Member retention is essential to the success of any credit union. Spending a lot of time, money and effort in getting a member only to lose them is like throwing money away. Your members are an investment, and while some churn or turnover is inevitable, it pays, literally, to take care of the ones that you have and nurture them. In turn, they can become not only a member but a marketing tool--spreading the word about your credit union, generating leads, referring new members and providing first-hand testimonials.
One of the biggest mistakes any company, not just credit unions, can make is to rest on their laurels, and assume once they’ve got the customer and sold them the product or service, the relationship is over. There is still a tremendous value to be realized in maintaining that mutually beneficial and on-going relationship.
What is your credit union's retention rate?
Credit unions are an excellent example of customer retention in action. By providing remarkable member services, and personalized financial solutions, credit unions are known for their high retention rates and member loyalty. The most successful ones understand the value of member retention and that it's a crucial part of the formula for success. By calculating and assessing your member retention rate, you can tell not only how successful you are at acquiring new members, but also how good you are at satisfying the existing ones. The member retention rate can be calculated by:
(# Members at End of Period - # Members Acquired During Period) / # Members at Start of Period
= Member Retention Rate
It's a proven fact that returning members invest more in your credit union; for non-financial companies, only a 5% increase in customer retention rates can increase a company's revenue by 25-95%. While credit unions are a different beast in many ways, member retention is one that holds true across the board. Members who already know the value in your product or service return again and again, and that provides a huge ROI.
Improve your retention rate
If you find you are struggling with member retention at your credit union, here are some things to consider in order to improve that number.
Keeping the lines of communication open with your existing members will help you to understand what keeps them coming back for more, and will provide a great foundation to build on when designing your retention strategy. Look for opportunities to communicate with your members in order to get that feedback. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you build communication into your retention strategy:
- Ensure you communicate on a regular basis: Some of your members might stop in monthly to check on their account, while others prefer to communicate digitally. Find a way to stay in contact with your members--whether it's emailing them, inviting them to take a survey, read an informational blog and comment, or following up by phone after a visit.
- Keep records of past communications and any problems or concerns: In the event that a member reaches out to you for personalized service, you want to be sure that no matter who speaks with them, that the full history of the relationship is notated. This will ensure seamless service and assure the member that they are important to you.
- Member relationship management: Ensure your member has a relationship with your whole team or branch. A member might enjoy a particular relationship with a certain teller, visiting and chatting frequently, but if that teller moves on or is promoted, you don't want that member to feel lost when making the change or lose that connection with your branch.
- Ask for feedback: Directly ask your member what they like about your branch and its products, and build on that. If there's something that can be improved upon, do so, and incorporate their ideas if possible.
Support your members at every turn. If possible, build a plan for your financial future together. Suggest you sit down and talk ideas through, set financial goals, and explain the products that can achieve them. Doing so will show them that they are more than a one-time investment and that you plan to work with them for the long haul. To be successful:
- Set expectations early and often: Show them the products (and services) available and set a realistic expectation on performance and outcomes. Provide excellent member services and help them work through newly implemented technologies and apps. Offer them cutting-edge software that protects their investments and data, and provide 24-7 tech support.
- Help map out or plan for life events: Show them that you intend to be part of their financial future, and help them plan for those big life events; i.e. graduation and college, weddings, retirement, and grandkids. Check in periodically and modify them if need be, or allow for the proverbial "fork in the road."
- Reward loyalty: Be sure your retention plan includes a way to provide more value to your members. It is one of the best methods to build a meaningful and loyal relationship with your members. This might be as simple as creating a customer loyalty or rewards program. Consider offering reduced interest for one-time payments, cash back, or points towards a purchase or gift.
Using all of these tools will help you stay in tune with your members, and help to formulate a successful plan on how to keep them. A retained member is the ultimate ROI, and showing them the credit union difference should be part of any retention plan. To help improve the services you offer members and create a more streamlined offering across your channels, check out the FLEX Member Services eGuide.