The way businesses communicate with consumers has changed considerably over the last decade, and will continue to do so into the future. More people than ever are calling for transparency and open lines of two-way communication with the businesses they deal with.
Naturally, being a member-owned organisation, we think this is a great idea. We’ve got a long history of talking to our members and making sure they know how involved they are in the way we operate. The best example of this is our Annual General Meeting (AGM), where our senior executives and the credit union’s Board present our members with details of our previous year’s financial performance, along with our vision for the future.
We encourage members to ask questions during the meeting, and give members an opportunity to chat with staff or directors after the meeting. The AGM is great opportunity for important interaction between people at all levels of the organisation, but it only happens once a year.
But advances in technology are allowing us to expand this two-way communication and invite our members to talk with us. CEOlink is a great example of this; it lets members find out more about their credit union and, importantly, ask questions about it.
Blogging is part of what’s known as Web 2.0, a term used to describe the ‘second generation’ of the internet. Other aspects of Web 2.0 include ‘wikis’ (such as the popular Wikipedia), social networking sites (like the (in)famous MySpace), RSS feeds and podcasts.
More and more financial institutions are using the internet to communicate with their members or customers, and credit unions are leading the charge. Verity Credit Union, from Seattle in the United States, has staff from right across the credit union contribute to its blog. VanCity (Canada’s largest Credit Union) has launched Change Everything, which aims to bring the wider community together to make positive changes to their lives.
A site that brings together the best of credit union social engagement through technology, Open Source CU, has examples of strategies that have worked incredibly – as well as those that have failed.
We now have the ability to provide podcasts and vodcasts (video podcasts) to our members about what’s happening at Savings & Loans, as well as banking tips and tricks. The question is whether or not you, our members, want this?
These are some new and exciting opportunities, and we’ll move into it as we see our members doing it. I realise I’m probably preaching to the converted, but is this something you’d like to see from us?
Let me know what you think.