Leading Through Crisis, Making Opportunities Out of Challenges: Part 2 - Tucson Federal Credit Union

Leading Through Crisis, Making Opportunities Out of Challenges: Part 2

Second of three articles from the series Hasta La Vista, Baby: Leading Through Crisis, Making Opportunities Out of Challenges Series.
Written by
Matthew Gaspari, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer at Tucson Federal Credit Union

Appointment Only

This leads me to the second point of the series. Like many financial institutions, Tucson Federal Credit Union (TFCU) made the decision in March 2020 to make lobbies available by appointment only. We knew in the short term that moving transactions strictly to our drive-thru would be met with some resistance and frustration; the lines were going to be long, but the pandemic protocols left no choice. Transactions in our drive-thru doubled almost overnight as did calls to the Experience Center. Though it was challenging, we were confident that we could ride out the storm. Our members, while they were rightly frustrated, understood the challenges and knew we were doing everything within our control to provide convenient access for all their banking needs. Addressing membership needs that could not be handled via drive-thru or by phone/email/text was anticipated to be more challenging. This is such a dramatic change. How can we make it work? Message it to our members? Manage the workflow with limited staff due to the pandemic? Those were good questions. I thought so anyway, and I was surprised by the answers.

We had done much of the work already as a part of workflow transformation strategy development and implementation. As I said before, it is better to be lucky than good. But in this case, we were lucky because we were good and ready.

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Source: Tucson Federal Credit Union©

Preparing for an appointment only model was relatively easy because of the infrastructure already in place. TFCU had already introduced mobile self-serve appointment scheduling prior to the pandemic. Using TimeTrade™ our members simply select the branch, type of service, and staff member they prefer for in-person assistance. This service has been widely adopted since it was introduced in 2019, something we expected based on this type of service being available across many other business sectors. Research conducted shows that 72% of customers state that the ability to preschedule appointments online would help increase convenience, yet just 23% say that such capability exists in their own bank or credit union today. (Randhawa, 2020). Tucson Federal is in that 23%. Introduced as a convenience, and to put more control into the hands of our membership, it has been invaluable during the pandemic and a primary tool around which to develop a long-term appointment only model.

The Decision

That’s all well and good, right? Congratulations, TFCU, you were well prepared for the pandemic. Well, thank you. I appreciate that.  The message is bigger than those internal thoughts though. The uncertainty of the pandemic and the sporadic nature of stay-at-home orders create an environment that is untenable for many businesses long term. Having to modify our strategy depending on decisions from the health department isn’t a tenable business model and yet that’s where we’re at for the foreseeable future. This is a significant challenge, right? Yes. One we’re all facing in some form or other no matter the industry.

Here is where we have an opportunity though, where the challenges in front of us bring clarity to our strategies about the future of service delivery for Tucson Federal Credit Union. Six months ago, the idea of working from an appointment only model was unthinkable, unworkable. But so too was the idea of working from home for five months straight while maintaining efficiency, employee engagement, and an exceptional culture. Yet here we are and TFCU has done just that. So now what? In the third and last article of the series, read about the lessons learned from TFCU’s game-changing solution.

Randhawa, M. (2020). How the Appointment Economy Is Changing the Retail Banking Experience. Retrieved from https://thefinancialbrand.com/100563/appointment-scheduling-software-retail-banking-cx-branch-digital/

Streeter, B. (2018). Mobile Video Banking Ready to Rock: Insights From Early Adopters. Retrieved from https://thefinancialbrand.com/74247/mobile-video-banking-insights-best-practices/