Brought to you by:


Learn More about My Virtual StrongBox - Click Here


Our Blog Roll

The Financial Brand
Snarketing 2.0
The Filene Blogs
CreditUnions.com
CU Water Cooler
CU Insight
The Members Group

Resources

Meet the Moderator
Keep It Clean
About Guest Authors

26 posts categorized "eStrategy"

August 13, 2014

The Hot Swappable Life

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

A business associate was telling me a crazy story just the other day. He was holding out his credit card to pay for lunch and I noticed it was a shiny, newly-issued card.

"Just get that card?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said, glumly. I was confused.

"Why do you sound so sad about it? You just got a brand new card."

"This is my fourth issue of this card," he said. "Our account information has been compromised four times now."

 You could've knocked me over with a feather. Four times?! He explained that the first time, the card was cloned and used to make several cash withdrawals up and down the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The second time it yielded no charges, but the bank reissued the card to be on the safe side, owing to a hacking attempt they had suffered. The third time the card was issued was because of the Target breach. The fourth was related to another internal breach that occurred recently.

What was so shocking about the most recent reissue, he told me, was how quickly it happened. The card company called his wife on a Friday to tell them about the breach and the reissue. Their cards were deactivated as early as Friday afternoon.

On Sunday morning, there was a knock at their front door. A postal worker (yes, from the Post Office...yes, that Post Office) handed him an envelope. Inside was a new set of cards from the bank.

My original surprise at the number of times their account was compromised was replaced by my surprise at the speed and efficiency exhibited by the issuing bank. Wow, a three day turnaround on new cards? And hand-delivered on a weekend? On a Sunday?

After lunch was over, I checked my messages on my iPhone and saw that some of my apps were due for an update. I noticed one app that I'd updated only a few short days ago. Between that and my friend's "four card monte", I started really thinking about where technology is taking us: toward a hot swappable life.

If you're not familiar with the idea of "Hot Swappable" hardware, think about a USB device. You don't have to unplug or power down your computer to plug in a USB device; you can use it while the computer's still running. Expand that notion to your phone. Your apps don't need the phone to be powered down to upgrade; sometimes, you don't even have to close the app that's being upgraded. 

Bringing those concepts to finance is very interesting to me. Each year, the time between your purchase and the debit being reflected on your account gets shorter and shorter. Card companies are looking to implement Chip-and-PIN as soon as October of next year to improve security. User-to-user money exchanges are becoming more prominent. People are starting to understand the value of data backups.

Your phone gets dropped in a toilet? No worries - just download the contents again from your online account. Your computer gets fried in a lightning storm? Piece of cake - get a new computer and backup from an external disk. Your card information gets compromised? Don't worry, we'll get you some new cards right away. Heck, in another few years, we won't bother mailing new cards. The number will change electronically, instantly.

"Don't slow down. Don't even stop. Keep moving, we'll come through." It's a lofty promise, but I think it's where we're heading. Can you bring that same level of consistency to your members?

Better start thinking about how you can make it happen.

July 16, 2014

I don't know where you are...but I know where you AREN'T.

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

I don't have spy satellites. I don't have access to your GPS. I'm not the NSA, nor am I Google, nor am I any other intelligence gathering agency, public or private.

I don't know where you are...but I know where you aren't.

The other day, an email campaign was sent from our marketing team to a group of subscribers in my name. Naturally, I got all of the "out of office" replies. In came a flood of three hundred emails from people who were anywhere but near their computer.

As I sat there, my eyes spinning from all the out-of-offices, I wondered how much I could learn from all the information contained therein. Naturally, I know these people aren't in the office (or don't know how to turn off their automatic reply). But what else can I learn?

  • I can learn when these out-of-officers are supposed to be back in the office, in most cases. (Ex: "I will be out until July 18, 2014.")

  • I can learn who their nearest counterpart is. ("If you need anything in the meantime, please contact Trish Fisherwisher, at tfisherwisher@example.email.")

  • If I take a step back and look at the frequency of OOO replies for a weekly email, I can get an idea of when the average credit union employee is on vacation.

  • I know the addresses I have are active and working.

