By Robert McGarvey
There are dozens of online sites and apps where people may be talking about your credit union—from Facebook with its billions of users to microsites with hundreds of monthly visitors.
They can all affect your standing in your community.
Here is a sample Yelp review of a Phoenix credit union: “STILL THE WORST BANK ON THE PLANET.”
In the same thread, you’ll find this positive review:
“I have been a member of this Credit Union since I was 6 years old. As an adult, it is the only place I’d prefer to keep my money. They are very transparent and straightforward during an era of sketchy business practices.”
Yelp, by the way, can’t be shrugged off—it claims upwards of 180 million unique monthly visitors.
At Credit Karma, there’s a page for credit union reviews. One short review simply reads: “Absolutely terrible.”
Another reviewer describes their negative experience with one of the nation’s largest”” credit unions:
“We applied for a re-financed car loan on Wednesday, it’s now Saturday & we have never heard back. We even have other accounts with them! We are very disappointed as we were told we would hear something on Thursday. :(“
The point: the web is awash with credit union reviews and comments, and a person searching for their next financial institution will almost certainly read them.
And then there’s the torrent of quick comments on Facebook and Twitter.
You have a digital reputation. That is a fact that a smart credit union will not ignore, and it’s why you need a digital reputation management plan.
There are two basic approaches. One is to retain an outside vendor to take over the chore for you. Do a Google search for “credit union + digital reputation management,” and you’ll find a handful to contact.
Option two is to pursue it internally. That’s my personal preference because a credit union knows what matters most to its members. But either route will work.
Regardless of which approach you take, start by making a list of websites and services to review weekly—or daily, for especially active platforms.
First, search for your own credit union, and make a note of the sites where it shows up. Edit it down to the sites that matter to you, but err on the side of inclusiveness. You want to be aware of what people are saying about you on many sites.
Here are three tips for successful engagement with members online:
- Identify which sites allow the business—in this case, your credit union—to post responses to comments. Many will allow this if asked through the proper channel.
- Never seek to resolve member difficulties online—direct that conversation offline, usually with a personal phone call, but do take the time to express concern online about a member’s unhappiness.
- Remember that the readership isn’t just the member with a grievance. It’s potentially many thousands more readers. Write any response so that the credit union comes across as caring, responsive, and helpful.
And here are your don’ts:
- Never, ever post fake positive reviews about your credit union. If a vendor says they can arrange that, show them the door.
- Certainly, don’t be shy about asking members to post about the credit union on social media. That’s fair. And the more such reviews you get the better your digital reputation.
- Don’t get into online fights with members and don’t let third-party vendors do it either. There are too many cases where an assistant manager angrily posts, “You are lying! It didn’t happen that way at all!” Stop. Take a deep breath, and remember the thousands who may read your words. Stay amiable, professional, and helpful.
Know that this job is never done. Digital reputation management has become an ongoing concern.