COVID-19 Guidance for Banks: Optimizing Performance in Today’s New Environment Featuring FNBO
LiveVox teamed up with The Consumer Bankers Association last week for a lively discussion about how First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) has established secure work from home connectivity and data flows.
Skip to 13:00 for an explanation on how FNBO crafted a phased at-home deployment plan by conducting surveys of employees to gauge internet bandwidth reliability, provided devices, and access to a secure VPN. At 29:00 they transition to the social aspects of managing remote teams and how FNBO is keeping the lines of communication and collaboration open among a distributed agent pool. At 35:00 Boris shares insight into quelling consumer anxiety.
You can access the webinar here.
Full Webinar Transcript
The Consumer Bankers Association is pleased to welcome you to today’s webinar. COVID-19 guidance for banks, five ways to optimize performance in today’s new environment presented by LiveVox. My name is Jill and it is my pleasure to be the facilitator for today’s event and we want to thank you all for joining. Please note we are recording and we have muted all participant’s lines. If you have any trouble, please email us at email@example.com or send us a message in the chatbox. If you are just listening to the program over the phone, you can press star zero and an operator will assist you.
This presentation lasts up to 60 minutes and will include a question and answer opportunity at the end. You may submit a question at any time by typing them into our chat box in the lower-left corner of the screen and then just click on the send button. I would like to direct your attention to the links box located to the left of the screen where resources are located for you to view save or print. Simply click on the link of your choice and a separate web browser window will open and this will not interfere with your viewing of the program. As a reminder, the views expressed in this webinar are those of the presenters and do not represent the views of CBA or its members.
It is now my pleasure to introduce the speakers for today’s webinar. First, Denise Anderson is a senior manager collection strategy with FNBO with over 26 plus years at First National Bank of Omaha. Denise brings extensive operational insight into a variety of aspects impacting FNBO business. Currently serving as the senior manager of a collection strategy. Denise is responsible for developing recovery strategies that drive performance and optimize the customer experience in today’s digital age.
Next, we have Boris Grinshpun is the GM of CRM and digital solutions at LiveVox. Boris’ 18 plus years of experience, development strategy, and products focused on driving customer engagement and digital relationship management. His specialties include online customer experience, cross channel enablement, and CRM implementations. Prior to joining LiveVox, Boris was the vice president of strategic planning and online banking at US Bank and founder of Serafina. A leading provider of omnichannel sales solutions with integrated analytics and mobile capabilities.
Jim Lynch is the senior director of product marketing with LiveVox where he is responsible for developing strategy and products focused on driving customer engagement and digital relationship management. He brings to the table 19 years of operational leadership experience in contact centers driving growth and CX based on data and customer preference. Prior to LiveVox, Jim served as the COO of the CMI group, a leading BPO focused on customer care, revenue cycle management, accounts receivable management and omnichannel communication. Presenters welcome to the program.
Jim Lynch (00:03:30):
Thank you, Jill. We’re really excited to be here. So when we think about what we’re going to talk about today, none of us could have imagined putting together a webinar 60 days ago. To talk about COVID-19 or even work at home strategy for some of our contact centers. So in order to kind of lay the groundwork for you, as Jill mentioned, we’re joined by two great powerhouse executives. We have Denise Anderson and Boris Grinshpun. And what I want them to do is actually give them each a chance to kind of level set for you and tell them a little bit about their organization before we dive right into that. So with that being said, Denise, why don’t we kick it over to you? Let’s give everyone a little bit about what FNBO is all about.
Denise Anderson (00:04:11):
Sure. Good morning everyone, or good afternoon depending on where you’re at. So First National Bank of Omaha, of course, we’re in the middle of the country. We’re in Omaha, Nebraska and we have several call centers, one in Northeast Nebraska and then one up in South Dakota. We’ve been around for 160 years. We are family-owned and we’ve been around for a long time. But the one thing that’s very important to remember, and it makes me proud to be a member of the bank is, we are a great big small bank. So we service a lot of different lines of business, but yet it feels like you work with a small group of people who’ve got good values and just we take care of each other as well as the customers every day.
Jim Lynch (00:05:01):
Great. Denise, I think that’s important and we’re going to talk about that a lot during today’s call is that great big small bank mentality that you have and how you’re keeping your agents connected in this trying time. So Boris, with that being said, why don’t you cover a little bit about who LiveVox is?
Boris Grinshpun (00:05:15):
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Jim for that. So a little bit about LiveVox. We are one of the leading contact center platforms in the marketplace today. We facilitate over 14 billion interactions annually. That’s across voice as well as digital channels, messaging channels like email, also chat, as well as other messaging channels. We’re really rooted in providing our services to the highly regulated industry space. Specifically consumer financial organizations, and we have a slew of products, some of which we will cover today, but that, in a nutshell, is a little bit about LiveVox.
Jim Lynch (00:05:58):
Great, thanks, Boris. So as discussed, let’s get into a brief overview of why we’re here today. The effects of COVID-19 continue to evolve and many contact center leaders are at different parts of their journey where people have shifted to a remote agent workforce due to their own individual corporate policies. Maybe they put in place or maybe there was an order that was issued from their local governments. So, Boris, you’ve been hearing a lot of this, when you’re speaking to business leaders. So maybe share a few of other points with people and what they’re going to hear today.
Boris Grinshpun (00:06:29):
Yeah, absolutely. I think we want to make this a webinar really as practical as possible for some of the folks out there that are listening today. Obviously this has been a change and a change a lot of folks have had to adapt with very, very quickly. So what you’re going to hear specifically from us today as well as Denise are a couple of pointers regarding the challenges that organizations like yours may experience during this timeframe. As well as solutions that we’re seeing in the marketplace today from clients as well as prospects and how they’re dealing with this new reality. We, of course, want to make this as conversational, as practical as possible. So you’re going to hear real-world examples of the struggles. They, of course, some may be applicable so maybe not applicable to you, but everybody is on sort of a journey if you will. And hopefully, you will hear some great pointers along with this presentation that will allow you to better be prepared for what is now quickly becoming the new normal.
