Delivering Happiness to Our Members

This entry was posted by Friday, 15 October, 2010
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Treated Like Royalty...

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the Technology Council Conference.  The Technology Council and the OpSS Council combined forces this year to present two amazing events in one amazing venue: Las Vegas. This format allowed participants to listen to keynote speakers in a communal space, while giving them the option to choose  breakout sessions from either the Technology or OpSS tracks.   It was my first CUNA Council event in over ten years and I was not disappointed.

During a break between sessions, I had the opportunity to visit Zappos, the mecca of customer satisfaction. If you have read any of my previous posts, you will know I have a soft spot in my heart for Zappos. I had signed up for the free tour  as soon as I learned I would be going to Vegas for the conference. A little before 10:00am on Wednesday morning I got a call from Andrea, “can-do coordinator” at Zappos and my chauffeur for the morning. She was calling to let me know she was a little early for pick-up (sweet), but when I was ready, she would be waiting for me out front. I was impressed by the fact that Zappos sends its employees (rather than a car service) to pick up their tour-goers.  I knew I was in for quite ”an experience.”

On our short ride out to Zappos, Andrea told me about her experience working for Zappos and how lucky she was to work there. Not only had she done the customary four week call center training program that every employee is required to do, she had passed up the $2000 they offered her at the end of that period, to quit. By month’s end, she was already enamored with the Zappos culture, and no amount of money would entice her to resign. In the three years she had been employed since, her passion for her employer had grown even stronger. I could tell by the way she looked me in the eye  (through the rear-view mirror) when she spoke, by the way she smiled, and the pride in her voice when she told me about her various tasks.

We arrived at Zappos HQ and Andrea escorted me to the lobby. There I ran into some of the OpSS Council Executives who were just commencing their tour. They were blown away by what they had seen. “It was so amazing!” Said one. ”It was worth the entire trip!” Said another. The conference hadn’t even started yet so they were in for quite a week!

After bidding them farewell,  I checked in with the receptionist, a tough looking guy who surprised me by calling everyone, including me, ”friend”. I spent the next twenty minutes drinking from my complimentary water bottle (thanks Zappos), quietly observing my surroundings. It was nearing lunchtime by then and people were milling in and out of the front door. Every single one of them either nodded at me or said hello to me, and not in a fake, “I should be nice to that lady because she is on the tour” kind of way. Every single one of them was genuine and… happy. And they were sharing that happiness, with me.

The tour itself was, as promised, absolutely fabulous. I don’t have time to go into details but I can tell you that the next time you go to Vegas, you MUST do the tour. Even if you don’t love shoes (like I do), you will get something out of the experience.  Like Zappos, the credit union movement is “powered by service.” Every day, we are “serving our members” and every day we have countless opportunities to WOW them. Are we taking those opportunities?

At Zappos there are no limits on call times and no “cue cards” to follow. Each employee is trained to treat each customer as an individual. They listen to the caller. They find out what the caller needs. And then they do whatever it takes to make that caller HAPPY. This has led to some interesting, and memorable experiences. It has also led to more than 8000 customer testimonials!! Zappos lets their customers due most of their marketing for them. Happy customers (or happy members in our case) do tell their friends about their experiences.

The following day, as I sat listening to keynoter Jackie Freiberg talk about 7 Choices for Blowing the Doors off Business-as-Usual, I thought “Jackie is talking about what Tony Hseih is doing with his employees at Zappos.” True leaders, according to Jackie,  ”Inspire, model and teach other team members to: Do Whatever it Takes!”

Is your credit union doing whatever it takes to grow membership? Are you asking existing members to tell their friends (and family) how awesome your credit union is? Are you encouraging them to open “starter” accounts for their kids (the future of the credit union movement)? Are you delivering happiness to your members and if so, are you asking them for testimonials? If you do get their testimonials, are you sharing them with the world?

The time is right to “Do Whatever it Takes” to spread the credit union difference, and to deliver more happiness to the world, and our members.

2 Responses to “Delivering Happiness to Our Members”

  1. Courtney,

    Thanks for sharing this experience. I’m going to Vegas next week and taking the VIP Zappos.com tour as part of our CU Call Center Conference. I agree – we share the same values – powered by service.

    And congrats to Tony – today his book, Delivering Happiness, made the top spot on the New York Times list!

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