Experience Trumps Service

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BY KEN BATOR

An insider’s glance into the recent Southern California Credit Union Alliance conference reveals an important takeaway for credit unions. Providing good service to your members is an expectation, not a differentiator. These days, it’s the experience you provide to your members that truly sets your CU apart.

“Adapting to a Changing World.” I think we have all been trying to do that for at least the past 20 years. Nevertheless, the Southern California Credit Union Alliance chose the phrase as their theme for their recent 2017 conference, and they truly hit that mark with their lineup of speakers. From Jim Abbott talking about overcoming the adversity of being born without a right hand to pitch a no-hitter for the New York Yankees to Brandon Michaels – the CEO of Mazuma Credit Union, whom I have previously profiled in this magazine – explaining why creating a passionate following is more important than asset size, every session gave attendees clear ideas on how to adapt.

However, I would have to say my favorite presentation was led by Dave DeFazio, Partner for StrategyCorps. In true Jerry Maguire “You had me at hello” fashion, he had me with his first slide labeled “Experience Trumps Service.” I told Dave just before my interview with him that I was going to steal that line.

Those three words encapsulate what I have been saying for years. That it’s not just about providing good service. Good service, maybe even great service, is ubiquitous today. Every consumer expects flawless service whether he’s applying for a loan or ordering a cheeseburger. Even the best of service results in a “meets expectations” interaction in the minds of most members. But a true experience exceeds expectations. As Dave quoted Warren Tomlin, recognized as one of “Marketing Magazine’s” 100 Thought Leaders and serving as IBM Global Chief Innovation Officer, “A person’s last experience is their new expectation.”


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