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Positive Attitude Drives Superior Member Service
Thursday, March 14, 2013 6:35 AM

Let’s face it: consistently keeping a positive attitude is tough. We can blame it on the times, those around us, difficult circumstances and a host of other things. We can even blame it on the family dog. The bottom line is, difficult times befall everyone, everywhere, at some point or another.

“Reconciling the importance of a consistent positive attitude with the need and expectation of daily superior member service is the tricky part,” says Mark Arnold, president of On the Mark Strategies.  “Keeping that winning attitude when dealing with members is crucial, especially in challenged economic times.”

Members, Arnold says, can easily walk out your credit union’s door, their money in tow, and take their business to dozens of competitors all too happy to have the new account.  Even worse, in our digital age they don’t just take their business: they can also slam your poor service via social media outlets, reaching untold numbers of review-readers.

“I like to say we hire for smiles and train for skills,” says Dale Hansard, president/CEO of Caprock FCU in Lamesa.  “You’ve got to have positive people to work with members in what aren’t always positive times. The credit union is the place to exhibit a terrific positive attitude, which isn’t just right for business, it’s right for people.”

Keeping a sharp focus on the importance of a winning attitude when dealing with members is critical – and this lesson applies just as much to CEOs and back-office staff as it does your front-line employees in lending and member service. How can we your employees consistently project a positive attitude? Arnold suggests the following:

  1. In member service, you’re not allowed to have a bad day. Flat tire? Kids acting up? Trouble with the in-laws? While we can all empathize with that, the place to vent is not when dealing with members. As hard as it is, smiling and showing genuine concern for member welfare comes first. If an employee faces more difficult issues, consider moving them temporarily to a role with less member interaction or even suggest some time off. It’s better for both the employee and the members with which they could have a negative interaction.
  2. Work on appreciation. When faced with tough times, a great way to combat those negative feelings is to appreciate what you do have. This is a great lesson for anybody in any situation. Take a few moments to be thankful for the many things you have. This could be family, friends, your home, whatever comes to your heart when you think of the good things in life. Let the thanks spill over into your credit union workplace. Show a genuine concern for their well-being and thank them for jobs well done. An appreciative attitude is a great gear-shifter when confronted with a negative attitude.
  3. Recharge your personal batteries. Everyone gets worn down. The key is taking good care of yourself and keeping in top form. This can (and should) be considered holistically with a balanced focus on your health, work life, personal life and spiritual life. Eat right and get enough exercise. Cultivate positive relationships at home and work.