By Bluepoint Solutions

Published in Part on CUToday.info on February 14, 2016

HENDERSON, Nev.—When meeting someone new, the chance to make a first impression—good or otherwise—lasts a tenth of a second, says one analyst, who adds that for credit unions seeking new members the opportunity to win them over could also slip away just that fast.

Alissa Fry-Harris, director of marketing for Bluepoint Solutions, noted CUs at the start of the year have likely identified the new services and service enhancements they will introduce over the next 12 months, as well as created plans for how they will market them.

“But consider this—if you haven’t specifically evaluated how these services will contribute to a superb first impression, your conversion rate will fall short of its full potential. That’s probably not something you want to leave to chance,” said Fry-Harris, who recommends credit unions study how a new service will impact consumer perception of the CU.

Staff Need Time

Factors that drive first impressions are well-studied in the case of job interviews, for example, or political speeches or social events, she said.

“But what factors determine a prospective new member’s first impression of a credit union? How will their first impression be affected by the services you roll out this year?” Fry-Harris asked.

In the branch, what can markedly impact consumers’ opinion of the CU is how much employee time is freed by a new system or service, freeing them to focus on prospective members instead of on back-office tasks, noted Harris.

“Productivity savings are only one result of streamlining repetitive processes. The reallocation of employee time to provide more personal service may be just as valuable in the long run,” she said.

As other experts have shared concerns over, electronic interactions—online or mobile—can remove the “human factor” from a transaction.

“What takes the place of your tellers’ listening skills or your inviting branch lobby? How do you demonstrate your values and trustworthiness in a single instant without personal contact?” asked Fry-Harris.

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