Jim Lynch (00:07:29):
Yeah, Boris. And I think that’s a weird thing to think about is that this could be the new normal. When you think about this group that’s used to be in a tight-knit contact center environment. And now you have agents that are spread all over the country for some of these clients that we’re speaking to. So really when you think about this, we’re going to talk about how Denise and FNBO have really attacked the new normal or what they think is the new normal. So no matter where your organization is along the journey, whether you’re thinking about, hey, I already have 100% of my workforce there today, but I have some pain points. We’re going to address some of those on today’s call. Some of you might just be thinking, all right, well, we’ve made it through the tough part. We got everyone deployed, but man, it was a tough journey to get there. So you think about it a little bit of the BCDR plans that you’re going to start to implement as you move forward.
Jim Lynch (00:08:16):
So really to help everyone through this, we have aligned today’s conversation around three key points that we’ve been asked over the last few weeks that we wanted to address with the audience today. So let’s just dive into a couple of those areas. And really, again, I’m going to call out FNBO, has been gracious enough to share what they’ve done. You’re going to hear from them today. We’re going to talk about how they’ve established secure work from home connectivity and data flows. It’s probably top of mind for everyone that’s on this webinar today. When you’re in banking and financial services, data so important to make sure that’s secure. So how are you attacking that?
Jim Lynch (00:08:51):
And then once your agents are deployed across the country, how do you monitor and coach agents remotely? Maybe you’re used to walking up behind them, coaching them, taking over a call, or just giving them a small tip. So you’ll hear a little bit about that. And then how do you optimize these new workflows to restore previous levels of quality and efficiency? So really as we dive into that, the first thing, addressing security and connectivity, as I said, I think that this is the most important piece that people are going to want to hear about today. So, Boris, why don’t you jump in a little bit. Let’s talk about three bullets that we’re going to talk about. Security and connectivity obstacles that people have overcome or maybe they’re still trying to overcome.
Boris Grinshpun (00:09:29):
Yeah, so let’s talk about, I think that’s a great point, Jim. And something that we’ve heard over and over from our existing clients as well as prospects. So now that majority of your folks, whether they were in a traditional contact center that was within a centralized location or maybe they were sitting in a particular branch location, have now moved to work from home. So the questions that we’ve had or the problems that clients have encountered is, okay, firstly, how do I make sure they have a secure and reliable internet connection in order for them to continue to facilitate conversations or interactions or if you will, their business on a day to day basis. How do I make sure that that same level of effort, if you will, that it took to do the job that they were doing on a daily basis, which was servicing our customers and whatever? Face to face or even a remote facility is going to be done today from home.
Boris Grinshpun (00:10:27):
At the same time, assuming that we’ve done that, how do you re-ensure that consumer data is protected. In other words, we were in the physical location that we had lots of control over. We have lots of processes over that we’ve taken years to establish how do we very, very quickly ensure that same level of data protection is going to be there now in a home facility that we really haven’t set up. And how do we make sure that all of the necessary tools are at the hands and disposal specifically of our folks and of our team members? So that they can lead a conversation. So in other words, we keep this business, if you will, seamless from beginning to end for our customers, even though we may not be in our exact location. So again, to recap, how do we make sure there’s a reliable connection, how do we make sure data’s protected and our folks have all of the right tools at their disposal?
Jim Lynch (00:11:25):
Thanks, Boris. So Denise, when I think about the way that Boris just elaborated these three bullet points. I can’t imagine that it was so smooth there at the bank. You thought about this process like, “Oh my gosh, like we’re really going to start having an influx of inbound traffic.” Sometimes people are looking for deferments, so all the things that the bank was projecting were going to happen as we get through this crisis. So I’m sure that it wasn’t a conversation like Boris just had. So let’s flip it over to you a little bit about how maybe that was addressed from the bank and how you guys have risen to the challenge.
Denise Anderson (00:11:58):
Sure. Thank you. So yeah, when we first started entertaining the thoughts of having to move agents from home initially when you think of First National Bank as a whole, there’s a lot of departments, business units. The bank did a really nice job as far as looking and thinking about all of the employees. They initially sent out a survey that was very, very detailed, but it was helpful as it related to the data that the employees provided. So the first thing we did was we looked at all of the agents and what their capabilities were. Like I mentioned in the intro, we are in rural America, Nebraska, South Dakota, and I’m sure most of you are in bigger cities, maybe where the WiFi is a little better. But being in the Midwest sometimes there are those difficulties.
Denise Anderson (00:12:47):
So I think it was very important to ask agents, do you have the internet? Is it a strong signal? Kind of getting the fine details of what our agent’s internet connection was or what their capability was from a laptop or something that would be beneficial to kind of look at all of our employees from the top down. To give us an idea of where we were going to start if it actually came to fruition that we were going to have to start moving agents to home. I think we were lucky from that standpoint because literally from the moment we were given the direction to start moving agents from home, my department, which we work in the collection department. We were able to start moving agents home fairly quickly and I think it was partly due to the fact that we do have a relationship with LiveVox. It literally took a phone call to our telecom and getting a different phone number in order for our agents to connect to LiveVox.
