The question we recently asked ourselves as a company, “How can we better help our cooperative members and customers in 2020?” motivated us to organize our answers under the working banner of Inspire, Grow, Improve.
Understanding that words are easy and deeds are not, drove us to launch an internal program of professional development as we simultaneously raised the bar for customer service.
Dedication to the agricultural and country living customers we serve is at the core of our company mission. Inspired by these farmers and rural property owners, GreenStone is committed to embracing a company culture of engaged employees who are equipped with the knowledge and resources to best support customers and serve our communities.
One important piece of creating an inspired culture is team-building that will evolve through a company-wide conference on Mackinac Island in September. With an agenda fully aligned with the cooperative’s 2020 priorities, the forum will focus on inspiration, growth, and improvement of our teammates and as a company. Providing vision for the future with a focus on our people first is key to GreenStone’s strong profitability and stability, superior customer service, and a uniting factor within our workforce.
GreenStone continues to seek opportunities to benefit new members with the value our experienced team and individualized products provide. A diversified customer base and expanding market share within the agriculture and country living sectors feed GreenStone’s growth curve, balances risk, and strengthens the bottom line, ultimately benefiting patronage returned to members.
With priorities to strengthen customer service and identify new prospects, 2020 initiatives will help to increase profitability for the company and members. A steady growth curve and diversified investments provide the solid financial foundation that allows us to work with customers during good times and challenging times, and to proactively respond to changes in the marketplace.
Growing our online presence and creating consistency with streamlined, ease-of-use tools for online loan applications is a GreenStone priority. Launching in 2020, online loan requests will be expanded from country living financing needs to also include agricultural real estate loan requests. These secure requests take approximately 15 minutes for members to complete and will be followed up by direct contact from a local financial services officer.
We are committed to developing Young, Beginning and Small Farmers (YBSF) with educational and financial resources to help secure a solid foundation for their success. In addition to flexible loan financing, GreenStone provides YBSF support through Grow Forward Grants, scholarships and contributions to young farmer programs.
Focused on consistency and efficiency, pilot programs commencing in early 2020 are designed to measure and improve the speed and accuracy of automated workflows, staff alignment and loan processing times. We have redesigned the application and approval process for our home, land and recreational properties. Ultimately, these initiatives are prioritized due to the positive impact they’ll provide customer experience and overall satisfaction.
As technology advances, the importance of maintaining the privacy and security of our customers’ information remains a top priority for GreenStone. In addition to the safeguards already in place, GreenStone continues to evaluate and modify our practices to enhance our cyber security programming to mitigate online threats. Along with programmatic and system protections, we have prioritized emphasis on enhanced employee education as another opportunity to utilize proven safety procedures and security measures. Amplified internal training, practice and testing will be required of every employee with redoubled attention to enhanced instruction and real-time responses to phishing and other cyber threats.
GreenStone’s engagement with Inspire, Grow, Improve is just the start of what the cooperative is embracing to effect real changes throughout the company. We look forward to using new training and tools to better focus on the communities we serve, while our consistency of process and product across all channels and at all GreenStone branches will ensure an even stronger experience for customers who have trusted us as a partner in their future.
To view the article in the online 2020 Winter Partners Magazine, click here.