A Small Lesson from a Large Project


A trait of my elementary school teaching years, I often find that children’s literature captures lessons still applicable in adulthood. It’s strange, as adults, we spend hours digesting complex situations, analyzing and cross-referencing data, studying focus groups, research and the like; and still often times the solutions can be a simple as the lessons inspired by grade-school stories and nursery rhymes.

Within our organization, I spent months purposing, convincing, and training our teams to care about member experience.  Creating compelling cases to better understand member’s needs – not just on a transactional level – but to truly understand how it feels to be a member. Within this I had my own visions – creating process efficiencies, enhancing workflows, telling stories to our leaders with data.  What I did not anticipate was that when I asked our teams to capture the feelings of our members—they would do just that. 

As our team members were empowered to engage with our members differently, the member’s stories were given a voice, and our CRM became the vehicle calling these stories to life. Transforming beyond just a call center or branch, our front lines felt empowered to use our CRM not just as a means for problem resolution, but as an engine to create impact.

Here are just a few examples of the impact we heard:

“We just found out that one of our Lockheed Martin Members Dave S. was just diagnosed with Stage 4 Gastric Cancer. He has a family with several kids and I wanted to see if we could contribute to his go fund me page: https://www.gofundme.com/help-for-the-solis-family. We don't have his current address on file so was hoping we could do a donation on behalf of Red Rocks Credit Union.”
“Ann Marie was in today and she mentioned that their oldest son Casey passed away about six weeks ago. She's been in so much shock that she forgot her PIN for her card so I reset that for her and helped her bring her loan current. I would be very grateful if we could send them something in this difficult time”

In collaboration with executive and line-leader support, we quickly responded to this call-to-action, and used our CRM case management structure to create Impact Dollars

Impact Dollars empower our team members to nominate members for credit union funded gifts/support/etc. during major lifetime events. These situations can range from donations made in the member’s honor after terminal illness, to balloons welcoming home a new baby. Our team members are actively listening for ways to make impact on our member’s lives, and share these findings through our CRM. From there these very specialized cases are managed, approved and completed – follow-up is transparent with our team members and the ability to truly impact an individual member’s life is celebrated throughout the organization.

Even as I write, dozens of members have been impacted by this small yet meaningful transformation.  Providing us with a reminder that sometimes even the largest and most strategic projects can be used to communicate those timeless childhood lessons of: listening, caring and having heart.


“A billion times I “thank you”… you know you guys already had me at hello”

Jessica Vartanian