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When it comes to handling member service requests quickly and efficiently, experts agree that close collaboration between front line employees and back office employees is critical. The back office workers need all of the pertinent information about the member’s request right from the start, or the handling and ultimate resolution of the issue can be delayed. Sacramento-based SAFE Credit Union is one credit union that has tackled this problem head on by implementing a state-of-the-art system for managing member contacts with their rollout of Better WorkGroups from San Francisco-based Better Branches.
The success of the Better WorkGroups program is perhaps best evidenced by the rapid adoption by SAFE’s hundreds of employees who are spread across numerous departments. The numbers are quite impressive: 26,700 member requests were handled in Better WorkGroups in 2006, as compared to a mere 2,300 in the previous system two years before! Mary Vogan, Assistant Vice President of Share Services at SAFE CU, confirms that “Better WorkGroups is a very intuitive system that has really helped keep our member requests on track.” Some of the departments within the credit union that have embraced the system include: the Internet Services Team which handles online banking, bill payment and funds transfers questions; the Loan Support Team which handles credit card disputes and collections; the Loss Prevention Team which is responsible for ATM/credit/debit card fraud and check encoding errors; the Central Processing Team which works with ACH and ATM deposits; and the Service Support Team which handles dividends and tax issues.
No matter which group receives the member’s request for assistance, speed is of the essence in resolving it. According to Christina Chappell, Loss Prevention Fraud Analyst at the credit union, “our members benefit from the Better WorkGroups system because their requests are now processed more quickly. Many of our departments have been able to cut down request processing time from 72 hours to 24 - 36 hours.” SAFE Credit Union recognizes that any member request for assistance actually represents a good opportunity to connect with their members and build trust and loyalty. The Better WorkGroups system is specifically designed to provide excellent member service, for example, it pops up task-specific questions to ensure that employees are following a standardized procedure when gathering information from members. Based on their responses, the workflow automation system will launch step by step workflows that will make certain that the proper information is gathered and routed to the appropriate departments.
There is an old saying that states “you can’t manage what you can’t monitor.” Better WorkGroups is the platform that SAFE Credit Union has chosen to address this age old issue. Chappell points out that “events can be easily tracked within Better WorkGroups. For our front line employees, if a member questions the status of his or her request, any employee can easily check the status by searching the member's account and reviewing the notes related to the event.” Vogan adds that “Better WorkGroups really streamlines our processes. We are reaping the benefits of having a system-directed events platform in place.” Chappell agrees and emphasizes that “we are able to view a task history and instantly see the due date or time for each task. This helps us to know if we are running late with a particular task.” In other words, nothing slips through the cracks because the system knows where to automatically send requests and how to track them end to end in a timely manner.
As much as the credit union is currently utilizing the system, there is much more ahead. Vogan notes that “we will be using Better WorkGroups in our branch network in 2007. It will be a retail tool that will allow us to track sales at the branch level.” She concludes that “both our employees and senior management team believe the system is really beneficial. It is still evolving, and it has lots of capabilities and potential to help us provide great member service.”