by: Steven Holmes, VP Strategic Development, AnyHour Solutions
The trend toward usage by credit unions of third party call/contact center outsourcing providers to supplement their member service efforts continues to increase. For purposes of this article we’re using the term “outsourcer” in reference to a U.S.-based call center provider who specializes in financial services and is equipped to take some or even all of a credit union’s member calls on a 24/7 basis. Typical services provided range from taking inbound calls from credit union members for completing loan applications to comprehensive member service support via real-time interface to the credit union’s core data processing system. In addition, some vendors can also provide various levels of outbound calling services.
The potential benefits to using a third party outsourcer are many including increasing loans, enhancing operational efficiency, reducing operating costs and increasing sales. In addition, a third party can help you to better manage the increasing complexity of the credit union business, enhance your credit union’s competitive profile, and give you better control over your operations. All of these foundational benefits collectively contribute to the top reason most often cited by credit union CEOs for utilizing a third party call center: Maximizing Member Service.
In addition to these core benefits of call center outsourcing, other specific factors can further enhance your level of member service:
Reduce Call Hold/Wait Times, Talk Times and Abandonment Rates. Due to factors such as high agent turnover rates and inadequate call center infrastructure, many credit unions experience unacceptable call hold times and call abandonment rates. And inexperienced agents can also lead to excessive call handle times. These factors can strongly impact member satisfaction/retention. A third party outsourcer can always be there, in the “background,” to assist with taking member calls during the day. Your internal phone system is set up to automatically transfer the call as dictated (e.g., after so many rings and no one has answered, after the member has been on hold for a certain period of time, etc.) Again, the outsourcing partner answers the call in the credit union’s name so it is transparent to the member. This way you ensure your member’s needs are attended to in an acceptable time period with hold times and abandoned calls minimized. After hours the credit union’s phone system is set to immediately pass the incoming call to the outsourcer. A good outsourcer will maintain the proper staffing and infrastructure to meet proper service levels in terms of member hold times, call handle times, and call abandonment rates.
Focused Industry Knowledge/Experience. Some CU outsourcers have a tremendous amount of experience in providing credit union member services; often times their agents are far more experienced than those working at the credit union’s internal call center.
Some of these companies target their call center services strictly to credit unions. For example, AnyHour Solutions has been providing call center services to credit unions for just under 20 years – longer than any other company. Their average agent has been with them more than 5 years and have taken over 25,000 member loan applications and handled well over 150,000 member service calls.
Hiring and Training Expertise. Because outsource providers specialize in call center services they typically have the experience of knowing the best avenues for obtaining employees with the required skill sets. Agent skill level will impact sales and quality of service. Many utilize technology products that aid in hiring the correct people and training them with the latest call center management tools and techniques.
So partnering with a call center outsourcing provider can bring many benefits to your credit union and enhance your overall level of member service. But, as always, it’s incumbent upon the credit union to do their due diligence to be sure the vendor you partner with “walks the talk” and will in fact be an asset toward better serving your valuable members.
About AnyHour Solutions
AnyHour Solutions (www.anyhoursolutions.com) is a highly flexible, adaptable provider of comprehensive, 24/7 contact center services for credit unions via our AnyHour MSR and AnyHour Loan-By-Phone services. Our purpose is to help our credit union partners to enhance service to their members, increase loan volume, and reduce operating expenses. AnyHour Solutions has been providing contact center services to credit unions for just under 20 years, longer than any other company. Highlighted by the industry’s most experienced staff of agents and a turnover rate under 10%, our contact center goal is to provide “Service They Will Remember.” In addition, AnyHour also provides online loan application functionality as well as a full suite of mortgage processing services for credit unions.
For additional information, or to receive a copy of our most recent white paper entitled Credit Union Call Center Outsourcing: 8 Reasons to Use a Third Party Outsourcing Provider contact Steven Holmes, VP Strategic Development, at 888.622.8696, email@example.com.