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CEO Note: Getting feedback is the key to success

From the CEO
August 1, 2019

Dear Members:

I recently listened to an inspiring Wall Street Journal podcast featuring a young female entrepreneur named Sarah LaFleur. Sarah is the founder and CEO of the fashion brand and styling service MM LaFleur. However, Sarah wasn’t always a fashion designer. She already had a demanding career in management consulting when she transitioned her business acumen to her true passion: creating better clothing for the busy working woman. She was one of them, after all. This passion led Sarah to make a big career change several years ago with the launch of her now tremendously successful clothing line.

Sarah attributes her company’s success to how well she knows her customers and the feedback she receives from them. When Sarah was hiring her creative director, who came from a high-end fashion background, Sarah realized there was a huge disconnect between the world of fashion and the actual working woman who wanted the clothes she planned to design. “I told [my creative director], ‘I want to design for these women; you know these working women,’” Sarah said. “They walk to work in the summer in flip flops and they have heels that they carry in their huge bag, and then they swap out of their flats into heels while in the elevator. You know these women, right?’ And [my creative director] said, ‘No, I’ve never met anyone like that.”’ As a result, MM LaFleur always tests each piece of clothing first with their customers who are then asked for feedback before the clothes are put into production. “In consumer goods, it’s obvious to test your product with your users,” says Sarah. “But in fashion that’s a really novel concept. And I think that’s one of the reasons we really became successful because we were always testing our products with our customers; we were asking them for feedback. That’s something that separated us fundamentally from the start.”

Sarah’s success story caught my attention because I keep hearing this same theme again and again: Knowing your customers and making it easy for them to do business with you is the recipe for success. Given that Corporate One is part of the cooperative movement, we already have the passion and desire to know our members and help them succeed. And while member feedback has always been a key component in Corporate One’s commitment to providing quality service, we’ve recently taken additional steps to ensure we’re even more focused on knowing and meeting our members’ needs, especially in the digital age.

Earlier this year we formed our new Member Digital Experience Department. The focus of this department is to enhance our members’ experiences by improving the ease of using Corporate One’s products and services through the communication channel of the member’s choice. In addition to this new department, we created an executive vice president of member engagement who is hard at work to create better ways for Corporate One to interact with our members and drive more value to your credit unions. And, of course, our annual Membership Survey is now in its fifth year, and we always look forward to receiving helpful and insightful feedback from our members.

Knowing how we are doing and what services our members’ desire helps drive our improvements and future initiatives. I would love to get your thoughts on how well we are doing this at Corporate One. Please reach out to me anytime at mashley@corporateone.coop or 614/825-9351.

Best,
Melissa Ashley
President/CEO