass market model.
The problem with this approach is that by trying to reach everyone, no one is exactly happy either. The member has to choose the closest thing to what they want, and the credit union is stuck selling basic needs – a commodity that always has a downward pressure on pricing.
Meanwhile, other industries are allowing individuals to truly personalize their purchases. Coke has developed new freestyle vending machines that allow people to mix different Coke products, then share their creation on Facebook. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines now offers “Meet & Seat” that ties in Facebook or LinkedIn profiles to help travelers decide who they want to sit next to (or not).
It’s part of a growing trend among companies that have found that personalizing a product increases consumer satisfaction, making it less likely they will switch brands. Plus, people will even pay more for a product they want.
So, why are credit unions still selling commodities?
Why not offer to customize a car loan’s due date to the third Friday of each month rather than a hard-to-remember fixed date, and juggle the term to 57 months so it’s paid off a couple of months before Christmas? Some CUs allow members to customize their debit cards with their own photo, or at least pick from several choices for a design they like.
If a member has three loans, a credit card, and a certificate with you, how might you surprise and delight them? Look at how you deliver your products — can you deliver a mortgage or car loan to the member at their convenience instead of making them come to you during business hours? Do your systems allow members to name their accounts whatever they want?
In short, how do you make your products and services fit your members so well that they would never leave?
How do you make it so amazing that they would gladly pay more?
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