Conversions often trigger a significant short-term increase in call handling needs. If managed effectively, these events can become valuable opportunities to widen member reach, increase overall engagement, and strengthen loyalty among existing members.
To fully benefit from the opportunity value of these digital conversion touchpoints, keep the following ideas in mind:
1. A good outcome begins with a good plan
A good project plan will not only help you get ready for conversion, it will also guide other resource and budget requirements. Keep the project plan aspirational. Be sure to include deliverables, dependencies, and resource needs.
Also include any contingent reliance points, for example, if software testing must be completed before the training plan can be built for representatives.
Before the plan is finalized, triple test it and decide on the best delivery method for the document: a project planning tool, Microsoft Excel, or a simple Word document are all good options.
2. Get leadership involved early and often
Things run much better when you bring in leadership early. Invite senior leaders to your kick-off meeting so they can be involved in scoping elements of the project plan, roadmaps and critical dates. Their buy-in and oversight will be helpful.
Also, align with an executive sponsor who can assist in keeping the project on task and maintain accountability over the different components.
3. Avoid forecasting and staffing pitfalls
During conversion, average call-handling times can increase to between six and nine minutes, exacerbating spikes in call volume. When planning, keep in mind that long handle times can create dramatic swings in the amount of staff required to handle volume fluctuations.
It’s normally much easier to quickly ramp down than ramp up in staffing. Give some thought to how shrinkage and attrition will impact numbers.
4. Reinforce positives of change
Change is hard for most people, so take every opportunity to remind staffers—and members—about the benefits conversion will bring. Messaging should focus on what to expect, the nature of the change, the difference users will experience as a result, and what will be better.
In terms of outreach, don’t assume that members will read digital or mailed communications. Consider a proactive outbound call program to targeted members prior to conversion.
5. Communicate internally—frequently
If you have teams in multiple locations or different areas within your organization, you must create an efficient methodology for communicating with them. Early in the conversion, many organizations use daily huddles combined with instant messaging for time-sensitive communications.
As the conversion progresses, weekly status calls are useful for bringing forward member comments, boosting morale, and troubleshooting any unforeseen issues.
Conversions present opportunities for big member service wins. Many credit unions are tempted to absorb the spike in call volume themselves, but it’s wise to consider outsourcing to a dedicated contact center supplier on a temporary basis.
Look for a partner with the flexibility to meet your needs with no long-term commitment.
Learn how Harland Clarke can support your contact center during conversion. Visit harlandclarke.com/ContactCenter.
RON HASBROKE is a Harland Clarke business development executive.