Those are three interesting pieces of information in my line of work. The campaign we sent wasn't time or info sensitive, but let's say I want to be sure that everyone gets a look at it. I know these addresses are good, I know when these people will be back in the office and I know who else to reach out to if it is something time-sensitive. All I really need to do is take a few minutes, mark the recipients in the list that are out of office and get back to them in a few weeks when they're back at work. Why not take this limited-but-useful data and do something with it?

I look forward to your opinions on this...in a few weeks, when you get back from the beach.

June 09, 2014

Hole in Boat, Version 1.30.19 (Beta)

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

I'm no Brother Grimm or Mother Goose or any other storyteller by trade, but I do have a little fable I'd love to share. It's about a group of bankers (or "credit-unioneers", in this case) that were sailing a large boat down a river.

The crew all worked very well together, but one day the first mate noticed something was out of the ordinary. For some reason, the ship was lower in the water than it had been the day before. The first mate called the rest of the crew together.

"We've got a problem," he said. "For some reason, the ship is lower in the water than it was a day ago..."

"Nonsense!" cried the helmsman. "This ship is sailing as high and fast as it ever was."

"I don't know...I think we should check for any holes in the boat."

After several hours of deliberation, the crew split up, searched the ship and found the hole. They reconvened on the deck. 

"Well, we need to plug the hole," said the first mate.

"Now, now, let's not get in a big hurry here...that's going to take a lot of time and energy. Do we have what it takes?" said the watchman.

"Yeah, and who's going to pay for all this?" said the helmsman.

"You know, I'm not entirely convinced this is that big of a problem. That hole's been there, what, one whole day and we still haven't sunk?" said the Captain.

The first mate was frustrated. He stomped his feet and huffed and puffed, insisting they had to act on the problem immediately. Finally, he got the crew to (reluctantly) agree to work on the issue. After a few hours of cobbling, they came up with a giant wad of chewing gum. When the gum gave way, they put their heads together yet again and came up with a big bag of corks to plug the hole. When the corks proved too loose, they settled on a broken barrel. They patched up the hole with several planks from the barrel which stopped the water from coming in and grew and shrunk with the other wood on the boat. 

As the crew observed their handy-work and congratulated themselves on a job well done, they noticed something very strange was happening. The sound of loud, rushing water echoed inside the hull. The crew cautiously peeked out of the porthole window and saw a large, rushing waterfall - and noticed they were only seconds away from the edge. With everyone's resources devoted to fixing the hole, there was no navigation, no steering, no planning, no nothing...

And then the ship went over the waterfall.

The End

I 'm pretty sure you get the point. Plugging one "hole" with any given technology only solves that problem. If there's no strategy for electronic users and mobile members, you're going over the falls. Arguing internally about whether or not technological steps forward can be taken or should be taken? That's quibbling. The question that should always be asked: "will this step forward be a step forward for members, too?"

I'll be conducting a webinar on Wednesday, June 11 at 2pm ET in conjunction with CUES. It's called:

Is Your Largest Branch Open for Business?
“eStrategy” for Today’s Financial Institutions

Won't you join us? We'll be talking about all the ways credit unions can enhance their electronic strategy and keep the ship sailing for years to come. Sign up today as a CUES member or register as a guest - the webinar is open to all. I hope to see you there.

May 20, 2014

Blue, Navy Blue

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

I saw a story on today's CU Watercooler titled "World's Largest Credit Union is Getting Bigger". It would seem that Navy Federal, the biggest dog in the credit union pack, is expanding its reach by another 60 branches nationwide.

From the article:

To keep up with growing membership, which has risen 25 percent since 2012, the credit union is opening 60 new branches across the country by 2016.

And: 

This month, the credit union opened its first “technology concept branch” in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard, marking its 32nd area location.

Yowza. That's a lot of branches, especially when you consider that many banks (and some CU's) are closing branches by the dozen. I did a quick Google search for how many CU's had closed in Q1 of 2014 but didn't find much info. Banks closed 281 branches in Q1, roughing out to about three branches closed every day for three months.

