Develop Confidence as a Universal Employee

Develop Confidence as a Universal Employee

Make it all about your members and the positive experience you create for them.

January 15, 2016

Has your credit union world turned upside down because you now find yourself face to face with members in the middle of the lobby?

Do you feel lost and challenged to have a professional interaction with your members without the comfort of your desk as a barrier?

Does this new reality make you feel uncomfortable?

Good news: You’re not alone.

Credit unions all over the country are moving from a traditional model, with teller stations and member service representative/lender desks, to open-floor concepts that promote greater interaction through universal employees who handle a greater variety of member requests.

To provide members value with this approach, you must be comfortable and confident in this new setting. Keeping four essentials in mind will provide you the tools and know-how to create an exceptional member experience that builds long-term, trusting relationships with our members.

Preparation is key. Comfort and confidence come from believing that “you’ve got this.”

To ensure you handle every situation professionally, it’s vital to be ready for anything that comes your way. As you know, each member’s needs—and approach—can vary greatly.

The four essentials are:

1. Become an expert in the most common situations that come your way.

Strive to exceed your members’ expectations and you’ll come across as confident and comfortable. I often hear, “It’s easier if the member signs in, and then I call them to my desk.”

That sounds like someone who wants to control when the interaction begins, and which members to serve. Relax and go with the flow.

2. Make it all about your members and the positive experience you create for them.

Stay focused on that mission, and you’ll wow each and every member. Greeting the members in the lobby is very different from waiting for someone to arrive at your workstation. In this new world, you engage members proactively.

Make eye contact early, smile, extend your hand, and welcome the member to the credit union.

3. Make your greeting count.

This lays the foundation for positive outcomes and a successful interaction. If you stick with simple wording, and come across as friendly and welcoming, you’re off to a good start.

4. Understand how your members benefit from the change, and enthusiastically share those advantages with them.

The new branch configuration might feel strange to you, and members might tell you it’s weird. But advancing that narrative undermines your credit union’s investment in this concept.

Some members will love the change and some will warm to it, while others just won’t like anything about change, period. That’s life.

And that’s why you have to get to the heart of the reasons for this restructuring. Your credit union leaders’ vision for better serving your members prompted this change.

If you don’t fully understand the “why,” request more details so you can better acclimate members to the value universal employees bring.

JAYNE HITMAN is a business development manager for CUNA’s Creating Member Loyalty™ program.