While day one speakers concentrated on engagement and experience, speakers from day two of the 2016 Credit Union Call Center Conference focused heavily on employee training, metrics, and how call centers can apply these to transform their operations.
Just before lunch, Robert Davis of Robert C. Davis & Associates, a call center training and consulting firm, showed the power of good coaching.
He asked a woman, who described her own memory as poor, to memorize 22 unrelated words in 5 minutes. He took her into the hallway while the remaining crowd was read the words. When she returned, she rattled off all 22 in order without a single mistake.
“That’s what five minutes of coaching can do,” Davis said. “Give your people more.”
Here are additional takeaways from the second day of the 2016 Credit Union Call Center Conference.
Stop Asking, No The Branch Is Not Dead
The first session of the day pitted Terry Pierce, senior project manager at CO-OP Financial Services, and John Hyche, senior vice president of Level 5, a firm that offers real estate, design, and construction services to credit unions, on the future of branches.
Guess what? The branch is not dead. But thanks to self-service options like online and mobile banking and interactive teller machines, the branch is now a sales hub.
“The avenue for members to reach out and ask for assistance for complex transactions,” Pierce calls it.
As a result, credit unions looking to expand their brick-and-mortar footprint must do so strategically, Hyche says. Adding, credit unions must critically analyze three levels of data before making any moves: demography, competition, and potential member base.
“That information will set the stage for what you can accomplish,” Hyche says.
The shift in branch utility further underscores the importance of the credit union call center. In banking, most consumers use more than one retail channel. According to Hyche, 37% of customers and members resolved their most recent banking issue on the phone, compared to the 34% who used the branch, and the 24% who used online channels.
Because of this, credit unions need to make sure service across all these touch points remains consistent, which likely requires further investment in technology and more strategic branch hours.
Says Hyche, if a credit union has branches in residential areas that don’t open until 9 — before which most people have already left for work — it needs to reexamine the value of that.
“Find out when people want to transact with you,” he says, “and be open at those hours.”
Call Center Improv Training
Later, Lori Bocklund, president of Strategic Contact, a technology and operations consulting firm, presented findings and takeaways from her company’s survey on call center metrics.
The four largest challenges her survey identified in call centers were a high abandonment rate, increasing contact volumes, increasing handle times, and an inability to achieve high service levels.
“So how do we create change based on what these are telling us?” she asks. “If we use the right metrics in the right way we can learn, assess, and act.”
Of course, this change isn’t necessarily coming from the call center. More likely than not, the directive will come from the senior executive level or higher, employees who don’t necessarily have intimate understanding of the credit union call center. If that’s the case, Bocklund advocates the first rule of improvisational comedy: never reject an input.
“Never say, ‘no.’ Say ‘Yes, and?’” she says. “Accept what executives throw at you but with a twist.”
Bocklund identified 12 key performance indicators she finds most valuable for call center professionals:
First contact resolution.
Cost per contact.
IVR containment rate.
Occupancy (defined as the total handle time divided by total time signed into the queue, expressed as a percent).
Span of control.
Also From The 2016 Credit Union Call Center Conference