Denise Anderson (00:13:51):
Right now our agents, even when they were in the office or in the remote locations, we connected to LiveVox via an MLS connection. Once we had that phone number for agents to possibly connect via a different tool or their cell phone or a landline, we literally took eight agents and tested within a two-day window and had them working from home. The thing to remember is we already had a VPN access process in place, but prior to this, the only people that typically had access or worked from home were managers, execs, things of that nature. So we never even entertained someone from an agent perspective or the frontline employees having that ability. Once, we got the new phone numbers to … Is there a question Jim?
Jim Lynch (00:14:44):
No, I was going to say, I think you’re right, Denise. I mean, you would never think about this. As a contact center leader, you’d never say, “Oh you know what? I’m going to start deploying my agents at home.” And it was probably something that, I don’t know. Would you say that you were even maybe against the idea of people approached it before this crisis?
Denise Anderson (00:15:02):
Against it before this. Yeah. I don’t think we even entertained the thought or was it an option? It was never even discussed. We had the call center, the agents showed up to work. They worked from there. There was never a need or the question was never asked for an agent to work from home. And would hear other businesses that may have had that implemented. I think you hear it more in the bigger cities, not in a small town where everyone’s coming to work every day. So no, it was brand new. It was, we’re going to do this, and let’s see how fast we can start moving agents out. And it actually went very smoothly, especially when I started hearing stories from other banks or entities that it was a struggle from the get-go.
Jim Lynch (00:15:50):
Yeah. I think it’s interesting, like one of the things that you touched on here from a connectivity standpoint is, one of the first surveys that you did is you actually went out and looked for people that had a great internet connection at home or good, I should say. Maybe it didn’t have to be great. And people with a laptop …
PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:16:04]
… At home. We’re good, I should say. Maybe this didn’t have to be great, and people have a laptop connection. And some, I’m sure, on the phone is like, oh that’s kind of weird. Are they using their personal laptops? Maybe you can just touch on, are most of the platforms that you’re using, and that they are working with every day, I’m assuming they’re all web-based platforms. So, you’re going in, establishing a VPN connection, and then speaking to them on just a web browser. Is that pretty much how you have it set up?
Yeah. So right now, also some of the bullets too mentioned there, is we did go back and we procured laptops and monitor devices. So, we have the majority of our agents are on bank-owned devices now. Initially just to get this thing rolling and start to test the waters, we were able to do so with that. But our infrastructure, we have what is called a workspace. So, literally, as we were identifying agents that had a strong wifi connection, the ability to access a device, we would give them the VPN access. Once agents were able to get on via the VPN, they chose their workspace and their environment from home looked exactly as it would if they were sitting in the call center. So, all apps or all web-based products or applications that they use day-to-day to perform their job, they literally had that same access from home. So-
There’s no gap [inaudible 00:17:36]. Everything was readily available.
Oh wow, that’s so great. So I mean, even if you think about ramp time and training, it really wasn’t that difficult once you got all that in place, because people were able to connect securely and they’re able to use all the tools and technologies that they’re able to use in the office, just in a home environment. So that was pretty awesome, and wow, just think about how amazing it is. When I talk to people and talk about their IT departments, sometimes IT is a little bit of a bottleneck. But I’ll tell you what, through this crisis, every single organization I talk to, especially there at FNBO you guys have done a great job of pulling a lot of technology rapidly, that’s really enabled you to take care of your customer. So, really great there. Hats off to you.
So Boris, let’s [crosstalk 00:18:20] think about from your side a little bit, from a LiveVox perspective. Let’s roll through some of the ways that LiveVox maybe has addressed the challenges, but I also want you to speak at a high level. What are some of the other tactics that you’re discussing with other clients, just like FNBO?
Yeah, so as we think about what Denise had stated there, in terms of ensuring there’s great connectivity, there are the right tools for the job, ensuring sort of access and proper controls. We sort of break things down, and a couple of things that we’ve seen our successful clients take on. And that is, really the best ways to address this particular connectivity channels is, to make it simple for your employees and agents to be able to connect, have the right controls of access points in data, making sure that people don’t see too much, don’t see too little, and making sure that everybody has a great assessment of the tools that they need for the job.
So internally, whether that’s a survey or whether your internal departments already have a little bit of a cheat-sheet, but just understanding the applications that they need to utilize every day to do the job, goes sort of a long way. And so, our successful clients really have sort of taken on that challenge and looked across solving it across these particular three areas.
We of course at LiveVox, have some tools that help our clients do exactly that. So from that standpoint, we’ve sort of ensuring that our clients have great connectivity. We make it simple, make it easy. This just ensures that your folks aren’t spending a lot of time trying to find that new password, calling into your own internal support center and resetting that password constantly, and ensuring that every day for them starts just as smoothly as it did in a physical location.
In addition to that, you want to make sure that the right data is available for the agent, whether you already have a desktop that you’ve designed, whether you’ve procured one for another vendor. These tools tend to have great access and great controls, instead of potentially expanding your entire system of record to your agents, given their at homework setting. You of course at the same time, want to also make sure that you’re PCI compliant.
So, as your agents specifically in that home setting are making payments, this is an example of one of our clients taking a secure payment over the phone. But this information isn’t kind of being thrown around, and you’re utilizing the right tools that are in place for you, in order to obscure some of that data and make sure that it’s not exposed. And of course, if you have other third-party tools, you want to make sure that they’re provided in a controlled environment so that your folks out there at home now have the most amount of success.
So these are just some examples. I know there are lots of folks that have already deployed some of these solutions. We look at these solutions and think of how critical they are, in a time of need like this, for folks needing to control an uncontrolled environment, if you will, [Jim 00:21:30].
So Boris, one of those items that you touched on, and actually I’m going to go back to it just for a second here.
