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We recently sat down with Laura Welch-Vilker, CU*Answers VP of Client Services and Education, and Kasey Woodhead, Client Services assistant manager, to discuss CU*Answers’ new Western Region Shift and how it’s changing the way the CUSO services its clients.

CUSO Magazine: Thank you, Laura and Kasey, for sitting down with us. Tell us, what exactly is the western region shift?  

Laura: At the start of December, we began gearing up for a transition: to add a second shift to the Client Services & Education team, calling it the Western Region Shift. It’s still the same team: we still answer your daily questions, we still work on your education requests, except now we do it between the hours of 3:00 pm and midnight Eastern time, in addition to our normal 7:30 am – 6:00 pm day coverage. This mean two things. First, that we can provide the same call support for credit unions as far west as Hawaii as we do for our East coast clients. Second, that we can be there for the majority of our clients even when they’re not at work. We’re closing out some of the incidents and continuing research throughout the evening hours, so when credit unions pick up their next day they have those answers that they’re looking for.

CUSO Magazine: Kasey, as the assistant manager taking the lead on this shift, how has the experience been so far?

Kasey: It’s been exciting – it’s new territory for us. We’ve learned a lot just in the first month that we’ve been doing this extra shift. Overall, I’d say everything has been very successful. We have additional time during the evening hours to perform research and continue to move the ball forward for all our clients, no matter where they’re located.

CUSO Magazine: What have you been most excited about?

Kasey: Ultimately, it’s being able to service our clients for a longer period during the day and throughout the week. We’ve added roughly thirty extra hours per week that we are available for our clients. Being able to do that, especially around year-end, and being able to assist with all the questions that we’re getting with IRAs and IRS information is fun and rewarding as someone who works in the customer service industry.

CUSO Magazine: What main tasks do you find yourself doing on your shift?

Kasey: Continued research. Many of the calls our team takes during the day are of the simple “where do I go to find this dashboard” variety. Other times the issue is more complex, requiring us to dig using the available resources, such as our online help and CU*BASE reference materials. And as a last resort, we may need to getting programming involved. As things were, finding the time to perform that research either came between calls, or it meant having fewer people taking them so that others could do research. With the addition of the evening shift and lower call volumes during that time, we can devote that down time to resolving the more complex issues that came up during the day. This means quicker turn around on those issues, to the benefit of our clients and day staff.

CUSO Magazine: One more question before you go – from a Client Services and Education standpoint, what’s your favorite thing about this new shift?

Laura: The expanded hours and the expanded capacity. I’m excited about how we are one big team that works together continually moving the ball, getting those incidents closed, and our clients responded to.

Kacey: Ultimately, my favorite thing is being able to not only answer the questions that credit unions ask, but to continue it with education. Going above and beyond with that answer so we can improve together that knowledge set.

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