Navy FCU is growing while other institutions are receding. They have the money, the members, and the momentum. I'm sure for a few CU's out there, it might seem like this level of service and growth is unattainable. It might make you feel blue...Navy blue. As blue as you can be.

Don't be! You shouldn't think of your credit union as standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Navy. With $58 billion in assets and this rate of growth, they're by far the largest CU in the world. The average CU has $149 million in assets and typically doesn't serve a group as large in scope as the Department of Defense, all Military branches and their respective families. It's apples and oranges. 

But there are ways of offering Navy Federal-level service to your members. Take a look at this passage from the Washington Post article above:

Instead of traditional teller lines, the 3,300-square-foot [technology concept branch] offers a more interactive experience [...] There are iPads and smartphones on hand to show members how to use the credit union’s mobile apps to make deposits, transfer money and check balances. A kids’ area includes electronic games about financial literacy.

The credit union’s newest members are typically between the ages of 18 and 34, Romano said, adding that they are interested in learning how to use new banking technology.

“When you join, we want to show you all of the different capabilities we have,” Romano said. “It’s sort of like when you buy a car and the [salesman] drives it around the neighborhood and shows you all the features.”

What a stellar idea! Show members first-hand how convenient your virtual branch - the branch you can keep growing, with no regard for real estate prices - really is. Offer them iPads and electronic doo-dads they can play with right there, in the branch, to see how easy they are to use. Give kids games they can play that show the value of the credit union's work. Show people how to use RDC, Online Banking, eStatements...everything. Give them a really good test drive and they'll be much happier.

If you don't have the people-power to get all this done in the first visit, consider using email to fill the gap. Make this discovery process part of the onboarding campaign. Do a great job of educating members on how well the virtual branch works and they won't have to beg you to open 60 new branches...they'll be satisfied with what you've got.

The world of credit union technology is often one of "Me, Too's." You don't have to outspend Navy Federal on branches and advertising to win new members or to keep your current members around. Often, it's as simple as showing them that membership with another CU (or being a customer at a bank) would be very much the same...except for the level of service and care your credit union is willing to provide. Technology gives you a level playing field. Good service gives you an advantage. That's true whether you have three branches or three hundred and ten.

April 18, 2014

Love, e-Merican Style!

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

Loveemerican

Ahh, love. There's nothing like it in the world. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy goes online to find a new girl, boy meets girl online, boy marries girl online, boy decides it was a doomed relationship from the start and gets divorced online...

Tale as old as time.

"BUT WAIT!" you cry, "You can't get married online, and you certainly can't get divorced online."

Well, I'm here to prove you wrong. Welcome to: 

LOVE, e-MERICAN STYLE! (You can write your own fancy theme music in your head.)

Americans are living their lives online, there's no two ways about it. It takes a certain degree of Internet obsession not only to date online (through eHarmony, Match.com, or any of the dating apps out there), but to get married online. 

There are only a few states in which you can be legally married online, but the posibility exists. A little money, a little wi-fi, an officiant and a Skype-kiss and bing bang boom...you're married. Typically this happens for religious reasons or for troops stationed overseas, but imagine what will happen when the e-Dating set gets hold of this idea. No muss, no fuss, and a heck of a lot cheaper than an actual wedding? It's a great idea. And all your registries can be on Amazon...

So you already took the plunge and it's five years later. The bloom is off the rose. Your once fiery passion you celebrated over the glow of your iPhone has fizzled. What do you do? Well, you already got an online marriage...maybe you need an online divorce.

WeVorce is a San Francisco-based startup that focuses on speeding unhappy couples through the divorce process. Run by a divorced husband/wife couple (no, this isn't The Onion, this is a real company), the goal is to save couples time, money, and the acrimony that often comes with a drawn-out court battle. 

"The average cost of a divorce in this country is $27,000. The average cost of Wevorce is $10,000," according to [Michelle] Crosby[, Founder and CEO]."

WeVorce is already helping couples who are seeking to separate. If Crosby's math is correct and a couple really does get divorced every thirteen seconds in this country, the company will surely see a steady stream of clients in the future.

Tie the Knot? Cut the Knot? Why Not?

