Can Your Frontline Recover?
Last week my daughter developed pink eye after our normal pharmacy was already closed so I was sent to the other pharmacy in our area. The pharmacist mistakenly declared there was no co-pay for the purchase and sent us on our way. A few days later, I received an angry phone call from someone else at the pharmacy who was shocked that this mistake had happened. They went on to slam the poor guy that made the mistake, and demanded I come in immediately to pay for the prescription. So back to the pharmacy I went. I had to explain the situation to four different employees and wait for 45 minutes while they discussed how to proceed right in front of me. Turns out their system couldn’t accept my $10.00 at this point due to how the initial mistake was entered. Again, they mentioned how stupid the first guy must have been and now the person that called me was an idiot in their eyes too. Eventually, they agreed that I had waited long enough and it was time to let the $10.00 go. They apologized for the inconvenience and sent me on my way.
There were a few opportunities throughout this whole ordeal that the negative experience could have been turned around, but those opportunities were wasted. Finally, waiving the co-pay could be viewed as a last ditch effort to save the interaction, but it was too late – the amount of time I ended up wasting with this pharmacy and how negative they made me feel certainly won’t be forgotten.
Parts of this experience could have possibly been blamed on just one of the employees or even attributed randomly to the circumstances – but the whole experience had me really questioning this particular company and even more specifically their lack in arming their front-line staff with the training and tools necessary for recovery. Studies show that some of the strongest customer loyalty comes not from smooth customer service experiences but from those times when something went wrong and the company did a stellar job in making things right.
According to Celeste Cook, President/CEO of cuSrategies and opening keynoter for this year’s CUNA FUSE “Frontline staff is the face of your institution. They have mega influence on whether you prosper, earn client loyalty, and develop new relationships. Everything frontline employees do and say or don’t do and say impacts growth and retention.” Cook shared these insights about the connection between employees and growth and retention in a recent article for Branch Manager’s Letter. She goes on to state that “The touch points and opportunities afforded frontline staff to build and strengthen client relationships are far greater and have a far greater impact on growth and retention than any other delivery channel.”
With frontline staff at credit unions playing such an important role it is imperative that they be ready to handle all member interactions, even the really negative ones, as an opportunity for growth. What about the frontline staff at your credit union?
- Do they see the importance of the job they are doing and how strongly that can impact the success of your credit union?
- Have they been provided with adequate training?
- Are they rewarded for exemplary service to members?
- Are they empowered to do what is necessary to turn a negative member experience into a positive opportunity for the credit union?
I’m hoping that the answer is yes to most of the above questions, if not, what are you doing to ensure a simple $10.00 transaction doesn’t turn in to the loss of a loyal member?