So I’m going to go back to, one is secure payment capture. So when you just think about the information that people are having to do, take, we think about PII. We definitely think about any credit card information or any checking account information that you might need to process if you are making payments. So, could you just cover maybe outside of the box way that some people are using this, and walk through maybe a little bit of a workflow from a customer perspective? So what happens here? I’m calling in, maybe I need to make a payment on my loan. How is that done?
Yeah, absolutely. So, in a traditional environment, well let’s talk a little bit about this. In a traditional environment, Jim, where everything is controlled in the kind of the physical world, if you will, or in the centralized world. You would call in, you would provide secure information to the individual on the other end, that’s a bank employee. They would take that information down. They may jot it down, unfortunately, although we know that, that’s not exactly a best practice. But they manager-ed into the payment system or the merchant system that the bank is utilizing, in order to process that payment. Whether that’s a credit card payment, whether that’s a check payment.
But point being, Jim, is that from that standpoint, that information that the consumer has shared with you, has now been shared with the employee at the bank, and that employee at the bank is now entering it somewhere else. And that’s super highly sensitive information, and maybe that was okay when it was in a controlled, centralized location, but that’s no longer the case.
In this particular piece, the flow is actually fairly similar from that perspective. But there’s only one large caveat, and that is, is that when there is a conversation and there is a sensitive data exchange between the banker and the consumer, there’s an IVR prompt that’s essentially conference in, in real-time by that agent, by the bank employee that’s now working at home. And it’s prompting the user to enter all of the information.
But of course, at this point in time, the bank employee actually is not hearing the credit card information. They’re not hearing the pin. They’re not hearing all of that sensitive data, and the system is just collecting that data, and giving visual prompts and visual cues back to the banker, whether this was done correctly. Of course, they’re in a conference bridge, so if there’s actually any help that’s needed, the consumer can just right away ask the banker for some assistance, but this really minimizes what I would call that data leakage, that need, if you will, to write down and jot something down on a piece of paper.
We’ve had a number of clients deploy this, prior to the COVID crisis. Of course, now it’s gained a lot of popularity. There are, of course, other folks that offer this or other ways to obtain this, another way to work this. My comment is, of course, talk to folks on your side. Of course, speak to the folks at LiveVox, if you wish, and we’re happy to discuss this option, along with other alternatives of how to share sensitive data between consumers and bank employees.
Thanks, Boris. I think it was just important to show a little bit of the innovative ways to overcome some of the obstacles that might have stopped some people from putting employees at home before. They’re used to walking into a contact center, PCI compliant. There’s no paper, there are no pens, there’s nothing like that to record information. So, that’s definitely one of the obstacles that your auditors look for. So, thanks for sharing that.
All right, so we just discussed connectivity. We got people connected, but now it’s, how do I monitor them and how do I keep them engaged? So let’s just talk about a couple of bullet points that we’re hearing here. Is that, look, people’s homes are not controlled environments. Luckily for us so far on the call, we haven’t heard any kids yelling in the background, yet. It still could happen. We still have 30 minutes to go to the call. So it could happen, but they’re not controlled environments.
We just discussed pen, we just discussed paper. How can we control some of the sensitive information? And, we’ll talk a little bit about feedback. It’s normally a face-to-face session. We hear what’s happening on the calls, maybe we have some speech analytics rolling. But at some point, you’re having a conversation to coach agents on how to improve some of their calls. So, that’s not happening anymore. You can’t just go up to someone, hey, come over to my office. Go over to this corner, have a conversation. That’s not happening anymore.
So, when we think about those one-on-ones, they were structured. Maybe every day at 10 o’clock, you met with your supervisor, or you met with one of your agents. Well that’s not happening anymore. Maybe it is. So we’re going to hear from Denise on how she’s attacking some of that. And then, how do ad hoc conversations happen now? So, in the new world, disparate work environments, what does that look like? So, Denise, with that being said, let’s talk about a little bit how FNBO rise to the challenge of having a workforce where you just can’t come up, touch them, and have a conversation anymore.
Sure. It’s kind of interesting because you would think the environment would change drastically in this world also, but luckily for us we, minus that face-to-face interaction, we have done a really nice job. And when I say “we”, I mean the managers and leads in our structure. We still are listening and coaching on the LiveVox platform, from the management perspective. So, we already had processes in place where we listened to calls and then we would, as you said, have the, hey, let’s go over in the corner and have this conversation or discuss this call.
What we have found is our management team and the leads that are doing the coaching and having conversations, they are using one of the functionalities that LiveVox gives us. It’s the barge functionality. So as we are listening to calls, maybe there was a really great call or maybe there was a call that was just very difficult. The management team is, they’re able to use the barge functionality. So once the call has actually ended, the manager can actually hit the barge and have a one-on-one conversation with the agent right there.
It saves the agent having to log out, disconnect their cell phone may be, or whatever they are using to have the connectivity, then having a separate conversation that causes a whole lot of other steps. So, from our perspective, the listening, monitoring calls, there have been no gaps in that. What we have found that’s really great, that’s kind of replaced that face-to-face is we and the management team are using WebEx conferences, and they’re actually using the video too. So they’re actually seeing each other, so they can have a conversation and have any kind of discussion they need to around KPIs, or how things are going just from maybe a personal level.
Oh, that’s so awesome, and we hear about some of the barging technology when we were on with some other executives. And it’s really interesting is that, when you go and you start monitoring, this is really enabling some of them, even the C-level executives to get connected with some of the agents. Now, keep in mind, some of these agents, all of a sudden they hear their CEO or COO doing the call, and they’re like … They freeze up a little bit, but then it kind of puts them at ease, as they start to hear more and more interactions down to the employee level. I think we’re starting to even see executives learn a little bit more about an employee that they might not have the chance to really get to know.
