Community Credit Union (pseudonym) is a small credit union in Washington, Oklahoma with 200 employees and more than 56,000 members. Their mission is to engage members, provide tailored financial solutions, inspire community involvement, and invest in their employees while serving and enriching the lives of others. The needs assessment focused on a team of care representatives on the Care Center Service Team.
Program and Stakeholders
This assessment was sponsored by the Care Center Manager, who oversaw all of the teams within the care center at Community Credit Union. Additional stakeholders included:
The Care Center Assistant Manager
Ten Member Care Representatives
We began in the position and planning phase with some preliminary discussions with the Care Center Manager regarding the performance issue she wanted to address. Their management team had already identified a performance gap she wanted to focus on for the project. Through these conversations, we learned more about the credit union, its goals and strategic plan, the makeup of the care center and other important contextual information. This helped us develop a Needs Assessment Project Plan, which guided the next three stages of the process.
Evidence Gathering: We gathered a variety of information from the care center including: queue activity reports, call volumes, training materials, job descriptions, 1 on 1 meetings, and metric information for the care center.
Stakeholder Interviews and Surveys: We interviewed four care center agents. Two that represented exemplary performance and two that represented non-exemplary performance. We also created and distributed a survey for the team to fill out.
Analysis & Feedback: We began our analysis of the data we had collected, and identified several questions that we included in a follow-up survey to the service agents. As we analyzed the data by creating a code book and coding it and used our coding to identify what areas might be indicative of root causes.
Reporting: We created a final report and executive presentation regarding our findings in the project.
We were presented with a 6% gap in agent Availability in the credit union’s customer care service team. After seeing the gap in performance, we were able to calculate the impact on business using employee productivity as a main metric. When we looked at the breakdown of time that contributes to this metric, we could see that closing this gap would return 30 minutes of Availability to each agent. This was important because the Credit Union used a third party vendor to handle overflow calls. We found that improving Availability would decrease the use of said vendor that answers rollover calls when there were no available agents.
As we worked through our analysis, we noticed several items that should be addressed by credit union management. We looked at Environmental and performer level factors that contributed to the gap. The main causes found were:
Environmental causes included the following:
A non-intuitive banking software system. Our assessment found that this was a major contributor to the gap in Availability performance. The non-intuitive nature of the software is leading to longer call times and more frequent call-backs. While average handle time in and of itself was not a performance measurement, longer call times meant that agents have less time to take breaks, ask questions of management, or do follow-up work between calls.
We found varying interpretations of metric standards. We also found that while agents were generally familiar with the Availability metric, they didn’t always know off-hand what their number should be. We believed that with only four performance metrics to track, agents should be intimately familiar with the minimum required performance.
We also noted varying interpretations of internal processes: Some of the call center processes were established and written down, some were not. A lack of standardized processes means that often agents weren't sure of the correct process.
Performer Level causes included the following:
In certain situations, capacity was a factor for agents. This issue would at times overlay with process: when agents don’t know the process or couldn't find it, they were likely to reach their capacity much more quickly. Agents who were working to hit higher than “Meets” expectations would also run into issues of actual minutes in a day. We found that if an agent was attempting to reach “exemplary” performance, they would only have 4 minutes of non-Ready time in a day to do any other tasks that might require them to be off the phone, including writing follow up notes, talking to management, or using the restroom.
Our data collection also revealed that motivation may have been an issue for some agents. Some agents believed that they had better personal processes than were expected by the care center management team, and at times agents simply didn’t “care” to meet the metric. Motivation was typically the hardest issue to overcome, but it may have been addressed by fixing some of the other root causes.
The multi criteria analysis shown here illustrates a series of criterion relative to the interventions that we are recommending. In a nutshell, the five interventions we recommended were:
Add Additional policy & procedure documentation
Implement a new banking system
Update banking system procedures
Enhance communication to team members regarding metrics
Correct the misalignment between Availability metrics and how to treat customers on a call