I know I'm poking fun, but let me play Devil's Advocate here for just a minute. Let's say you really do want to get married online. If you have witnesses on either end and live where a wedding of that nature can happen, why not? Let's say you want to get divorced but you don't have a ton of money and you don't want to make it a huge production that upsets your family more than needed. Well, why not?

Why not just make it happen online?

It's the drum I've been beating for fourteen years now. If you can make things more efficient and less painful through digital means,  why wouldn't you? Sure, a big, fancy wedding is more fun than an online wedding. But if it's not practical or you don't really want it, why not go online? If you just want to break up and go on with your lives, why not use an online divorce service? If you want to do your banking simply or examine your finances or save your important files, why not use eServices to get it all done?

It's only when we accept that we don't have to have physical contact for these things that we start to overcome our sentimental attachment to the excess associated with them. We get more done and move on with our lives. And that, my friends, is...

LOVE, e-MERICAN STYLE!

December 20, 2013

The Gifts You Give in Seconds are the Best Gifts of All

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

Uh-oh, gang. I forgot to get a few gifts this year. Which is to say, all of them.

That's right, I took my own advice, skipped Black Friday, and didn't get a single present for anyone on my gift list. What on earth should I do now?!

I got it. I'll give them the Internet.

Well, no, not "the Internet". I'm just going to give my friends something digital instead of something physical. It's easier than ever to give someone a thoughtful gift that needs no wrapping, no exchanging and no batteries.

Let's start with...

• My Favorite TV Junkie: 

For the couch potato who has everything, here's a gift subscription to Netflix. Now they can watch TV all day long from any device or from the comfort of their living room.

• My Friend, The Frequent Flier:

I have friends that love to travel. Several airlines will let you buy miles for someone else. Even if you can't give them a full trip, you can take the sting out of their next outing by giving them a few thousand miles for a reasonable price.

• My Cousin, the Shop-aholic:

There are plenty of people, like my cousin, who thrill at the act of shopping more than the actual gifts on the other end. For her, an Amazon Gift Card that is applied automatically. She can shop til she drops, and in seconds.

• My Friend "Forgetful Frida"

Poor, poor Frida. She can't remember anything! That's why I treated her to Evernote Premium, a service that saves web pages, articles and images in a snap from your iPad, computer or phone. Hopefully she can use it to remember my gift.

• My neighbor, who's still not a credit union member

The poor guy...he just won't get with it! Fortunately, my credit union is offering a "refer a friend" program that gives me a bonus when he signs up. I'm adding a member to my credit union, getting $10 and helping a friend. It's a three-for-one!

• For Anyone, and For a Good Cause

This time of year, I think about our soldiers a lot. Even after they get home, they often need our help to recover, readjust and move forward. If you want to give a gift that will benefit the giver, the recipient, and a veteran, consider giving a gift to the Wounded Warrior Project. Use this form to give a gift in someone's name to this very worthy cause.

Phew! Now that my shopping's all taken care of, I can get back to my favorite holiday pastime: putting up my inflatable lawn ornaments and showing up my neighbors for our block's Christmas decoration content.

Merry Christmas from the CU Soapbox!

October 09, 2013

Stamps for $1? Sure, I'm In.

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

What can you really buy for a dollar these days?

I did an informal survey (which is to say, I looked at the prices of a few things I buy from day to day), and you'd be surprised how far a dollar goes...or doesn't go.

I can buy: 

  • A can of soda, or
  • A trip down the express lanes from my home to my office, or
  • A copy of the paper, or
  • An older song on iTunes (the newer ones are more than a buck), or
  • Something from the dollar menu at McDonald's, assuming I can scrounge up a dime for the taxes.

There aren't a lot of things that cost one thin dollar. There are even fewer things that cost under a dollar. Everything's "99¢", the biggest double-whammy ever pulled in advertising. "Hey, it's pennies a day!" Yes, 99 of them.

I rarely suggest that things that are cheaper than a dollar should cost a dollar, but do you want to know one thing I think is worth a buck? A postage stamp.