So I know, Denise, in just a little bit we’re going to talk about the social aspect because so far we’re talking about connectivity and performance. Just a little bit later we’re going to talk about the social aspect too, as well. So, this is all pretty interesting and it sounds like you guys had a really robust process, already set up that you were able to continue using as you sent your agents home. But for some others, this has been a big challenge.
And, Boris, I think what we want to do is really talk about, Denise and her team have done really well. They’ve got it down. They have this process rolling pretty smoothly. So again, hats off to Denise kind of showcasing her talents there at the bank a little bit. But, let’s talk about some of the other clients. Maybe they’re struggling a little bit more, Boris, so let’s talk about some other methods that they might use, and some other tools that are out there for them to address.
Yeah, absolutely, Jim, and I think there’s … You kind of want to look at this as a little facet on a particular journey. So, it’s not about what you’re doing today. If you’re doing some great things, I think that’s great. You can improve on that, and we’ll talk to you a little bit about that. If you’re just starting out, there are also things that you could do right away that could actually have a tremendous amount of impact on your bank or for your institution.
So, really when we talk to a lot of clients, clients sort of in this transitional way, or in this sort of thinking, are really facing three challenges. One of course is, hey, there’s lots of conversations happening. I can’t necessarily be in front of my folks to help them anymore, in a physical location. I need to be able to have the right tools to give them coaching, make sure they’re doing all of the right things like they were in a centralized location, and that I’m monitoring to some degree, on a real-time basis.
So, Denise mentioned some great ways to do that. And so, if you haven’t done that, I would really urge you to establish those processes today. Establish some sort of a cadence, or not a cadence if you want to surprise your people, and ensure you’re doing some real-time monitoring quality management. In addition to that, I think your next step will be really to double down on that and to double down on that from the standpoint of being able to remotely coach somebody and remotely communicate with them.
So again, you used to have a meeting. We all used to come into an office. We would have some scheduled training sessions. Don’t let that go by the wayside. Make sure you’re doing that today, whether that’s positive, and I say sort of being positive as much as possible. But, whether it’s positive or you’re just providing some feedback, or you’re letting folks know about a particular program, or changing policy or whatever’s changing within your financial institution. Utilize communication tools…
PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:32:04]
Changing within your financial institution, utilize communication tools to do that. And the third one, which is a little bit near and dear to my heart is proactive with consumers today. I think there was a recent sort of article written in American Banker really sort of challenging majority of financial institutions to be proactive in communicating with their consumers or with their businesses proactively. Meaning if you’re sitting around and you’re sort of waiting for people to call you or waiting for people to contact you, they all will rush in at the same time. So utilizing digital channels to be proactive to disperse that traffic will yield a lot of value. I’ll talk about that in just a moment, but just to kind of give you an idea of what this could look like, there are many tools out there. There’s an example of ours that provides you the ability to hear the recording on a call that a particular banker and a consumer or business have had.
It also gives you a real-time screen and recording capability as well. So you can go back and you can playback the screen recording so you can see what the agent was seeing, what they were discussing, what systems they were utilizing. Really gives you a sort of a window into what is happening within your contact center today, which is super, super important. If you’re thinking about these tools, now would be the time and the place to sort of to deploy these things. In addition to this, you want to make sure that you’re providing the right level of coaching and the details around this. So if you have today simple pamphlets, scan them, upload them, utilize PDF documents, disperse them to your folks, make sure they’re taking this time to read up on a particular policy, procedures within the bank, especially if they’re having some downtime in between all of this.
And lastly, make sure that they’re communicating between themselves. This is a sort of a powerful tool. I think there are a lot of folks who utilize internal chat solutions. They’ve become a go-to solution. I could tell you within LiveOps as well in staying connected. We, of course, have always had that, but now this becomes even more so important whether it’s, “Hey, did you talk to this particular customer? They’re having a problem. Did you talk to them? Did we address it? Do I need to escalate that to a manager?” We’ll also talk about a sense of community in some upcoming slides, but if you want to foster cross-departmental communication effectively, make sure you have all of the right tools so that your people can effectively, easily communicate with each other.
Thanks, Boris. So I think that you before I move into optimizing performance, you touched on one thing I really want to discuss and it was the proactive outreach utilizing digital channels. So we heard about this over the past couple of weeks and how some people have really deployed it. So let’s touch on it because I think you’re right. What happens is that you know people are going to call. You guys are already going out there and forecasting inbound call volume or I mean it could be anything.
People looking to defer payments is a big deal right now with banks. So there’s options and tools and deploying different things on a website, but nobody really knows about it or how to find it. So why don’t you talk a little bit, Boris, about how people are using digital channels for proactive outreach that’s really like building the customer experience and customer loyalty because if not, they’re just going to call the contact center. There’s no way they’re going to staff fast enough or have as many people on to handle those calls. So what’re some ways that we could utilize some of that, some of those digital channels?
Yeah, so Jim, I think you bring up a great point and during times like this, there’s a lot of uncertainty. There’s a lot of uncertainty. “Hey, am I going to be okay financially? Is my financial institution aware of my particular situation? Is my business going to be around?” And whenever you have uncertainty, folks get of course nervous, folks call on their revolvers, folks really start to reevaluate their financial situation. And so this is also at the time when they start to sort of evaluate the relationship that they have with their financial institution. But practically speaking, what has that led to? What that has consistently led to and what we’ve seen is an absolutely enormous increase in inbound customer care traffic. And absolutely, I don’t want to say the worst time, but absolutely the hardest time for financial institutions. And so anybody we talk to today is letting us know, “Hey, Boris, you guys got some great solutions, but I’ve got inbound call volume that’s all creating a huge bottleneck at a time when I’ve had to move my agents to work from home. And while that has gone relatively well, there are still certain gaps.” So in other words, “I’m having a larger than expected call handle or call wait times.” And these are complex situations. So of course call handle times have increased substantially. So what we’ve seen successful financial institutions do is they’ve gotten ahead of this. How have they gotten ahead of this? Well, first of all, they’ve utilized the combination of email and SMS to proactively message to their base and let them know about deferments, about processes for deferments, and where some of these deferments may be located.
