Take the survey while sitting in a chair

One of the more frequent comments we hear from people who come to Mt. Lehman Credit Union is that “it really feels different here”. So you ask them how they came to that conclusion. They mention that while they were waiting they took a seat and noticed what was happening in the branch as the staff were working and the members were conducting business. They noticed how people were being served, how the conversations at the counter were taking place, how there was so much natural sunlight, and how it just felt good and friendly. This is the stuff credit unions are made of. Now how would you measure this? Again the question of how do you measure the quality of a business.

It got me thinking. How many businesses have chairs that you can park your butt down and just notice what is happening? Sure FI’s have seatting because there are always appointments. Our seats are also used if people want to sit while waiting for a teller. There is a device that alerts staff after anyone sits in the chair for longer than 47 seconds (just kidding). For some businesses it would be difficult to do this. There should be a law that any women’s shop have seatting available for husbands who will be there for awhile. But really if you as an individual were to measure if you wanted to do business with anyone, why not just be a silent sitter for 10 minutes and see what is going on. See if there truly is a unique experience there. How you view the experience is the active survey.


Author: tinfoiling


5 thoughts on “Take the survey while sitting in a chair

  1. Gene,

    I agree completely, but I wonder how credit unions are going to translate this ambient conversation to the Internet. How do they provide a peek behind the curtains to the person who never visits the lobby? You can probably guess at my answer, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.



  2. I could give you the feed for cameras but only on the outside. Please note the parking lines need painting. Maybe Denise has some insight on experiential surveys. I guess what I was saying is the difficulty in measuring and producing this information but how important it is. It really is up to the individual to personally do this. It would be difficult to walk into a place with a video camera especially a credit union. That would be the quickest way to be interviewed by the local police – ‘But officer I was just going to use this to…”. If people were willing to be YouTubed about this, that to me would be the most real. Borrowing a phras from GVCCU – Real people saying real things about real credit unions.

  3. Dear Tinfoiling,
    One of my favorite things to do is “secret shop” credit unions. I don’t get paid for it, I just do it. I bring along my spy camera (so the police won’t come) and snap photos of my first impression. I also do like you suggested. I sit in the waiting area. Many credit unions haven’t given much thought to where their waiting members sit and what they could be doing. Consequently, it feels a bit like detention in school.
    I was never a member when I worked FOR credit unions. I was an employee with my account where I worked. Super convenient and super friendly. I had not complaints.
    Now that I’m a real member, I have to say I’m not horribly impressed with my credit union.
    Can I join yours??

  4. As a supportive husband who accompanies his wife to many a clothing store, I really appreciate it when there are comfortable chairs near the change room for the guys – at least that is what the Sports Illustrated & Golf Magazines on the table next to chair suggests. I also appreciate it when there are enclosed areas with toys for your kids to play in. Now add to that attentive service and it’s probably an experience I will tell others about.

    It’s when we throw the typical bean counter in the mix that we seem to lose a lot of the intangibles that make for a great customer/member experience. I can hear it now, “How can we justify these extra windows? Why are we allocating so much floor space for extra seating?”

    Authentic organizations are not afraid of being observed – they embrace it.

  5. Over the past couple of years I’ve gotten to know many friends in the credit union space but the funny thing is — I’ve never “met” most of them. I’ve gotten to know them through their writing and through the conversations they’ve had online (even if they weren’t directed towards me). I wasn’t fortunate enough to be able to participate in BarCampBank this year, but I got the feeling that it wasn’t a meeting of strangers but a uniting of friends. You might not even have known what those friends looked like until you walked into the room, but your “Hi, I’m …” was probably followed quickly by “Oh hey it’s great to finally meet you face-to-face!”.

    What I’m getting at is this: we are no longer dependent on in-person interactions in order to build relationships and establish trust. We can’t use poor lobby traffic as an excuse for being impersonal and if we want to demonstrate “the stuff credit unions are made of” then we must do so in ways that extend beyond our one-on-one conversations.

    This is exactly why I like Verity’s blog. The posts are good, but the thing I get the most out of is the way they respond to their comments, especially when those comments come from members. It’s as though I’m sitting in the lobby listening to the conversation happening at the teller booth. Verity has a personality to me even though I’m not a member and have never visited a branch.

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