Intraday Management for Streamlined Communications

Today, customer loyalty is more difficult to establish and maintain than ever before. As people increasingly conduct transactions online and via mobile technology, they interact with your frontline associates, tellers and agents less frequently. When they do, it’s typically for more complex situations.

How well frontline tellers and contact center agents handle customer inquiries plays a critical role in earning consumer trust. As financial institutions reorient the structure of their operations to become more efficient and meet changing customer needs, such as the growing demand for mobile banking, they need to ensure that they protect the customer experience.

Improving the productivity of associates across all channels, while also providing immediate and consistent communications to tellers and agents to keep pace with changing regulations or policies, can seem like conflicting goals. However, the key is finding the right tools for streamlining delivery of the information that makes your associates more productive.

A financial institution may have associates located in banking centers scattered throughout the country and anywhere from 500 to 50,000 agents working in contact centers. Communicating information regarding new policies or services available to agents and tellers is challenging because the messaging needs to be tailored to address the needs of each role and prioritized across the diverse group. A well-established internal communications process needs to be established so employees can quickly receive the information they need in order to interact more effectively with customers.

Lessons from the contact center

The issue is how to efficiently deliver the right level of information and messaging to the appropriate individuals to achieve consistency in communications across channels. A good model for this endeavor is the contact center, which is set up to operate as efficiently as possible. Agents need to be available to take calls, but it’s the responsibility of workforce managers to incorporate other activities that give agents the information they need to provide the desired customer service that breeds customer loyalty. The same can be applied to tellers in a bank branch.

The most innovative workforce managers integrate intraday management technologies, solutions that help companies respond to changing business conditions by dynamically delivering activities, such as communications or training, directly to employees during low call volumes. No manual scheduling is involved; information is delivered to the right agents at the appropriate times, without negatively impacting service levels or the customer experience. After associates complete activities such as reading about changing compliance communications or updates to credit card products, the information is captured and reported to provide transparency and accountability across the institution.

You can also deploy training and coaching activities that help agents and tellers become the experts your customers deserve. Incorporating programs designed to improve associates’ performance empowers a financial institution to demonstrate that their contribution to the company is valued – a great motivator for associates.

With intraday management technology, associates can be made available immediately to handle new lines of credit or process loans as soon as they have completed training specific to those tasks. For example, after associates complete new credit card training, the technology immediately updates agent and teller profiles. This immediate re-skilling allows associates to receive work or inquiries that match their proficiency level. The associates can continuously apply and grow their new skills as soon as they are certified to do so.

This is great for both improving the professional development of associates as well as protecting the customer experience. When customers can talk to the right person to handle their inquiry, they receive the level of service they need to help maintain that customer relationship and build customer loyalty.

The path to successful customer service starts internally. When financial institutions can find new ways to decrease customer effort in resolving issues, increase efficiency in response times and improve overall customer communication, they set themselves apart from the competition and are better able to keep up with ongoing changes in the industry.

Mr. McConnell is CEO of Alpharetta, Ga.-based Intradiem, which provides intraday management solutions for contact centers. He can be reached at [email protected].