Think about it. What should it cost to send a letter or a card or even a small package all the way across the country, or around the corner? If you wanted to send that stuff privately (via UPS or FedEx), it would cost more than a dollar. The Post Office does a good job of moving thousands of millions of letters and bills and papers and packages all over the country. But they're hurting and they've lost quite a bit of money in the past few years (all well documented here). They want to increase stamp prices again, to $0.49, a move that has some businesses and "concerned citizens" up in arms. "Outrageous!" they cry. "Stamps need to be affordable!" 

Don't argue that to Rick Newman. He says stamps should cost $1 each. His reasoning:

So hiking the price of a stamp to $1 seems like a straightforward way to align the agency’s costs with its expenses and save Congress the trouble of turning out a few members every now and then to listen to the Postal Service’s familiar tale of woe. The Postal Service says a mere three-cent hike in the cost of a stamp will raise $2 billion per year, so going all the way up to a buck ought to raise many billions more, even accounting for the decline in mail volume that's been occurring, plus the dropoff in sales that usually comes with higher prices. All told, those extra billions ought to more than cover the huge annual losses now expected.

If there’s concern about fixed-income seniors or other customers who might not be able to afford a dollar for every letter they mail, Congress could make postage costs tax deductible for heavy mailers below a certain income threshold, which would let the USPS off the hook and make the whole thing Congress's problem.

Postage increases fixing income troubles? Less mail? Blaming Congress? I'm in!

A dollar's not a lot of money, sadly. It doesn't buy a lot. But going back to my original question: how much would you pay for a person to hand-deliver a letter to your home? A dollar's a great value, honestly. And when it comes to serious mailers, one of two things will happen: 

  1. People who relied on the mail will start to move toward electronic payment and delivery methods, which is good for the environment and for business.
  2. The people who insist on sending paper mail (and especially those pesky junk mailers) will pay through the nose to keep it going.

What do you think? Would you pay $1 to mail a letter? Let us know about it in the comment section.

 

September 12, 2013

Introvert Media - What "Private" Social Networks Tell Us About the Future of Online Sharing

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

It used to be that social media was all anyone talked about in business. "How do you use it? How can you grow an audience? Who should we hire to make it happen?"

With social media came a slew of new issues: people sharing photographs of their credit cards on Twitter (that account still exists, but the heck if I'M going to link to it); people sharing account information of every kind with newly-formed social phishing accounts; employees "over-sharing" or, in some cases, taking pictures of members' feet. And then, there's the marketing component. If there's a new medium out there, there must be some way to work in ads and direct sales/customer support, right? 

I don't know if that's true with the offspring of social media - introvert media.

Now, I know - there are nuances to what makes an introvert and an extrovert. I've been around a Myers-Briggs test before - I got a B+ (that's a joke, for any uptight psychologists reading this). But if social media is a more ideal environment for extroverts (lots of sharing, big crowds a must, plenty of feedback) then this new wave of private, shut-off social networks has got to be a big blessing for introverts (small crowds, not a lot of hubbub, not "open").

Take Snapchat, for instance. If you've never come across Snapchat before, ask your local teenager about it - they're likely to have it on their smartphone and use it to send pictures of God-knows-what to their friends. The idea behind Snapchat is pretty simple - take a picture, share with a friend, and a few seconds after they open it, the picture is deleted from their phone and from yours. Snapchat's programmers swear they can't see the pictures and that any attempt to screen-grab shared pictures alerts the photographer that the recipient tried to save the image. The entire point of Snapchat, according to their website, is to "share a moment". Users take pictures, send them to other users, and the pictures vanish. All that remains - at least according to Snapchat's privacy policy - is the memory.

Celly, a service that sends out mass text messages to registered users and is entirely closed off to advertisers and outsiders, is a favorite of plenty of people who are looking to stay in touch...from school systems to small businesses to protest groups. Similar functionality, but built for very small groups with phone access. The app now processes 550 million texts every month to members in 20,000 different groups. It's got nothing on Twitter's size...but it's not supposed to.

Want a better way to talk to your neighbors without having to...you know, actually talk to them? Nextdoor is Facebook for your block association. Users have to register their home addresses and verify they actually live in the community. It's a social network that's only a few "yards" wide.

