Recently, I spoke to a credit union executive who had talked about how busy their call center had gotten ever since the coronavirus pandemic broke out. The multi-billion dollar credit union received so many member service calls over these past several months, it tested out a chatbot that handled 1,000 would be calls within a month.
Even if your credit union isn’t large enough to warrant a call center, the scenario raises an important point: Credit union call centers have faced one of most direct hits of the pandemic. When physical branches went into lockdown, call centers filled a huge void.
Right from the very beginning of the pandemic lockdowns, call centers faced a large jump in the number of calls coming in every day. According to a J.D. Power survey reported in the Financial Brand, 14% of consumers experienced a long wait time while trying to get hold of a customer service representative between the dates of March 20-21, and that number increased to 17% between March 27-29. The survey also found that 12% of people were not able to reach a representative over the phone at all! What’s clear now is that call centers were severely underprepared and flaws in the systems were exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis coattails.
Call centers in integral to many credit unions and their members, but routine questions could be handled more efficiently through chatbots on your website and Facebook pages. Some began incorporating automation through chatbots and virtual assistants to assist member support with flood of queries.
One other digital tool that has gained importance, according to a blog post from Phonexia, is voice verification.With so many calls coming in, taking extra security measures such as verifying your members’ identity will help ensure members safely perform their financial business. However, the need for actual human beings will never be eliminated, just supplemented.
Clearly, moving forward, credit unions must provide members access to their credit unions via every avenue possible. Take care of your members, even if you don’t have the capacity internally by considering automation tools that are convenient for your members and your employees.