We’ve seen people let consumers know, “Hey, we’re closing down this particular branch or this branch will be open but this branch will be open during particular business hours.” And so there you’re sort of looking out for your consumers and you’re getting ahead of things. So instead of them calling you, you’re being proactive in your communication cycle. In addition to this, we’re finding this to be a bit of a frictionless communication in that people get their sort of FAQs answered much, much quicker. So people are responding to SMS messages. The banks are saying, “Hey, look, thank you for this information,” or, “Hey, can you help me with this?”
And sort of a conversation ensues. It’s less invasive, less pervasive than potentially having to actually make an outbound phone call in some instances. And there also promotes lots of self-service as I mentioned earlier, directing the consumer saying, “Hey, this is the process for this. In case you’re interested, we’re looking out for your best interest. Here’s where you’re going to find that.” So we’re finding that that actually alleviates and decreases the traffic going in from a call center perspective in sort of all at once and alleviates that bottleneck if you will, Jim.
Thanks, Boris. I think it’s important to think right now, it’s really a time to be innovative. Think outside the box, think of ways to communicate with your consumers in a way that you might not have done before. So when you think about those digital channels, if it’s just leading to an inbound call, you’re not slowing it down, give them an option to self-service or maybe you can give them an option to respond to just not drive the inbound traffic because that’s one of the things that everyone’s dealing with. And I think it’s an important point because now we’re going to talk about optimizing performance. And Boris, you brought up the bottlenecks that happen. So now how do they scale compliance monitoring quality control in this? We’re going to talk about that, but before we do, I want to sprinkle in a few other things.
Team bonds are really important and how do we really connect across distributed teams. So, Denise, I’m going to get into your slide here a little bit about how you’ve risen to the challenge, but before we just talk about production and how you were able to optimize by utilizing technology, what I’d really like to do is hear from you a little bit. How are you staying connected with your employees? I can imagine in your contact center you guys are constantly running contests, keeping people motivated, just things that happen in the day to the day contact center. So you mentioned WebEx. What are some other things that you’re doing to connect your team just from a social aspect?
Sure. I think the bank has done a really nice job kind of for all departments, not just mine, but all departments. They’ve actually created a new Facebook page called the 209. We have a newsletter that we typically would get prior to the COVID. It would give fun little facts, things of maybe health-related recipes, or working out. The bank went ahead and created a special Facebook group for the employees. And it’s fun to watch because now you’ve got all these employees who maybe never knew each other, they worked in different departments and that’s one way they’re able to keep in touch and maybe just have that sense of, “Oh, there are still people out there.” Everyone’s at home alone and some might be stuck with their kids and the screaming kid, the dog barking. But that was one thing that I know we’ve started right away.
They do a good job too of sending communication with other links to videos or a fitness app or as I mentioned earlier, recipes or something as simple as my dialer team when they … We send out updates on performance and who’s doing really great jobs. Just sending funny little quips to them to kind of lighten the mood because their job wasn’t easy when it was in the contact center and it sure didn’t get easier when we sent them all home and now they’re trying to be a mom and work all at the same time. So I think we’ve done a lot of those things from a social distancing aspect, but using the social apps, Facebook, Instagram, things of that nature. Everyone’s probably connected with their cell phones.
Getting into from the performance aspect of it, again, we were very lucky prior to COVID. We had a lot of dashboards and KPIs that we looked at and watched using the LiveOps tool, the BI, just for the agent’s perspective. So they were already used to seeing their right party volumes, their promise volumes when they logged in. So when they were sitting in the call center, they could see how they were performing throughout the day. We would send dashboards or updates to them and they would see that life time. That hasn’t changed. So now that everyone’s at home, they’re still logging on. Of course, it’s different, but they’re logging on to their workspace. They get into LiveOps. They can see their stats. We’re still sharing the performance overall from a whole call center perspective, but then at the individual level and trying to do more positive reinforcement of, “Hey, these are really bright numbers. You guys are doing a good job.” Some of the things that we do look at specifically are we measure their productive time versus unproductive time. It was very interesting as we worked to get our agents working from home, we saw a little spike in the unproductive time, mainly during the week where we were sending the masses home. But overall over the past four or five weeks, we’ve actually been able to maintain the threshold. We did have to lower the standards slightly just to accommodate maybe a slow wifi connection or interruption in their service. But for the most part, our agents are still able to perform and we’re still able to hit the KPIs that we would expect to, but also using the tools that we had in place prior, we have been able to identify the fact that our PC rates are increasing and that’s probably because they are all at home now. But then, in turn, you see the decrease in the conversion rate, so we have very good insight into the data. We had it prior to COVID. We have just as good insight now, but we try to do a better job of calling it out at the individual, at the agent level, just to help reinforce that, “Hey, you’re not out on an island all by yourself. We’re all in this together.” And I think sharing those stats and those KPIs to them daily, if not three, four times a day, I think that helps them realize that they are still a part of the team and they’re contributing ultimately to help our customers.
Thanks, Denise. I think it’s really important to call out though. It wasn’t that you were just going in and like, “Oh, my gosh, I have to worry about just what production looks like.” You’ve really done a great job making sure that the agents are connected socially. So there’s a lot to think about when it comes to that and it’s a hard balancing act. Some people are really good at monitoring productivity and looking at reports and things like that. Just driving production, production, production and this is really different. I mean you have new stress at home now, so I mean they could be at home, maybe a spouse, maybe a child or we don’t know what their home situation is like so they could be undergoing some different kinds of stress.
