The Likability Factor

Pink alphabet helium balloons forming the text like
Bryn C. Conway, MBA, CUDE Photo
BC Consulting LLC

3 minutes

Four elements that should be at the foundation of your member experience

Tim Sanders wrote about the importance of increasing your organization’s “likeability factor” in his book by the same name. In the book, he writes, “Our nation is so focused on efficiency and productivity that we forget that likeability is truly our lifeline. People who are likeable, or who have what I call a high L-factor, tend to land jobs more easily, find friends more quickly and have happier relationships.”

Researching likeability, Sanders found relevant collections of research in two fields: advertising and politics. “The former showed that highly likeable advertising was most effective in selling products of all varieties,” he explains. And in politics, studies found likeability to be a major factor in deciding election winners.

The likeability factor is comprised of four elements:

  1. Friendliness: your ability to communicate liking and openness to others
  2. Relevance: your capacity to connect with others’ interests, wants, and needs
  3. Empathy: your ability to recognize, acknowledge, and experience other people’s feelings
  4. Realness: the integrity that stands behind your likeability and guarantees its authenticity

Likeability is not just for individuals. When you improve in these areas people will like your company, want to do business with you and ultimately trust you.

Now, more than ever, the likeability factor is essential to keep the members you have and attract the ones you want. According to the EY Future Consumer Index study, more than half of respondents reported their future purchasing decisions would be impacted by the financial institutions’ support of the community, their transparency and the overall good they do in society. Conversely, 44% said that they would not want to do business with financial institutions that were seen as putting profits first.

As credit unions, we inherently understand the likeability factor. At our very core are the ideas of doing good, cooperating and being people helping people. Make sure you incorporate all four elements of the likeability factor into your member experience and ensure that your follow-up is just as good, if not better, as your introductions. This is the key to being genuine and building trust. If trust erodes, it’s almost impossible to repair, and your members will seek another financial institution.

Lead with your mission in your marketing. Describe the value you bring to your members, not only in savings on fees and lower rates on loans but by demonstrating your commitment to your members and your community.

Bryn C. Conway, MBA, CUDE, principal of BC Consulting, LLC ( is a longtime member of the credit union community and helps credit unions define their brands, develop their experiences and grow market share.

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