Jim Knight

Rock Your CU’s Service Culture

CUs need rock stars not lip syncers to amp up the brand, culture champion says.

October 2, 2015

Jim Knight is on a mission to change the service culture in this country. The former head of training and development for Hard Rock International closed out the CUNA Tech/OpSS Council Conference Wednesday in Orlando with a high-energy, “rockin’” presentation.

Knight called on credit union leaders to create truly differentiated service for their members. If successful, members will keep coming back, take on additional services, and talk enthusiastically about the organization within their social networks.

To achieve this, it is imperative that every team member is like the massively popular rock band U2: “Singing off the same sheet of music.”

Knight said this only comes through the creation and embodiment of a member-obsessed purpose, where the credit union communicates clearly and with urgency to its members, “I will do anything for you.”

In his wide-ranging talk, Knight drew on examples from the diverse worlds of business and music to illustrate outstanding customer-oriented experiences.

Paragons of service include the fast-food franchise Chick-fil-A, which puts every new employee through a full two-day training program before they start learning their positions, and shows them an emotionally resonant video highlighting that “every person has a story.”

Credit unions can learn valuable lessons from organizations as varied as Zappos, the online shoe retailer, to Pike’s Place Fish Market in Seattle.

Like these other service organizations, credit unions are in the “memory-making business.” Memories equal “raving fans,” which translates into long-term loyalty.

Above all, said Knight, credit unions need rock stars, not “lip syncers” to “amp up the brand” and help move the organization forward by creating a loyalty-based, member-obsessed internal culture.