DuPage Credit Union ($450.0M, Naperville, IL) launched its appointment scheduling capabilities in June 2019, nearly a year before executives were forced to think critically about contact tracing and branch traffic patterns.
CU QUICK FACTS
DuPage Credit Union
HQ: Naperville, IL
Data as of 09.30.20
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 20.7%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: -4.3%
At the time, the credit union was looking for a way to form a deeper connection with visitors to its website and offer an around-the-clock solution for scheduling appointments. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the credit union has used the system to try out new ways to serve members — for example, running paperwork out to cars for members to sign when they prefer that over e-signatures or offering phone appointments.
“Everyone’s rection to the pandemic is different,” says James Chyllo, director of operations and complianceat DuPage.“Allowing appointments over the phone gives us the option to meet needs in a new way.”
Here, Chyllo talks about the nuts and bolts of how the system works, how the credit union has adjusted itsappointment scheduling to accommodate new needs, and the system’s unintended benefits in the age of the novel coronavirus.
Why did DuPage Credit Union launch appointment scheduling? What benefits were you trying to capture?
James Chyllo: We wanted to engage people when they are on the website and looking to take the next step. Members now have 24/7 access to schedule appointments, and if they don’t show up to an appointment, the credit union has all their contact information on the back end and can contact them.
For business, it helps us structure the day a lot better when we know what time members are coming in.
Have your reasons for offering it changed since COVID?
JC: All the reasons remain the same, but we’ve changed how we offer those appointments. We now offer appointments over the phone, which is good for members who don’t want to go into the branch. We can talk on the phone to assess needs and be creative with the solutions. For example, if they want to join, they can stay in their car while an associate runs out to hand over paperwork to sign.
We can take care of what the member wants so they make fewer trips into the branch, but we still have the ability to structure the day, set aside the appropriate time, and clean the office when a member does come in.
Talk more about your system. What is it like from the member’s point of view?
JC: Members can schedule from a mobile device, tablet, or PC. To make an appointment, they select a branch and input their information — name, email, phone number, and why they are coming in. They also can add additional information so they don’t have to make two different appointments; for example, they need a checking account but also want to talk about an auto loan. When the team member sees that, they might reach out and say “bring XYZ to your appointment” or “think about this certain solution.”
If they know an employee works at a specific branch, members can include that in the note section as well and we’ll try to accommodate an appointment with that employee. We don’t include employee names in the drop-down because we don’t want to set a false expectation in case we have to rearrange schedules.
Then, we send an appointment confirmation via text or email as well as reminders that the appointment is coming. We also send follow-up emails for their feedback.
When the member arrives, they go to the teller line and the teller checks them in. The team knows who’s got what appointment, so the team member steps out of their office to take the member.
On the flipside, how does it work from the credit union’s perspective?
JC: We partnered with TimeTrade and book all our appointments, internal and member-facing, through it. There’s full integration with Outlook, which takes a lot of manual work out of hunting down availability. The manager of each location tracks appointments for their branch and can block calendar times — for training, for example — so availability won’t show.
We spent a lot of time making sure employees were comfortable with the system. The scheduling is all automatic. It goes to all the team members who can help the member, then the team members decide who’s taking it; but for the member, it gets booked instantly so they know they will be seen. And if a member comes into the branch, the teller books the appointment through TimeTrade.
We set up appointment types and lengths, and we set up times based on what we felt was a good length for each appointment. For example, the rough average for opening a checking account is 30 minutes, so that’s what we allotted. Since COVID, we’ve added a buffer so there is time for cleaning in between appointments.
What communications did you use to support the roll out the scheduling? How has adoption been?
JC: We sent emails to all members to let them know it was available. We also used space on the website to promote it, and we continue to use space on the site to promote it.
We use it for specific campaigns, too. For example, during mortgage consultation week we might send a piece of marketing that pushes to a mortgage consultation week page that schedules appointments directly for the mortgage department.
The pandemic has allowed us to be more nimble and creative and get feedback from members on what they prefer and what options they want.
This was more about helping members and the team than it was aiming to hit a certain percentage of appointments. We wanted members to use it right away, so we adopted communication strategies to encourage that. Members adopted it pretty quickly, and adoption has grown over the past 18 months asmembers continue to see it as an option.
Have you had to adjust your strategy because of COVID?
JC: Branch lobbies closed at the start of COVID, so we moved all appointments to the phone. That wasn’t necessarily an option before, and now we’ve explored how to do a lot of this over the phone. The pandemic has allowed us to be more nimble and creative and get feedback from members on what they prefer and what options they want. We have definitely seen the need to offer members options through the phone channel, and we will continue that after COVID.
What functionalities do you like best about this technology?
JC: It’s hard to pick just one or two. I like the fact we can direct appointments to where they are best suited, like to mortgages. I also like that members are able to make the appointment when they need it, both in terms of when they are booking the appointment and for what time. Appointment reminders are important, too. We’ve seen a big drop off in members abandoning appointments. But members don’t schedule two weeks out, they schedule for immediate needs, and they keep appointments more often than not.
What advice do you have for credit unions considering adding this as an offering?
JC: Train the team so they understand how to use the back end and are using it consistently.
Because of COVID, members are being more proactive about asking for accommodations, so making appointments available for any request enhances the process, too. For example, if an appointment requires multiple people, like an association account that has three of four signatories, you can slice up the appointment so they can come in when they are available. Let members know you have that functionality.
Also, make sure the member has the ability to enter comments. We force members to tell us something about their appointment, which tends to uncover other needs and gives us a better idea of what’s going on. Then, we can block more time or call beforehand to learn more and gain as complete a picture as possible.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Want more credit union strategies? Sign up for the CreditUnions.com free newsletter.
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