The innate desire of any business, credit unions included, is to grow. And to grow, credit unions need to not only gain new members but retain the ones they currently have. Enticing new members with a low rate on a loan won’t do much if you lose a disinterested member for every new one you gain.
My CUSO, specifically our data analytics department, offers a tool to our credit unions aimed to help with member retention called Losing the Love. The primary goal of this service is to identify any credit union members that appear to be “losing the love” for their membership and offer credit unions the opportunity to reach out to these members and hopefully re-engage them in the credit union. By reaching out to members before they leave the credit union, credit unions give themselves one last chance to repair and strengthen their relationship with members on their way out, potentially saving the account and in the end, improving their overall member retention.
Once the service started, we examined the changes in member retention rates for credit unions before and after they used Losing the Love. After studying the numbers for six credit unions, the results were obvious. Overall loss of members improved by an average rate of 12.6% within the first year of using the Losing the Love service, demonstrating that reaching out and showing the value of a member’s voice increases the likelihood of said members staying at the credit union.
While this is all great, what is not often discussed is how both the Losing the Love tool and marketing program can also allow us to identify members who are struggling financially. These members are not necessarily willingly disengaging from the credit union, and they might be reaching out for help in a myriad of ways that go unnoticed by credit unions not diving into the data or reaching out to their members. By studying the behavior patterns of credit union members, it is not hard to see when things start to take a turn for certain individuals.
Whether they are willingly disengaging or financially struggling, members in both camps are going to decrease the amount of money being put into their accounts and decrease their spending with the credit union. Yes, these discussions can be tough, but they are just as important as those warm and fuzzy conversations that members experience at the start of their membership. New memberships opened at the credit union will not make a difference if current members are not kept engaged. This means keeping all current members engaged both those with A and B credit score ranges, those newly participating in programs, those upset with the credit union, and those who are struggling to get back on their feet and catch up.
In this time of uncertainty, it is more important than ever that marketers and credit unions as a whole embrace these members and get back to the heart of why they came to be and what they aim to do: be the people helping people. The first step to doing so is diving into your data and figuring out where your members are.