Contact centers are increasingly expected to deliver more, but often with less time and fewer resources.
Continually improving operations, streamlining processes, and staying ahead of the technology curve are important, but your most important asset is people. Keeping pace requires going back to engagement — attracting talent, encouraging growth, and maintaining momentum through reward and recognition.
Team and member satisfaction are inextricably linked. Delivering satisfaction helps build your reputation and grow your credit union. The following steps can help credit unions streamline their contact centers:
1. Commit to member-centricity. Build a team that genuinely cares about delighting members daily. Many credit unions fail to differentiate themselves in member experience opportunities that matter. Superb handling of these moments requires an instinctive frontline response that puts the members’ human needs first.
Compassion, understanding, and active listening have always been important, but decision-making, critical thinking, and using good judgment are equally essential.
Critical thinking goes beyond just remembering facts to understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and problem solving. After learning the issue, an agent must be able to determine next steps to resolution, especially when a member’s issue is unique. The ability to think quickly and confidently to resolve an issue is important when interacting with members — that’s what stays with members long after the call is completed.
2. Cultivate a path to performance. Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with self-service tools, so live calls to contact centers are often more complicated. Providing high-quality service depends on knowledgeable agents with proper training and support. Failure to retain these team members can have significant repercussions: attrition can erode member satisfaction while increasing operating costs.
A high-performance culture takes an intentional, team approach to member-centric engagement, planning, and management.
Set clear expectations around targets and goals. Open communication ensures everyone understands what the goals are and why the goals have been set.
Creating a winning contact center culture also means cultivating career-pathing opportunities. Team members are often looking for a place they can grow and make a difference.
Career pathing begins with an individual development plan and career progression initiatives. Build goals around each development initiative, so your team is prepared when new opportunities become available. The contact center can be a great training ground for other areas in the organization.
3. Create a community of caring. Everyone owns recognition. The contact center is a community, and how the community embraces, supports, celebrates, and recognizes each other is crucial to keeping momentum up and everyone focused.
Key to retaining rich talent is rewarding specialists who are committed to your values, performance excellence, team environment, and delighting members.
Whether it’s recognition for a single outstanding member experience, or a monthly or team performance award, each helps foster a culture of commitment, fun, and focus.
Once viewed as a transactional cost center, today’s contact center is now the pulse of the organization and the emotional component of a brand. Through the member interactions, credit unions are better able to gather insight and use it to build deeper connections … and grow as an organization.
Terri Panhans is vice president of contact center solutions at Vericast.