Mis­sion: ‘How can I make your life eas­ier to­day?’

CREDIT UNION: TRUCHOICE FCU CAT­E­GORY: MEM­BER SER­VICE NOM­I­NATED BY: TRUCHOICE FCU

Credit Union Journal - - Special Report - BY NATHAN DICAMILLO

WHEN A MEM­BER CALLS TRUCHOICE Fed­eral Credit Union, em­ploy­ees an­swer the phone by say­ing, “Hello, how can I make your life eas­ier to­day?”

“Mem­bers typ­i­cally pause the first time they hear it and you can hear the smile in their voice from that mo­ment on,” Ken Acker, TruChoice FCU CEO, said in a writ­ten state­ment. “It shifts the in­ter­ac­tion from a trans­ac­tional re­quest to a con­ver­sa­tion about their hopes, dreams and fi­nan­cial goals, and how TruChoice can help them on that jour­ney.”

It’s a phrase that’s part of the credit union’s SMILE pro­gram, an acro­nym that sum­ma­rizes the mem­ber ser­vice stan­dards of the or­ga­ni­za­tion and helps it live up to its brand prom­ise to bank sim­ply. The acro­nym stands for:

• Show En­thu­si­asm: Be­lieve in the value TruChoice of­fers.

• Make Life Eas­ier: We’re here to help peo­ple un­tan­gle their fi­nances.

• In­vite Them to Share: Find out what mat­ters to them—what are their goals?

• Let Them Know You Care: Show them we are a part­ner, not just their banker.

• Ex­ceed Ex­pec­ta­tions: Win their hearts and minds. Fol­low up and fol­low through.

“We’ve lived and breathed this cul­ture, but none of it was writ­ten down,” said Jes­sica Hol­land, TruChoice FCU vice pres­i­dent of retail.

The SMILE acro­nym sets the stage for how TruChoice FCU em­ploy­ees de­sign and de­velop prod­ucts, eval­u­ate pro­cesses and in­ter­act be­tween de­part­ments. “Since we are all on the same page with what we want our mem­ber ex­pe­ri­ence needs to be, we can avoid un­nec­es­sary ten­sion be­tween de­part­ments,” Acker said. “We have a tight-knit team as a re­sult.”

The ini­tia­tive came from a staff meet­ing where em­ploy­ees gen­er­ated ideas about what the letters would mean and voted on which phrases to use.

“We wanted some­thing re­flect­ing what we do ev­ery day and wanted our mem­bers to feel the feel­ing you get when some­one gives you a gen­uine smile,” Hol­land said.

Suc­cess sto­ries are shared through­out the branches and on so­cial me­dia, such as how much money mem­bers saved on debt con­sol­i­da­tion, low­ered in­ter­est rates, short­ened loan terms and more.

Since TruChoice FCU im­ple­mented SMILE, the credit union has helped mem­bers save more than $690,000.

Ad­di­tion­ally, TruChoice has earned a 4.7 rat­ing on Face­book and im­proved its av­er­age to­tal re­la­tion­ships-per-mem­ber from $14,301 to $14,651, while also main­tain­ing an av­er­age of three prod­ucts per mem­ber.

A Truchoice em­ployee, right, poses with a mem­ber while show­ing off a sign de­tail­ing how much the mem­ber saved on a car loan.

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