I recently made a weekday lunch-hour stop at my local Target. I was initially confused because parking lot was jam-packed on what shouldn’t be a busy day.


Walking inside, I was greeted by smiling red-shirted Target employee who offered a shopping cart and directed me to a large cooler where they were giving away free water and soft drinks. While the service at Target is usually pretty good, none of these things that ever happened to me there before.


I gladly took the free Dr Pepper and soon learned the reason Target was packed that day: it was move-in day at a nearby university. Target was rolling out the red carpet for incoming students and their families who were spending untold dollars that day.


There was nothing wrong with the experience I received as the consumer that day. The only thing that irked me was this question: “Why don’t they treat me like that every day? Why just on a special day like this?”


Now, I’m not narcissistic and looking for special treatment, but it just seems like if you’re in the retail business, that red carpet should come out every day, for every consumer.


In the financial services industry, this applies doubly.


The average attrition rate for financial institutions today is 12 to 24%, and that goes up to 20 to 25% for new members. Unless you deliver a winning experience and build authentic relationships with your people, consumers see you simply as a commodity.


In fact, a recent CUNA survey showed that 40% of credit union members get their loans elsewhere, and 53% of credit union members have the majority of their savings dollars at a bank. There’s a loyalty disconnect.


Many credit unions and banks do some version of member/customer appreciation day. If that’s just one day out of 365, then you’ve got a problem.


Every single day should be consumer appreciation day. It doesn’t matter if it’s university move-in day (read “big sales day”) or Tuesday morning in the dead of winter.


If every single consumer who walks into your credit union or bank doesn’t feel like they are receiving red carpet service, they’re much more likely to be seduced away by your many, many competitors that will show them such treatment.