Member Service Representatives are not only the face of your credit union, but they are the lifeline to smooth front-end operations. If your CU is trying to evolve and grow, then it's imperative to consider ways to increase the productivity of your employees, without wearing them out with more responsibility than they can handle. Here are 5 ideas you can implement at your CU to make your MSR's more productive in their daily work:
- Create an environment that makes work enjoyable. You want your team to treat members with friendly attitudes, patience and understanding. You also expect staff to inform members of additional services that can improve their experience at the CU. To create that environment, you need to extend your MSRs the same courtesies and development opportunities. If MSRs feel that work is rewarding, and enjoy serving and solving member problems, the better they will be at it. Happy employees mean happy members.
- Encourage proper etiquette. In our article 6 Things MSR's Should Remind Themselves of Daily we discuss how language and posture earn trust. Scientific studies confirm that body language is all-important when it comes to making first impressions, forming new relationships, and maintaining existing relationships. The 7%-38%-55% rule, postulated by psychologist Albert Mehrabian, points to three elements that inform first impressions and earn trust: Words are 7% of the message, tone of voice is 38%, and body language is 55%. Remind MSRs that, while what they say is important, 93% of their interactions are perceived by tone, attitude, and nonverbal cues. Their attitude can make or break the member/CU bond. If the members come out with a positive feeling about their interaction, they're more likely to encourage others to join.
- Keep your expectations limited to their job description. Be clear on job descriptions from the start. MSRs are more than just tellers, they are the face of your CU and they need to be personable, cheerful, patient, and problem-solvers. They need to understand all the services and offerings of the CU so they can offer solutions. Some employees at small credit unions where multiple hats, however, you can't expect them to do things beyond their scope of responsibility. If you ask them to take on tasks outside of their job functions, you may breed resentment and a feeling of being overworked or taken advantage of, which can hurt productivity.
- Set SMART goals. Once your team knows what your expectations are, you need to give them the tools to measure themselves against those expectations. They need more information than just, "My manager says I'm doing well." They need to know what contributes to that, how their actions impact their performance, and what they're measured on. You need to first establish a baseline by measuring performance in a way that provides meaningful data. From this information, you can establish goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely - or SMART. Then if these goals are met or exceeded, there should be recognition. Team members that feel appreciated and valued for their efforts will work harder.
- Provide necessary tools and training. Credit union technology is crucial to your operations and your member services. It is necessary to not only have up to date software but also have the knowledge of how to run it. Ensure your MSRs are trained and comfortable with the technology they use, and they know where to go for assistance. Many technology partners offer online training modules where MSRs can learn at their own pace during downtime.
- Give them a break. We are only human and sometimes in order to be our most productive, we need to take a little break occasionally.This is especially true when your job is to be the smiling face at the other side of the CU counter for each member that comes in. This could mean a scheduled 15-30 minutes in a shift to just take a walk, sitting and having a cup of coffee, or actual vacation days. Science has proven again and again that performance increases after we get a break, so build those into your MSRs work schedule.
One of the biggest draws of a credit union is the feeling of personal attention members receive that lacks in big banks. By supporting your team and giving them the tools they need to be more productive, your staff, members, and bottom line will benefit.