I went poking around, trying to find an introvert network for people who want to better manage their finances. But let's face it, if you're managing your household's finances, you only want a few people involved in the discussion. Where does it start? What does a network that facilitates private, productive discussions about money look like? Who gets an invite? 

We've wrestled with this a lot in the creation and further development of My Virtual StrongBox. Forget about storage services that sit on your desktop and gobble up your many files and documents for sharing. My Virtual StrongBox is just for you and keeps your information safe and sound behind your online banking. Sure, you can share things with people (with a link that expires after a certain time/number of clicks), and they can send documents to your box if you need them to. But it's not meant to be a catchall - it's meant to be a private place. With all the movement toward introvert media, we see a growing need (as does Barclays, by the way) to present options that keep communications - and communicators - private.

In a world that's getting used to sharing everything, the real show-stoppers will be those that can keep a secret.

Are you getting into "Introvert Media"? Tell us about it in the comments.

July 31, 2013

Watch out for the eStatement Police!

ShareThis

by Ron Daly

Strangest thing happened to me. I got stopped by the eStatement Police on the way home for work the other day. They pulled me over to make sure that I could view my credit union's online electronic statements.

I was warned that there was a pretty stiff penalty if I couldn't prove that I could view the statement. Any citizen failing to prove that they could view that statement would immediately have their statements switched back to paper and, if the infraction was severe enough, they could cancel my credit union's insurance policy.

Not one to argue with an officer of the law, I quickly reached for my smartphone sitting on the console next to me and he quickly reached for his taser. Realizing that I moved to quickly to comply with his request I slowly raised my hands back to the steering wheel. As his hands came off the taser I asked if it was OK for me to reach back to my iPad in my briefcase in the back seat. With a wary nod and his hand back on the taser, he let me get the iPad. I turned on the device and prayed that I had a decent cell tower to access. Once online I hit Safari, logged into my credit union account and clicked on eStatements. Turning the screen around, I displayed my credit union statement, which seemed to instantly defuse the situation.

The officer made a note in his log and thanked me for complying with his request. Before he walked back to his car I politely asked him "what would have happened if I didn't have my smartphone or iPad to access my eStatements for him?" His response?

"We've been known to escort citizens home so they can prove, on their computers, that they weren't lying on their eStatement enrollment application." WOW!

 

What agency does the eStatement Police fall under? The U.S. Post Office? They would certainly benefit from converting everything back to paper and postage. Maybe they're some elite group of secret insurance networks? 

All I know is that they sure are a tough bunch, having to enforce a section of a law that just doesn't make sense. This is 2013 for God's sake. Even my car has internet access and can read emails and texts to me while I'm driving. Having to prove (and track) that a consumer can view an eStatement is just ridiculous but that seems to be the focus of the eStatement Police. Even if consumers enroll in your eStatements online, you still have to prove that they had the technology to view it...

DUH. 

Yet, the eStatement Police are hard at work looking for the last person on earth that can enroll in an online process and not prove that they can view an electronic statement. When they find them I've got a few old iPhones tossed in a drawer that they can have.

Don't get nabbed by the eStatement Police. Using our eStatement enrollment process gives you a "get out of jail free" card, no matter where the eStatement Police are coming from.

Please be sure to share any eStatement police story or crazy laws still on the books you've heard of in the comments section.

March 20, 2013

eManners: What Does "Polite" Look Like Nowadays?

ShareThis

by Ron Daly 

It's always interesting to read an article that challenges convention, then see the blow-back from that article, then see the author's response to the blow-back. With so much media to manage these days, conversations and commentary come out of the woodwork. If they don't reply on your blog, they'll reply on their blog. Or on Twitter. Or on Facebook. Or by phone. Or right up in your face. 

Take, for instance, this opinion piece by Nick Bilton in the New York Times. It's a piece that rails against the "Thank You!" email, the voice mail where a text message should go, the use of friends to answer a question that's made for Google. 

Really, who sends an e-mail or text message that just says “Thank you”? Who leaves a voice mail message when you don’t answer, rather than texting you? Who asks for a fact easily found on Google?

Don’t these people realize that they’re wasting your time?

