Long-Term Strategy Relies On Knowledge Management

A credit union is a living organization that goes beyond the knowledge of any one staff member. Learn the value proposition of a knowledge base system.


A knowledge base system can help a firm digitally manage information and empower members and staff by providing them with online support 24 hours a day. Convenient access to organizational knowledge can improve staff effectiveness and member relations.

The digital documentation of a firm is integral to a long-term strategy. A knowledge base solution is more than a compilation of frequently asked questions on a website or intranet. It can help implement a cultural change: The credit union is a living organization that goes beyond the knowledge of any one staff member.

Members can access answers to commonly-asked questions through keywords or category searches, reducing e-mail and call center volume. “Our knowledge base answers up to 90 percent of questions and saves up to three hours a day for employees answering e-mails,” says Wendy Kaloski, assistant vice president of marketing at Kennedy Space Center Credit Union in Merritt Island, FL ($366m).

However, call center reduction is only one benefit of a knowledge base solution. Many credit unions that implemented a knowledge base solution to establish a central location for communicating best practices internally. First Entertainment Credit Union in Hollywood, CA ($500m) implemented a knowledge base approach they call “FirstFAQs.” They have compiled over 2000 questions that address a range of subjects from product attributes to vacation time for employees. It is a categorized and comprehensive database that is easily searchable.

“We’ve been using a knowledge base for our employees to put accurate information at their fingertips. Employees are busy and a paper version is slow and becomes quickly outdated,” said Charles Bruen, CEO of First Entertainment.

Training Employees
A knowledge base helps facilitate on-the-job training for new and experienced employees. Rather than focus on solely retaining information, employees can be trained how to access pertinent data. This allows them to focus on learning about the core products and rely on the knowledge base for information about current promotions and recent updates. By using the knowledge base from their workstations, employees do not have to bother senior coworkers for a routine question.

Some credit unions have scripted answers that new employees can use at first when talking with members. “We recently hired a financial services associate who used the knowledge base for training purposes. It sped up the learning curve and the scripted answers provided a security net for him in case he needed more information while on the phone with a member,” said Jon Antos, director of marketing at Meadows Credit Union in Arlington Heights, Illinois ($138m).

Consistent Brand Image
Credit unions strive to deliver a high level of service so members receive consistent answers and messaging from all contacts with the organization. A knowledge base approach can create the necessary impetus to develop a high level of service throughout the credit union.

“I often used to hear an employee explain a product incorrectly. Members would call and expect certain features because they had perceived the product one way but they were promised differently. A knowledge base allows both members and staff to access standardized, correct answers,” said Antos.

Promotes member relationships
Members want convenient and direct access to their credit union. Rather than potentially waiting on hold for a call center representative or until the next business workday, members can search the knowledge base 24/7 on the credit union’s website.

“We have over 2000 questions in our knowledge base that are easily searchable,” said Kathleen Seewer, manager of e-commerce at Wright-Patt Credit Union in Fairborn, OH ($991m).

When credit unions roll out new products and services, they can brainstorm potential questions and add those to the knowledge base to preempt phone calls. For example, Wright-Patt recently added 15-18 anticipated questions regarding changes related to Check 21 implementation.

According to click-through rates and other tracking methods digital knowledge management strategies provide, members are using these services and credit unions are seeing promising results.