Before You Go

April 2018: Vol 41 No 4
by Stephanie Schwenn Sebring

Be prepared for high-volume member service events

call centerRob Price, VP/member relations at $1.3 billion San Francisco Fire Credit Union, knew he’d have a lot on his hands during a recent online and mobile banking conversion. He also knew that providing a strong member experience during the conversion was critical.  

In November 2017, the credit union upgraded roughly 45,000 members to its new online and mobile banking platforms. Expecting questions and members needing help with navigation, browsers or resetting passwords, the credit union used CUES Supplier member Harland Clarke’s Contact Center Solutions for augmented call center capacity.

Preparation Was Vital

Harland Clarke worked with the San Francisco Fire CU for nine weeks leading up to the event, outlining strategies and addressing key areas.

“Engage staff the moment you start down the conversion path,” Price advises. “Start their training as close to launch as possible, so it’s fresh, but with enough time to not feel rushed. If you need resources from a third party like Harland Clarke, don’t hesitate.”

The credit union prepared for a 300 percent increase in call volume. Harland Clarke, based in San Antonio, responded by scaling up with additional staff to meet demand. The specialists, trained to the San Francisco Fire CU’s unique protocols, brand language and performance standards, became an extension of the team and ensured members received high-quality service during the transition—which lasted seven weeks post-launch.

When planning for high-volume inbound call center events, Price suggests you:

  1. Interview other credit unions similar in asset and membership size to learn what went well and why.
  2. Engage staff from the moment you start down the conversion path.
  3. Train in blocks of time (not all at once) to ensure retention.  
  4. Monitor call volume and adjust on-the-fly to stay ahead of the queue.
  5. Don’t just look at total calls, analyze at one-hour intervals and staff accordingly. Intra-day reports of call statistics from Harland Clarke were delivered every 30 minutes to ensure the proper routing of call volume.
  6. Don’t be slow to react.
  7. Look for trends you wouldn’t think of.
  8. Plan for staffing and have the flexibility to make changes quickly.
  9. Overstaff, despite what modeling predicts.
  10. Arrange staffing for all delivery channels: in branch, phone, text and email.

“There will always be the unexpected during a conversion,” says Price, “but proper preparation and staffing will help you to stay ahead of the queue and deliver the highest level of care to members.”

Stephanie Schwenn Sebring established and managed the marketing departments for three CUs before launching her business. As owner of Fab Prose & Professional Writing, she assists credit unions, industry suppliers and any company wanting great content and a clear brand voice. Follow her on Twitter@fabprose.