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New Branch Methodology Decreases Labor Costs

December 13, 2011

A Teller Management SystemTM Case Study

Similar to most banks, the nine location Massachusetts based Bridgewater Savings Bank (BSB) had an enormous amount of transaction data in their core system that went unused.  Without a methodology to turn this data into useable business intelligence, it just took up server space.  With the help of FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM (TMS), BSB was able to employ a new methodology for utilizing their valuable transaction data and improved their teller productivity by 23%—resulting in a $0.23 drop in labor cost per transaction.

A More Structured Staffing Process

BSB implemented TMS in early 2011 with the goal of applying a more structured staffing process that would result in improved productivity.  It was important for them to bring in an outsourced solution, like TMS, to not only have a proven system with minimal internal set-up effort, but also to achieve the desired results in the shortest amount of time possible.

“Due to the complexities of an ever-evolving business environment, I constantly have to make decisions without supporting data; and even worse, sometimes I wait too long for the right information to make a timely decision,” says Joe Mitchell the Senior Vice President of Branch Administration and Marketing at BSB.  “FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM improved our productivity, by establishing a new methodology that allowed us to support critical staffing and customer service decisions—with consistent and readily available branch performance metrics.”

In the past year, Joe has been reviewing his monthly TMS Branch Recap Report.  With this detailed branch performance management information, such as the average daily transaction volume per hour, he would determine whether or not it made sense to refill teller positions that had opened up through attrition.

“In the past when a full-time teller position opened up, we would fill it almost immediately.   Now before we fill the position, we check our productivity TMS goal for the branch and see if it makes sense to bring on another teller,” says Joe.  “It was a shift in our culture, but our managers adjusted nicely to the reduction in full-time staff by shifting their recruiting efforts towards hiring more quality part-time tellers.”

Change in Part-Time Employee Approach

As a result of focusing more on workforce optimization, BSB has changed their approach when hiring and managing part-time employees.  The biggest difference is the up-front communication to the candidates about specific times they must be available to work.  Previously, the candidates would tell them when they were available, and the bank would work around that.  BSB’s commitment to adhere closely to scheduling during the specific transaction volume peak-times that the TMS forecast presents has been a major factor in their 23% productivity improvement.

Another adjustment was the increased emphasis put on hiring higher quality part-time candidates.  This tactic improved their full-time teller feeder system for open positions; and also enabled more flexibility for the schedulers of smaller branches, which sometimes needed part-time tellers to run the teller line by themselves.

Best Practices from Senior Vice President of Branch Administration and Marketing at BSB

  • Personally get involved with every hire/promotion on the teller line.
  • Define a great teller by the following attributes:  takes a personal interest in people, is assertive, great at multi-tasking customer’s questions/comments/concerns, and an all-around generalist (can function in all areas of the branch if needed).
  • Do your best to make the right hiring decisions.  However, if the employee is not a good fit, let that person go ASAP—or no longer than 90 days.

It is common for banks to have teller transaction data that goes completely unused.  With FMSI’s Teller Management SystemTM (TMS)Bridgewater Savings Bank was able to incorporate a methodology that allowed them to utilize this data towards more informed branch staffing decisions.  By enhancing their workforce optimization initiative, BSB was able to decrease their overall labor cost per transaction by $0.23, translating into approximately $12,000 in monthly savings.

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