Why case studies of credit union members might be your most powerful asset

Case studies are wonderful tools for selling. Through real-life stories of happy customers, they convey both the human side of your business and the real service you provide.

The problem for credit unions? You’re dealing with a sensitive subject for most people — money.

But case studies can work for credit unions, if you handle them the right way. Here’s my process step-by-step.

Find Compelling Stories

Your financial services folks are helping members save money and solve problems every day. And, like many of us, they’re so busy with that day-to-day work that they rarely think to share those stories. Ask around on a periodic basis to find out about the members your team has helped.

Also consider doing internal promotions that include a sharing component. Staff that does the craziest loan refinance or saves members the most money on their monthly debt payments can share those stories to be entered into a drawing for an extra vacation day, cash award, or other great prize — you know what motivates your team.

Get in Touch

Once you hear the savings stories, reach out to the staff who shared your favorites. Because they are the ones who worked with the members, they are the best people to contact those members and ask for permission to share their stories.

Give your staff members a sample script so they can make sure to cover the reasons the credit union would like to share their story, how other members will benefit, and how the credit union will protect their privacy (if necessary). There are some instances where the member might be perfectly happy to share their full name and information, for example, if you gave them a kick-butt business loan — you’ll be helping them publicize their business and the expansion they’re doing with your help.

Interview the Employee and the Member

Your case study will benefit from both perspectives, so make sure you get further details from the financial services officer. If the member feels nervous, consider interviewing the two of them together to help put the member at ease.

Make sure you get all the details you need to tell a compelling story and provide sound financial advice to other members in similar circumstances. Also ensure that you find out what the member prefers to keep confidential and what they are comfortable sharing openly. That will go a long way to help the member feel comfortable with the process and helping you strike a good balance between protecting your member and making your case study credible to those who read it — complete anonymity can make your case study seem fabricated.

Consider recording the interviews so you can potentially use it as an audio case study, too. Do get permission from the member and employee during the recording process so you know you can use it.

Write It Up

Most case studies follow a format of problem, solution, then benefits. This can seem boring, but if you’ve got a great story, no one will mind that you’re following a template. You can also experiment with other formats, such as writing it like a magazine feature article.

Give the member and the employee a copy of the case study at this point so they can give their permission for the final version of the success story.

Share It

Once everyone is happy with the case study, you need to get it in front of members and potential members. You can use it as a lead-generation tool, requiring an email address to read the whole thing. Or you can make it freely accessible on your website. You can send it to local media to see if they have interest in giving you a weekly or monthly on-air or online finance column to help readers with their own financial issues.

No matter whether you keep your member case study behind a wall or not, you’ll need to bundle it with a blog post, YouTube and/or SoundCloud (if you’re doing an audio version of the case study, that is), and social media campaign.

I’d love to hear if you’ve done case studies on your members. What benefits did you see? Did you use the case(s) to generate leads? How did you address your member’s privacy concerns?

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