Service Without Reservation

A recent trip to the luxurious Broadmoor Hotel offers value lessons in outstanding service.

July 2, 2012

I recently enjoyed a hiatus to the lovely and luxurious Broadmoor Hotel and Resort, located in beautiful Colorado Springs.

What created a spectacular vacation was the consistently superior guest service we enjoyed. Our interactions with various “departments” at the hotel were stellar and personalized. “How can we assist the Bray party?” was a cheerful greeting at each point of service, from the parking valet to the concierge.

The Broadmoor took the time to provide seamless interactions and anticipate our needs. All “departments” collaborated to ensure outstanding service.

No one entity competed with the others. Rather, I noted a “big picture” presentation of service quality facilitated by an awareness of our stay amongst various touch points. Staff asked about various concerns we’d expressed, verified our satisfaction with amenities already utilized, and positioned us for the next fabulous service opportunity.

Lora Kloth is a research librarian at CUNA.
Lora Bray is research librarian at CUNA.

I can’t wait to go back.

Do you exceed members’ service expectations with demonstration of obvious department collaborations and an understanding of member needs? How might you create fluid, superior member service interactions that will not only ensure loyalty but promote member growth?

An open flow of information and understanding members’ needs will ensure effective service strategies.

Consumer trends

Credit unions can better serve their members by understanding how they spend their time. See the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) “American Time Use Survey—2011 Results” which reveals that a significant amount of time is spent caring for others.

In 2011, 16% of U.S. residents were eldercare providers who “spent an average of 3.1 hours providing this care.”

Further, “Adults living in households with at least one child under age six spent an average of 5.5 hours per day providing secondary childcare,” which is to say that multitasking takes place during this time.

Meanwhile, the Census Bureau reports that shared households increased 11.4% from 2007 to 2010.

Shared households account for 18.7% of all households: “Our analysis suggests that adults and families coped with challenging economic circumstances over the course of the recession by joining households or combining households…” says a Census Bureau analyst.

We can also examine the Federal Reserve report, “Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2007 to 2010: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances.” Along with reporting income and savings trends, this study comments on consumer behavior in shopping for financial services.

“More families turn to friends, family members, or associates for financial information than to any other source of information on borrowing or investing…Sellers of financial services…and the Internet are either the second or third most frequently cited sources of information for borrowing or investing.”

Are consumers making wise financial decisions—and where are they putting their money? How do such choices affect your business and our economy?

One answer may be revealed in “Deloitte Shadow Banking Index Debuts: ‘Only’ $9.3 Trillion in Size at End of 2011.” Shadow banking instruments as defined by Deloitte include money market mutual funds, asset-backed commercial paper, and other components that exist “at least partly outside of the traditional banking system” and lack certain government guarantees.

Deloitte claims this market “may not be as large today as regulators” feared, however, it is important to note that “with regulatory changes and financial innovation looming, the shadow banking system could creep back very quickly.”

And, “With other size estimates ranging from $10 trillion to $60 trillion, we think shadow banking is a concept continuing to look for a better definition.”

Employment news

A Rutgers report sheds light on the needs and attitudes of younger members in, “Left Out. Forgotten. Recent High School Graduates and the Great Recession.”

Most realize additional education is required to secure the future they want, however, “only 38% say they ‘definitely’ plan to attend college…with another 25% saying they ‘probably will.’ ”

Economic barriers persist, as 34% can’t afford college and 37% say they must work to get by. Pessimism reigns: By a four-to-one margin, this generation expects to be worse off financially than the previous generation. College graduates share similar feelings.

What’s the answer to the question of financial security for these workers?

And what about multiple jobholders? See “Multiple Jobholding in states in 2011” by the BLS.

It finds that, “From 2010 to 2011, multiple jobholding rates decreased in 28 states…increased in 20 states, and were unchanged in two states. The annual average multiple-jobholding rate for the United States was 4.9% in 2011, unchanged from a year earlier.”

What percentage of your membership holds multiple jobs? How do they find time to make financial choices?

Don’t forget older workers, who have unique financial needs in “retirement.” BLS’ “Older Workers and Short-Term Jobs: Patterns and Determinants” analyzes work experiences with regard to retirement income security.

It concludes “retirement is not a one-time, permanent event for many career workers. In fact, most older Americans retire gradually, in stages, and often re-enter the labor market after a significant time away from it… Earnings from work fill the gap where other retirement income sources fall short.”

Your members are busy with family and job responsibilities. Employment dictates not only economic security, but also living arrangements.

Time may be short as your members struggle to make good financial decisions—perhaps it’s simpler to follow the advice of a well-meaning but ill-informed friend when the time comes to make critical financial decisions. Consumers may not realize the consequences of such choices at the time they are made.

Be the trusted authority. Cooperation will create outstanding service experiences to keep members coming back.

Know their history with your institution, their current lifestyle realities, and their future needs to accurately position them for the next stellar service opportunity you will provide.

They won’t wait to come back.

LORA BRAY is a research librarian in CUNA's business-to-business publishing department.