Friday, October 16, 2009

Bloggers, Carpetbaggers and Other Undesirable Sorts……

Sometimes our little coffee chats result in one of those “light bulb goes on” moments for me about the Credit Union. They tend to happen at weird times and usually with no rhyme or reason.

My latest one occurred when a good friend of mine stopped by and we ended up in quite a lively discussion about the internet; specifically about writing, blogging and the validity of information in general that is so readily available on the web. My friend is a highly intelligent, very successful person who works in a traditional print media business. Her concern was that the decline of traditional newspapers was a great loss to people in that, without newspapers, we really don’t have reliable sources of information where editors have checked the validity and accuracy of what is being presented to the reader.

My response was (among other cracks): that proverbial horse is way out of the barn. Through my work at the credit union, I’ve had the great pleasure to work with a great many younger members and employees. It’s been a learning experience for me in many ways, including how this group of people obtains information in their world. Here’s one of the things I learned: you don’t have to worry about the loss of newspapers for these folks because nobody in this group of people even reads them.

Now to the light bulb going on part: it occurred to me that our work here at the credit union involves trying to provide products and services to a very wide range of people who view their world very strongly in their own way and have strong feelings about how they want to relate to everyone and everything, including the credit union.

OK – that may sound obvious but I don’t think it is. I will use a simple example: telephones. We have members who want to pick up the phone, speak to one specific person and have all their needs personally met; we have members who want automated phone systems because they are faster; we have members who want to use Access, our bank by phone service and we have members who never want to waste their time calling us but want to do all of their business with us “on-line” through their cell phones. This is happening in nearly every facet of our business, whether it is products, services, communication, you name it.

Sometimes we can meet all of the varying needs. Sometimes the needs compete with each other and we have to choose or place greater emphasis on one form or another. It can be tricky because you also have to anticipate what members may want in the near future and be ready to accommodate that as well.

The bottom line is that this industry is one that is changing very rapidly and so are the desires and demands of the members. This is actually the part of my job that I enjoy the most, even if it isn’t always clear.

You’ll be happy to know we did clear up our little debate. It ended with my friend stating an obvious fact: “If blogging is a valuable source of information, how come you get to do it?”

Hard to argue with that one……….