And then the other thing to think about is that one of the stresses that an employee would have once they move home is they’re thinking, “Oh, my gosh, I need to be on the phone every minute of every day. Just in case my supervisor logs in right now and they want to take a look at what I’m doing, I better be on there.” Well, the fact of the matter is that’s not really the case. So when you think about people in their day to day work, if they’re in the office, they’re taking time, they’re having conversations with their neighbor, they’re getting up using the restroom, maybe they’re going into the break room. Just think about that. People are still humans. And I think, Denise, you guys have done a great job keeping up with that theme and the culture that you guys have built there at the bank.
Again, you had the big bank with the small bank feel. So keeping that culture I think is so important and one that I really hope resonates with the rest of the audience that we hear or that are listening today. So, Boris, I’m going to flip over to you a little bit. Let’s just keep up with the same theme. You’re going to talk a little bit more about from the software side, but why don’t you pause a little bit to talk about how you’ve connected with some individuals in a different way than maybe you have in the past, and then you can go ahead and feel free to roll into some of the tools and ways to address the challenge.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’ll say this, Jim, in all of this flurry of all of these articles that talk about discovering your new hobbies and everything else, I think this has given me a little bit of time to think and reflect, which sometimes helps to think a little bit more about the product holistically and think about what we’re doing here with customers, which I found very, very helpful. So I’ve probably taken, I’ll call it the less productive, more focused approach in terms of how I’m managing my day and what I’m doing to find sort of a greater purpose in the things that I’m doing. Having said that, of course, we utilize lots of tools to connect. You and I talk all the time. So there isn’t any reprieve from that standpoint.
But we’re also finding that folks are finding sort of interesting tools and ways to connect and they’re finding out of the box ideas, as you said, Jim, before, in keeping their overall team engaged. And what’s pretty interesting is that we find that our clients now have taken some of these tools, and they’re starting to really sort of scale them. They’re starting to really be thoughtful regarding their data. They’re starting to look into a little bit more. They’re starting to analyze patterns in a way that they haven’t before, which is really, really interesting and allowing people to find lots of insight about their business. They’re also trying to and looking to automate some of the processes.
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Also trying to and looking to automate some of the processes, that they’re now finding more so burdensome if you will. So this is a particular example of one of our clients essentially taking automation and layering it on top of already agent score protocol evaluations, where instead of having to listen to every conversation that’s being automatically scored for them. So that way this is making them more productive in their day to day lives. Either just focusing on either great conversations or conversations that deed much more input. We’re also finding that there is a new way to connect with a front office and back-office teams. And what I specifically mean regarding this is that I certainly remember working at a bank and knowing that I had a manual here and a sticky note there and I could always take something, walk it down to somebody else, ask them a question, ask them to look into something.
Well, that isn’t quite possible. Your family has become your new colleagues, they’re not going to be able to help you with your banking issue. So we’re finding lots of tools being implemented, anything that’s been sort of rudimentary, which is email, which is not a great workflow tool. To other things like ticketing platforms, which allow people to connect from their home into a back-office environment that’s now essentially somebody else working from home and allows him to route issues to specific areas of the business so that they can get the right attention and the right help.
So if you implemented or you’re looking for that, that’s certainly very, very helpful. Having to call every single person or even having to chat necessarily isn’t the most ideal scenario. So look to recognize some of the processes that you do often today and look to automate them to today very sort of quickly. And in addition to that, think about rewards and connections. So I know Denise mentioned this earlier, but we’ve had some clients do some pretty exciting things.
I think one of the ones that I like the most is we have a client that’s utilizing Postmates. Shameless plug to Postmates, if you haven’t heard of them, of course, a food delivery service. But they essentially reward great behavior and send out free lunches, coffees to their employees. Just to say thank you, to stay physically connected, to support the local restaurants and the local economies of some of these businesses. People are having the Zoom meetups. I don’t think that’s new as of this point. Shout out to my own personal colleagues who even had a funny hair wig and it has made the working environment different, but at least he has made it to be a bit fun and continue to think of these things because I think people are craving them internally to try to stay connected to one another during this time.
Yeah. Thanks, Boris, it’s all just so important. And I know we’re running up about 10 minutes to go on the webinar. I do want to remind everybody, in the bottom left corner of your screen, you can type in any audience questions that you have for Boris. Think of him as just being an expert across a broad audience of clients there and maybe from a software perspective. And then if you’re battling something that you think that might be relevant to something that Denise has gone through, definitely type that in the questions box and we’ll answer that here at the end of the session.
But before we go, Denise, if you were to start all over again, I like to give panelists a chance to do like just share maybe some best practices or if you had tips, like if someone just would have told you something before you got started down this journey, what would you like to share with everyone and leave them with?
That’s an interesting question to answer, but when I look back it’s about how we were able to do this and how we did do it. As you’re working with the employees, I think just being open and honest with them, because ultimately that’s what we want them to communicate and how we want them to communicate with the consumer, the agents. Kind of like we mentioned earlier, we don’t know what the employee’s life is like at home. So I think just being real. I get it, it is all about production. We have calls to make, we have payments to take, whatever your world involved. I think ultimately if the bottom line it’s just treat the employees real. And keeping them happy and safe and a sense of still being a part of the group is huge. Communicate, communicate, and communicate. And I don’t mean by email. Maybe it is picking up the phone or doing a WebEx or a Zoom with them just to see them. And then I think just overall, be thankful. I watch what’s going on in the industry, I watch what’s going on personally around me. And I think it helps me and my team just to remember all of the things that I’m thankful for as it relates to my job or the technology, my teammates. I think it helps keep a positive spin on it. And maybe your list is not as long as ours as it relates to the job, but I think making sure we call out the things that we do well helps as we try to improve other processes that maybe we need to improve on or introduce a new tool. So those would be my recommendations I think.
