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Started by a handful of educators in 1950 that operated out of a desk drawer, Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union (ATFCU) has experienced remarkable growth over the years. They now have over $325M in assets and serve all of residents of Taylor and Callahan counties as well as school district employees in 14 surrounding counties. In order to provide the best possible service to their members and prospective members in their four branches, ATFCU turned to Better Branches LLC, a technology provider specializing in front- and back-office workflow solutions sold extensively in the credit union industry.
Even with a full array of electronic channels - ATM, online, IVR and mobile - available to their 35,000+ members, ATFCU still firmly believes in personalized face to face service in their branches. This strong belief in community affinity has them always searching for ways to improve the branch experience. Stephanie Moncla, ATFCU’s Chief Information Officer, recalls that "we were looking for ways to replace the traditional lobby sign-in clipboard. After doing some research, we found Better Branches and it did not take us long to realize that they would be a great fit for us." The credit union chose both Better Lobby and Better Contact Manager from Better Branches since these two modules are seamlessly integrated and they felt that this combination would best serve their member service goals.
After some Internet demos, conference calls, and due diligence on Better Branches’ client references, ATFCU’s team of supervisors from various departments such as tellers, lending, collections, call center, accounting and others gave the thumbs up to Better Lobby and Better Contact Manager. Moncla confirms that "our senior managers take an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to problem solving and planning so that everyone feels that they have ownership. All of our supervisors felt that this system would be really helpful and offer significant time and labor savings for us."
Wanting to get started quickly, the credit union utilized Better Branches’ hosted version of Better Lobby. According to Moncla, "the rollout was straightforward and simple, and the Better Branches team was very helpful." Once Better Lobby was up and running for a few months, ATFCU decided to move the system in-house. "Our employees did not notice any change whatsoever, and the transition was quite smooth for our IT Department," explains Moncla. With the Better Branches system in place and the inefficient clipboard system relegated to the dustbin, employee efficiency skyrocketed.
Not content to simply enjoy the productivity benefits inherent in the system, ATFCU took an active role in working with the experienced developers at Better Branches to enhance the system. Moncla states that the "system works great, but we had some features added that show availability of our employees so that we can really deliver excellent member service." She adds that "the Better Branches team is very responsive to our requests and their turnaround time is fantastic." Time management is one of the strongest points of the Better Lobby system, while the Better Contact Manager software excels at reminders and granularly tracking member visit history.
Somewhat surprisingly, perhaps the biggest winners in the system implementation have been the busy call center staff - these 6 member service reps handle over 25,000 calls per month! Using the Remote Manager module of the Better Lobby system, MSRs can see at glance what employees are available across all ATFCU locations and can even be informed of the reasons why that are not available and properly set their members’ expectations on when they can expect to be able to get in touch with the employee that they are looking to contact. Moncla enthuses that "our call center staff now has a great deal of flexibility and control of their calls, and they just love the visibility that Remote Manager provides them."
Now that Better Lobby is firmly established with most staff, ATFCU is starting to use Better Contact Manager (BCM) more frequently. Basic Contact Manager integrates with Better Lobby before, during and after member service in Better Lobby, allowing staff to exhibit a more complete knowledge of client-contact, and more reliably schedule follow-up contact if needed (including Outlook appointments). Moncla explains that "BCM is also a very nice program and we look forward to utilizing it going forward."
The Better Lobby product also includes two features called Referral and Cross-Sell Activity Tracking that permit credit union employees to quickly and accurately track and report on a broad range of sales and referral activities within branches. Overall, Moncla says that "we have a unique relationship with Better Branches – to us they are a real partner and not just a typical vendor." She concludes with a ringing endorsement for other credit unions looking at the solution: "buy it, you will love it!"