Berger Leadership Blog

Apr 18, 2014

Your reputation is everything

NAFCU on phone
NAFCU's Carrie Hunt, senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel, reaches out often to member credit unions.

A business can have a great product, a great sales team and a great marketing strategy, but if it delivers poor customer service or develops a bad reputation, all those “greats” don’t really matter.

For a company, a reputation is everything. When a good reputation is spread, there are no limits to the success of your business.

Word-of-mouth marketing is a valuable tool in business. Marketing expert Jonah Berger said “the best way to understand word of mouth is to understand people in real-life settings.” The industry my organization represents has a distinct advantage in understanding its members. The credit union industry thrives in communities and exists to meet a clear need. Berger encourages businesses to get inside the minds of their consumers (members) and “understand the social implication of your product.” Once you understand that, he said, a word-of-mouth strategy will follow.

Bloomberg Businessweek noted that while there might not be an exact formula for successful word-of-mouth marketing, “it often starts with creating a culture that encourages your clients to consider themselves valued partners in your business.”

Here are a couple tips from Forbes that your credit union can use to get your members talking:

  • Do something unexpected after an engagement. Not all transactions are smooth, but when people are left with a thoughtful lasting impression, minor snafus are often forgotten.
  • Be incredibly thankful. Never underestimate the value of a nice follow-up phone call or a hand-written note.