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Excellence through Visibility: Tracking Sales, Service and Productivity in the Lobby

April 10, 2017

This article originally appeared in Credit Union Times

Business intelligence (BI)—obtaining actionable insight from the information credit unions (CUs) already collect and store—is often presented as the solution to a world of sales, service and productivity issues. BI can be just that, but too often, a lack of understanding of its benefits, the difficulty in extracting it and/or insufficient follow-through at the branch level, impacts a CU’s ability to affect meaningful change.

One place where implementation of BI solutions is straightforward, and the value of the effort quickly evident to everyone involved, is in the lobby. Properly structured, systems that track sales, service and productivity in the lobby provide meaningful data that gives CUs a clear path to improvement. Furthermore, the logic behind these systems is clear-cut, making it easy for branch personnel to grasp how the system can help them boost member satisfaction, branch revenue, and productivity.

How Lobby Tracking Systems Work

A lobby tracking system (LTS) is a computerized application that captures lobby performance information in real-time. Optimally, these solutions collect information through self-service technology or CU greeters, and then process and analyze it, providing both initial benchmark reporting and ongoing updates. Using this trending data, CUs can easily identify performance improvement opportunities and engage in personnel training, program development and/or process reengineering that propels desired improvements in sales and service.

LTS solutions replace traditional handwritten “sign-in sheets” and offer the added benefit of showcasing the CU as innovative and professional rather than old-fashioned and informal. There are three key periods where information can be collected and analyzed to provide a complete picture of lobby performance: Sign-in, Wait Period, and Assist Period.

Sign In: During sign-in, either a greeter or a self-service computerized Kiosk (or iPad), collects the member (account holder or prospect) name, arrival time and purpose for visit. Optimally, a “notes” section enables either the greeter or the member to provide as much information as appropriate (including personal details) that can later be used to engage and connect with the member.

Wait Period: While the member awaits service, the system tracks wait-time. In a best-practices solution, the system will also use this information to provide alerts to member service representatives and management, especially when wait times exceed designated thresholds.

Assist Period: When a service representative approaches the member, the system status changes from collecting “wait” to “assist” time information. This data, as well as anything else discussed, like which products/services were reviewed during the meeting, is captured by the system for further analysis.  When the member’s questions have been answered and needs met (or the member transitions to another service entity), the representative closes the session and the assist timer stops.

Analysis and Reporting

The real power of a LTS lies in what goes on under the covers, i.e. analysis and reporting. Well-built LTS solutions not only compile the data they collect, but also present it in a user-friendly format, such as an online dashboard, on both an individual basis (per representative) and across each branch—and the entire CU organization.

Using real-time reports, CU management should be able to determine, not only when the CU fails to meet its own sales and productivity goals, but also identify potential costly member service mishaps and prevent them from occurring—helping to eliminate excessive wait times.

Over time, the system will continue collecting and reporting its metrics, enabling insight into whether changes are having the desired result. Having access to this timely trending data empowers management to quickly analyze detailed performance, which is typically very difficult to do without the power of computer processing.

When utilizing a manual tracking process, performance issues can often go undiscovered and have a real impact. For example, underperforming individuals can often remain hidden amongst a group, especially if that group has a couple of star performers who pull the branch scores up. The difference in average assist times (per lobby representative) might be imperceptible with a casual glance, but over time, the LTS will note and report on them, enabling management to take action through targeted coaching.

In-House or Outsourced?

A comprehensive, detailed solution such as we have described can be created in-house, although it’s only cost effective for the largest financial institutions. As is the case with virtually every software application, it is less expensive and easier to implement a solution built by a provider that can spread its development expenses across its entire client base. Nevertheless, if you want to attempt in-house development, perhaps as a test before committing to a full-blown solution, some of the most important metrics to track, aggregate and analyze, per lobby employee, include:

  • Member wait time
  • Member assist time
  • Cross-sell ratios
  • Count of services provided/products sold
  • Purpose for visit
  • Account holder traffic trends for scheduling purposes

 

Any data collection, analysis and reporting over time—even if it’s just having an employee input wait times into a spreadsheet to determine averages—will provide some actionable BI. However, to see a total picture of what’s going on in your lobby, you’ll need the power of a sophisticated, purpose-built solution. For more information on using lobby metrics to improve sales, recognition, service and productivity—and for tips on improving lobby performance even before you implement an LTS, download our recent white paper on the topic, at https://www.kronos.com/resources/fmsi-2016-retail-branch-lobby-study.

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