Today credit union members have too many choices and too little time. Member service represents the "front line" of your organization and your members' experience is less often measured by their transactions and more often by the way inquiries are handled by the contact center.
Excessive hold times, being "stuck" in the system, multiple transfers and repeating the same information top the list of complaints. These issues translate into some very real pains for the contact center operation and can have a negative effect on member satisfaction. A bad experience with the contact center could affect asset growth and future opportunities with your members.
The most efficient and successful contact centers follow seven key steps to keep members satisfied, and their contact center running at peak performance.
Step One: Offer Alternative Forms of Contact
Alternate communication channels, such as e-mail and live web chat offer convenience for the member and reduced costs for your contact center. To actively move members to alternative channels such as e-mail and web chat, you must encourage their use by providing service that is as good – or better -- than what they receive via phone. Members should come to expect the same high-quality service, regardless of method of contact.
Step Two: Identify the Member
Identify the member who is calling based on Marketing Customer Information Files (MCIF) information or data from your core processing system. By identifying the member, you can personalize the interaction and access any relative transaction information for increased productivity or potential interest in new products. Identifying the member also enables you to prioritize those in the queue, based on their value to your organization.
Step Three: Offer Self-Service
In many member service contact centers, a large number of inquiries are simple requests such as account balance and other transactional details. Virtually all of these types of requests could be handled without live assistance, resulting in big savings for your contact center. Self-service options should also be personalized, based on member profiles and what products they already own. Targeted offers that your members are likely to find appealing can also be presented while on hold, at the beginning or end of their transaction.
Step Four: Route Intelligently
Inbound and outbound calls, e-mails, faxes and web chats should be routed to the appropriate agent based on their ability to handle the member request. This increases first-call resolution and member satisfaction, and reduces agent time and costs.
Step Five: Interact Productively
Agents should be armed with the information they need to make the interaction as productive as possible. This information should come directly from your core processing system and/or MCIF data. This includes access to any member information that can help resolve their issue, and data that suggests likelihood of next product to buy.
Step Six: Follow Up
Acknowledge e-mail inquiries, schedule callbacks, and proactively contact members when their status changes for any reason, such as loan expiration or low account balance. This kind of follow-up activity can go a long way to build member satisfaction, and are simple tasks that can be completely automated with the right technology.
Step Seven: Measure and Manage Continuously
Be sure you're reporting on all relevant information when measuring the productivity of your member service center. In addition to talk time, you must also consider hold and response times - which the member perceives as part of the interaction. Manage agent performance and the quality of responses your members are receiving and be sure to set alarms and alerts where appropriate.
To find out more about optimizing your contact center or multi-channel communications for your members, register for one of our free upcoming online seminars. "Best Practices in Call Center Communications: Seven Steps for Great Service" and “Getting Members to Use Online Services” will both be offered in February. For more details, or to register, please visit www.apropos.com.