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Innovation as a secret weapon

September 13, 2007

Ron Shelvin has posted something interesting. I would restate it in terms of “Innovation is a credit union’s secret weapon”. Just the nature of innovation makes it positive, dynamic and well — who wants to be called uninovated?

To innovate means to change, to make changes in something already established, to bring or introduce novelties, to alter or renew. It would appear that the major attribute needed is to be flexible. Now how many FIs could be called flexible? We are painted and stuccoed as rigid, certainly not flexible. This is an industry that has regulators, auditors, SWOT consultants, and inflexibility as part of it’s character. Flexibility and innovation can be viewed as risky by this group. But now is the time we can’t afford to be anything else but flexible and innovative. So here are 4 simple innovative ideas.

  • open the door 5 minutes before the posted time.
  • make sure a person answers the telephone, not an answering machine.
  • make sure the phone is answered by the 3rd ring. That means everyone answers the phone including senior people (who have also been trained on how to transfer a telephone call to another local).
  • phone and attempt to contact a member before you return any cheque.

Not exactly high points of technology. Just small things that have been changed from actions of the past. The key is that we as CUs have the ability to change, to do these things differently, to innovate. We don’t have the monolithic structure that prohibits us from doing this. So somebody please tell me — what is stopping us? Are we afraid to be different?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2007 11:16 pm

    So simple, yet so critically important.

    We used to call this customer service.

  2. September 18, 2007 10:09 pm

    hmm – the one thing about answering machines/auto voice systems is, they kind of act as a modulator of the phenomenon of everyone calling at the same time, then dead time. If there are enough staff to grab the phones when a rush comes, then what happens when the rush is over, and there is dead time? Isn’t there a case to be made that an auto voice system evens out the ebbs and flows?

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