A: I think back to my days playing volleyball. You had to call “mine” if you were going for the ball, otherwise you’d collide with a teammate or you’d all stare at each other as the ball hit the floor with angry, “I thought you’d get it” expressions. The best ways to reduce friction is through education and communication.
Friction is reduced by working through processes we haven’t looked at recently. We break down “that’s how it’s always been done” and converting it to “we can improve this.”
LAFCU has made this a focus for five years and is still at the forefront of what we look at daily. We have worked to leverage tools such as DocuSign, which has become crucial during the pandemic. We learned a lot through a remote work environment that has reduced our reliance on printers and paper, embracing technology for smoother processing.
Another way we reduce friction is knowing that the more information and practice we provide, the more comfortable and confident we become using our own products and services and, therefore, in teaching members.
The great part about hands-on teaching is that you get immediate feedback from members: what makes sense, what doesn’t, what would be better, what’s so awesome we should never change it.
Education and communication are a two-way street. Recognizing and paying attention to that reduces friction and pushes us forward.
A: During my time in contact centers, I began to visualize employees as air traffic controllers. All staff sit in front of a control panel (computer) and need tools to navigate systems, access information, research, and provide solutions.
But each role within the credit union needs a different control panel. A process can only become easier for someone if it’s a solution they need.
It’s critical to include employees in all decisions, from new software and hardware to processes and procedures. For projects at LAFCU, we create committees consisting of staff from multiple areas who will be end-users. Having all team members understand the problem and goal helps with finding and building the most impactful solution and the right vendor partner.
This coming year, one of my goals is to have each member of my team sit with a different area and watch them use the equipment and programs. What takeaways did we have that IT can help with? Any tool our department provides is only as good as the end user’s experience.
A: Asset management, updating help desk software for better statistics and ease of use for all parties, increased transparency of IT projects, and refreshing standard operating procedures.
I consider these to be the “low-hanging fruit” opportunities. Longer term, reinforcing our remote work environment, end-user troubleshoot training, cloud computing, and, like the rest of the world, a ceaseless focus on security.
A:As someone who is fairly new to this, a lot is exciting and seems to have potential to increase efficiency and service. LAFCU will continue to focus on our ITM fleet and push forward with creative ideas to use them for more than a “traditional” teller transaction.
My team also continues to monitor artificial intelligence and its potential for increased fraud detection and risk analytics.