Best Practices For Contact Center Management

A quintet of cooperative leaders reflect on how to best train and support remote workers in ways that promote outstanding member service.

 
 

The pandemic and a shift to remote work have changed perceptions surrounding the credit union call center. As reported on CreditUnions.com, what was once considered the low end of the totem pole is now a prime position within the organization, in large part because many institutions have changed their policies to allow for maximum employee flexibility, including working from home.

What hasn’t changed is the need for impeccable levels of member service and the importance of perpetuating a credit union’s culture. With that in mind, leaders from four credit unions offer insights into training and supporting remote workers to ensure successful member service.

From out-of-state recruitment to hiring bonuses and flexible scheduling, what was once seen as the bottom of the totem pole is now viewed as a prime position for many credit unions. Read more in “How Has The Pandemic Changed Call Center Management?

Erin Fuller, SVP/Chief Administrative Officer, Empower FCU

Empower Federal Credit Union ($2.9B, Syracuse, NY)

What is your advice for how to train and support remote workers to ensure the best possible member service? 

Erin Fuller, senior vice president/chief administrative officer:To encourage employee longevity, we require new staff to come in and do the training on-site. Then, all staff is required to be on-site for five days a month so we can maintain culture, relations, and training. What days are up to the manager, so there’s a lot of flexibility built in. In HR, we do that on Mondays.

Abbey Welch, Call Center Manager, NorthCountry FCU

NorthCountry Federal Credit Union ($913.1M, Burlington, VT)

What is your advice for how to train and support remote workers to ensure the best possible member service? 

Abbey Welch, call center manager:Communication is so important to go over questions and concerns. Developing relationships and rapport is critical. Being intentional about when, who, and how you communicate is a necessity.

Training is also essential to success. You must have the ability to support your team on many levels, including with job aids, hotlines, and the ability to share screens within the department. This has all proven to be helpful to our member resource team. We train by reviewing actual calls and identifying coaching opportunities, which also allows us to recognize great performance as part of the feedback loop.

Jared Benesh, EVP, Member Experience Transformation, State Employees’ Credit Union

State Employees’ Credit Union ($53.1B, Raleigh, NC)

What is your advice for how to train and support remote workers to ensure the best possible member service? 

Jared Benesh, executive vice president of member experience transformation: We’ve found managing a remote workforce necessitates more communication and visibility. We’ve worked hard to engage our staff and encourage our leadership team to be creative in terms of connecting with their teams.

We operate on 24/7 availability. As we look to enhance our coverage and scheduling, the flexibility of working from home is an advantage. The best advice is the simplest in that you must create a team environment and keep all team members equally engaged. Ask for feedback and encourage the team at all levels to take ownership in improving member service. 

Corlinda Wooden, SVP/Chief Retail Officer, Unitus Community Credit Union

Unitus Community Credit Union ($1.7B, Portland, OR)

What is your advice for how to train and support remote workers to ensure the best possible member service? 

Corlinda Wooden, SVP/chief retail officer:We feel strongly that a blend of classroom, one-on-one, and hands-on training is the key to success. We can offer these on-site or virtually. We have a robust training model that includes an experienced specialist assigned to the new employee as a dedicated mentor and coach through the first 90 days.
There are several learning opportunities during this period. The new employee is invited to participate in a call review and calibration meeting, observe a forecasting meeting, and participate in a member feedback review discussion.

Furthermore, at Unitus, we have a strong coaching and development culture consistent across the organization’s member-facing teams that includes formal one on ones, observations, a robust quality program,and team meetings each month.

Additionally, we learned early on that we needed to add non-coaching check-ins via video and chat strings to ensure highmorale and connectionamong the team. Working remotely can feel isolating at times, and we have received feedback from our employees that this extra effort means a lot to them. 

Nicole Baker, VP of Sales & Service, Langley FCU

Langley Federal Credit Union ($4.5B, Newport News, VA)

What is your best advice for training and supporting remote workers to best ensure successful member service? 

Nicole Baker, vice president of sales and service: Constant engagement through conversations and coaching goes a long way in keeping your teammates informed and happy in their remote positions. You must find ways to help them to keep growing and learning in their positions or you will lose their interest.

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