Thanks, Denise. I really do appreciate this. I mean you really show just for these two bullet points how you really are putting your people first and then you’re laying on the technology. I think as you start to build those partnerships are obviously you have built the partnerships with your team and then with the other external teams, like your IT department in order to help people through this. I think it just speaks volumes to how you and the bank have set up the culture there at FNBO. So great job to you, thanks for sharing that. And then Boris, let’s flip over to you a little bit. How about your five tips to succeed in getting started?
Yeah, absolutely. I think we promised this to folks, so I guess I better deliver on that, Jim. So I think first and foremost, it’s keeping it simple. You’ve got challenges today, whatever that challenge may be, whether it’s connecting and establishing a connection with your agents, making sure that they have the right systems.
Don’t get overwhelmed by things, but just keep it simple. Solve immediate challenges, solve immediate customer pain points. Do that first. As you’ve done that, then think a little bit about expanding your communication and oversight. We mentioned some of the tools, whether it’s an internal chat solution, whether it’s some monitoring tools, that may be a great step number two, in order to really better understand what’s happening with your employees.
Third, unify the processes and experiences. So whether that’s from your consumer standpoint, making sure that their voice conversations are connected with email, SMS, chat conversations, or whether it’s for your employees that they’re connected with the back office team that’s going to help them solve a particular issue. Unify processes and experiences.
Step number four would be to automate that. So if you’re doing something all the time, it requires two to three clicks, but you do it often and it provides little to no value, look at how you can automate that. Again, lots of great tools out there to help you out when you’re ready to move forward. And five, as Jim mentioned, establish new ideas and try something new. Always have room for innovation, also in a time like this. Because if this is the new new, you may want to get ahead of it.
And this is a last, bonus step. I read a great article, why you should completely ignore everything everybody’s putting out there regarding optimizing, and finding your next new hobby. Just really reflect, take your time to spend with your family and try to enjoy this time as much as you possibly can, given the crisis that we’re going through. So as people get this [inaudible 00:56:28] please read the great article. I found it to be very, very useful.
Thanks, Boris, I appreciate you sharing that. So with that being said, again, reminder down in the bottom left corner audience questions, go ahead and type your questions in there. And Lindsay, if you’re out there, I think we have a couple of questions. We have about three to four minutes left, so let’s get through as many as we can. And then, as the time starts to expire, if you could just throw it back to Jill for closing remarks, that would be great. So kick it over to you for some questions.
Awesome. Thanks, Jim. And yes, as Jim said, if you have any specific or technical questions, feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to get back to you on those. But let me run through a few that we’ve gotten really quick. So to kick it off, do you think banking operations will go back to normal post COVID-19 or will work from home become the new standard?
Do you want to take that one?
Sure. From our perspective, we’ve already started to have that discussion internally, and then the feeling is we’re not just going to go back to BAU, where we herd everyone back to the site. We feel that there is a benefit to this. There are more discussions and meetings on how we’ll put some structure around it, but I do see this being a part of our future. And as we look to different forecasts for the future, so what’s the summer going to bring? Increase the delinquent volumes, et cetera. We’ve gotten different scenarios mapped out.
I know one of the things that we’re looking at or thinking about right now is the ability to maybe hire outside of the two communities that our call centers are in. This might give us the ability to tap into maybe the workforce from Omaha and they work from home. They do the same job as our employees do in the call centers and then maybe require a one time visit, a month for meetings face-to-face. But I do see things changing moving forward when things do get back to normal. I don’t see us going back to BAU as it was before.
Got you. Nice. Okay, rolling into our next question. Similarly, are you actively alerting clients on the top of your calls that your employees are working from home or only mentioning it if asked?
Is that question for me?
Sure. Denise, I don’t know if you want to go into that.
We didn’t proactively send out any communication telling them that we were all working from home. I think it’s just happening naturally as our agents are talking to the customers.
Got it. And then finally Boris, this might be one for you, just before we end real quick. It’s one thing to do continual training for seasoned employees that have already been onboarded, but how do you suspect handling training of entirely new employees moving forward? I don’t know if either of you has thoughts.
Yeah, I think that’s a good question. I think we see a couple of different ways that clients do this today. Certainly, there is the onboarding packet to the processes that people go through. We have a number of clients that have deployed scripting tools, sort of that are writing alongside with the agent and sort of prompting them and helping them along with the conversation at various steps. So there’s that, some folks have utilized knowledge bases as well to help find some training material.
And then for new employees, of course, coaching and monitoring functionality is just used a bit more often. So folks have gone from, “Hey, here’s onboarding. That’s sort of very thoughtfully designed. Here’s somebody to sit alongside with.” People have also of course now remotely done the whole notion of conference calls and listening in on other agents’ conversations. So all of those things people have utilized to onboard new agents even during this time.
Got you. Thank you, Boris. Well, I see we are a minute past the top of the hour, so like I said, if you have any other questions that you’d like to answer, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com and we’ll be sure to get back to you. And with that, I’ll kick it back over to you, Jill. Thank you guys so much.
Well, a special thank you to all of our presenters today, and thank you to all the participants. With that, we will go ahead and conclude today’s program. This session has been recorded and will be available within three to five business days. You may access the recording archive or using the same login information you used for today’s live webinar. And feel free to share the recording link with your colleagues. On behalf of the consumer bankers association. Thank you once again. Have a good afternoon. You may now disconnect.
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