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Workforce Optimization Boosts Bank’s Performance and PR

July 14, 2011

FMSI Has CNB Customers Raving About the Bank

Century National Bank (CNB) drives business by creating “raving fans” from its customer base. The philosophy is simple: provide a great banking experience and then customers talk about CNB to all their friends and family. The approach works, the bank can attest, but not when service levels are inconsistent.

When branch traffic was high, Century offices were occasionally short on staff, creating long customer lines. Some customers expressed their dissatisfaction openly to tellers, while others took matters a step further − calling the bank’s president from their cell phone as they waited.

“When customers are unhappy enough to call your president, that’s certainly a sign your staffing process is not what it should be,” noted VP Brian G. Kaufman. “We had to do something to change the way we forecasted and scheduled our front-line employees’ time.”

What also nudged the Zanesville, Ohio-based CNB to make a change was seeing that branch transactions were heading downward. “We had to take a serious look at improving the way we conducted business in our branches to keep profitability up.”

Accurate Data, Better Decisions
Century turned to FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM (TMS) to optimize its workforce and made some dramatic efficiency improvements − most notably reducing the total number of front-line employees through attrition while at the same time increasing customer service. Brian said the turnaround was noticeable in customer satisfaction ratings − and from the lack of complaints. “With the TMS workforce optimization application we now have the data to make accurate staffing decisions. We have a much stronger grasp on customer traffic patterns. The detailed monthly reports are extremely accurate and allow us to effectively forecast and schedule, resulting in just the right number of employees on hand at the right time.”

Numbers that illustrate how the bank has improved: The amount of time employees wait for work decreased by more than 20% and excess labor costs were cut by 60%. “Bottom line, what this tells us is that TMS − and its streamlined scheduling engine, has allowed us to make the best use of our staff’s time, especially when it comes to eliminating downtime.” The bank is saving more than $15,000 a month in excess labor costs compared with expenditures before TMS.

The bank’s part time-utilization is also very good, at better than 48%. The $750-million bank’s peer average is 33% (derived from FMSI’s peer ranking).

An interesting side benefit of utilizing TMS, Brian pointed out, is that staff can no longer make unfair vacation demands or insist on time off during busy periods. “In the past the staff had made time off requests, which would hurt our service,” admitted Brian. “They would challenge managers’ business forecasts, put in for time off and take it at times that would eventually leave us short staffed. Now they can’t do that because we have data − which eliminates the manager’s guesswork − to back up our schedules. We are all for giving our staff time off when they need it, but no longer will those requests impair our customer service.”

Best Practices From the VP of Century National Bank

  • The workforce utilization report is a great tool to let you know if you are making the best use of your tellers’ time. It shows you the hours they are paid for, and then the hours they are processing transactions.  We know tellers have other duties than being on the front line, but this report helps keep tellers’ work correctly balanced, and certainly shows you when that is out of line.
  • I am a big fan of paying attention to the excess waiting for work report. Again, this is data that will let you know if you are making the best use of your staff. Watching these numbers weekly played a key role in us reducing excess labor costs by 60%.
  • Utilize the incentive program. We did and it was a big hit with our tellers. They are picking up some nice dollars and improving individual performance. But be patient with this, as it will take some time for staff to adopt it − introduce it slowly. Have a get-acquainted period before fully launching the incentive program. We waited six months.

Passionate about customer service, CNB wants raving fans to spread the good word.  With FMSI’s TMS workforce optimization application in place, the bank no longer has service lapses that get in the way of great customer PR. “We’re staffed correctly and we have lowered labor costs,” said Brian, “Best of all no more phone calls to our president.”

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