The Case For Creating a Smaller Menu of Account choices

Today’s blog comes courtesy of Matt Davis, an advisor specializing in implementation.

I’m not a fan of Chinese restaurants. A big part of that, of course, is the fact that I don’t particularly enjoy Chinese food. A secondary reason (and the theme of this post) is that typical Chinese restaurant menus stress me out.

4. Shrimp Egg Roll

74. Chicken Lo Mein

117. Beef Egg Foo Young

192. Moo Shu Pork

I start feeling the stresses of choice overload well before I get to 232. Szechuan Pork. How many choices do we need? There should be four category columns with five to ten choices in each: Base (meat or vegetable), Sauce, Noodle, Toppings/Add-ons. Think Macaroni Grill’s “Create Your Own Pasta.” Just because there are thousands of combinations of your core ingredients, doesn’t mean you need to create an exhaustive menu of those items.

We do the same thing with credit union accounts. Silver Checking. Gold Checking. Rewards Checking. Platinum Checking. Titanium Checking. Youth Checking. Free Checking. Super Free Checking. Freer Than Free Checking. Hockey Checking. Try explaining those categories in the three minutes you have a potential member’s attention.

Different people have different tastes and different needs, make no mistake. Generally, however, the features that make up that universe can be divided into a much smaller choice set. Even as concise and consistent as McDonald’s menu is, I regularly see customers stare at it as if it were A Tale of Two Cities.

Want to be innovative this year at your credit union? Pare your menu of account choices back as far as you can. Better yet, create a membership account suite, which is made up of a savings account, a checking account, and a debit card. Want to join our credit union, you must open the membership account suite. Not interested? Sorry it didn’t work out.

Focus on creating a small core of remarkable services that fits the needs of the members you are trying to attract. Worry about the people you are right for, and forget those that don’t fit that description.

We can’t be all things to all people, so why do we try to create a separate account for each of them?

Read more about Matt here.


4 thoughts on “The Case For Creating a Smaller Menu of Account choices

  1. Simplifying account options is generally good advice. No credit union needs 10 checking accounts.

    There is an alternative solution to the limited menu of “one-size-fits-all” accounts though. Credit unions can upgrade their core data processing systems to enable the creation of customized and tailored accounts with member-selected options, choices and add-ons. This is essentially the opposite of the simplification strategy, resulting in a nearly infinite array of accounts.

  2. Like the idea of having choice, especially as JP mentions using customization. The use of a Chinese menu made me laugh. Yet you nailed it about the simplifying like the membership account suite. Thanks…

  3. I think JP’s comment is spot one. We talked about trying to do something like that, but surprise, surprise, our core processor held us up. Offer a simplified “menu” that really just picks options for members to create their own checking account.

  4. Good call, and Jeffry’s got it right too. Having customizable options for one or two robust checking options seems the most member-friendly way. Making things as clear and easy as possible is a huge priority and confusing people with too many options can be a hurdle to satisfaction. Boneless spareribs…that’s all we need. Maybe a little duck sauce.

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