As you might expect, the lament of a 36-year-old super-geek didn't sit well with readers, many of whom are from a generation removed - one that emphasized penmanship, greeting cards and always saying "please" and "thank you". 

Do I really care about "Thank You" emails? No, not really. They're nice to get, and if they have more information or want to continue a conversation, why not? But I'm not going to lose sleep, nor should anyone looking for a reply from me be upset if I just move forward with the next steps after I get an email with an "action item". 

Bilton again, with a worthwhile consideration: 

How to handle these differing standards? Easy: think of your audience. Some people, especially older ones, appreciate a thank-you message. Others, like me, want no reply. “It is important to think about who the relationship is with,” Mr. [Daniel Post] Senning said.

Audience, audience, audience. The number one consideration in marketing, business, sales, collections, consultations, etc. You have to remember to whom you're talking. 

Based on the reactions he got, you might think Mr. Bilton hasn't considered his audience's reaction. Spoiler alert: they got mad. They called Bilton a "sociopath" (no, really), irrational, impatient, sad...they really didn't like the idea that he didn't want to talk to his mother directly, but rather via Twitter. Bilton later explained that his mother lives in England and, as a San Francisco resident, he couldn't call her at any hour that was convenient for both of them, so they rely on Twitter to fill in the gaps. He talks about how he does, in fact, hand-write thank you notes to friends and relations. But too late - the audience had made up their minds.

Bilton says he doesn't mind being "the punching bag" for people his age. He did lament, however, the extremes people go to when they react to something they don't like. They talk about how disgustingly disconnected from reality he must be to dislike a "thank you" message. Bilton replies that the stewards of Emily Post's legacy of good manners insist that, yes, you should consider the audience when crafting a reply. Some people will love a "thanks!", some won't. Some people will want a voice mail, some will just delete it. 

And then Bilton made a really terrific point about who trains whom in our culture. It used to be that older people taught younger people everything. As technology advances and people develop skills at different ages, it's clear that education moves in two directions: up and down the years, each generation having something to offer the other. 

I had to learn to text if I wanted to get an answer to a simple question out of my kids. My younger employees come to me if they want my input about business or finance. We have many ways of communicating and we all have things we need to get done, so we all have to adjust our methods from time to time to make it work. 

Now...let's talk about "what you've always done" and member communication. 

The truth is, things change. People want to converse and conduct business in different ways, and the methods they use are changing all the time. But in embracing changes, consider the audience's reaction to your messages. Maybe one group really loves hearing from you every month. Maybe one group wants a phone call every once in a while. Maybe there are outliers - people who have adopted new ways of handling all of their inputs and have rolled with the changes. 

Pay attention. Knowing how to talk to people is critical to a credit union marketer/manager's livelihood. Knowing when to say something and what to say is so important, and just as important, knowing when to quit talking and let people get back to their lives. 

My Pet Peeve: When you use an online chat or a toll-free line for customer support and people keep pushing the script on you when you've made it very clear that you're done. 

Me: "Well, thank you, that's all."

Them: "Okay, Mr. Daly, is there anything else I can help you with today?"

Me (in my brain): "Are you not listening? Or are you just forced to do this, like a robot?"

Me: "No, that's it."

Them: "Okay, thank you for calling our help line. You can reach us online any time at www..."

Me (in my brain again): "Come ON, just say goodbye and hang up the phone."

I like dealing with people, not people ordered to act like a computer. Here's my dream customer service call.

Me: "Well, thank you, that's all I needed."

Them: "Okay, Mr. Daly. Have a good afternoon."

Me: "Okay, bye!"

I've had maybe three of these calls in my life. And I make a lot of calls. 

All it takes is a little listening. People unsubscribe from your newsletter? Fine, but make a note of that. Don't chalk it up as "this person's not interested"...find a way into their lives that works for them and you. It exists, I'm sure. 

And when they talk, listen. And when they reply, read it thoroughly. And when they care, you should care, too. 

Don't let technology fool you into thinking that etiquette and thoughtfulness don't mean anything, to any given age group. Treat members with respect and you'll earn theirs. 

And for what it's worth? You should call your mom on the phone. Unless she's totally into Facebook now.