Word of mouth is still the primary source for recommendations

Originally written for the Kansas Credit Union Association website.

When people need advice, they turn to their family and friends. They ask everything from “where should we eat tonight?” to “need a great babysitter” to “looking to change doctors…”

Why wouldn’t they ask about financial institutions?

This is where your members come into play. If you’ve taken care of your members, offered awesome customer service and treated them like a person, and not a number, they’ll tell others.

Traditionally, word of mouth is defined as ”news being spread from one person to another through spoken communication.”

In 2013, “word of mouth” comes in other forms too:

  • a Facebook comment or post.
  • an email forward.
  • a twitter reply.
  • a person giving another a direct mail postcard or other printed material.
  • a simple and casual “you should try my credit union.”

A 2012 study by Nielsen says 92% of people trust recommendations from their family and friends, above any other form of advertising.

And Pew Research’s 2013 State of the Media found that people hear about news and events mostly from their relatives and neighbors and friends, than from traditional news sources like newscasts, radio or newspapers.

An interesting tidbit from the Pew Research: significant percentages of people now get most of this news through email and social networks, and they follow up even more often than those who receive news in conversation.

Although email and social media is important, don’t forget the importance of face to face conversation and relationship  building.

People trust their friends and family. By focusing on your current members, you elevate the awareness of your institution, and even credit unions in general, with minimal cost and expense. It’s easier to retain and accommodate your current customers (members) than to recruit new ones.

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