7 Tips To Staff Video Teller Machines

Finding the right employees to connect with members through video technology can be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be.

Video teller machines can help credit unions increase member service hours and efficiency while reducing the risk of robberies and fraud, but finding the right employees to connect with members through this new technology can be a challenge. Here are some of the best practices CreditUnions.com has profiled in this emerging area of credit union operations.

1. Start With An Internal Audience And Experienced Staff

In 2012,Corning Credit Union($1.1B, Corning, NY) debuted video teller machines

at its New York headquarters to an internal audience.


Corning Credit Union Data as of 06.30.15

  • HQ: Corning, NY
  • ASSETS: $1.1B
  • MEMBERS: 96,218
  • BRANCHES: 18
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 5.55%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 13.73%
  • ROA: 0.59%

We knew there might be some reservations about this type of change, says Megan Wilson, manager of consumer lending and member contact services for Corning Credit Union. We wanted to really understand what the machines could do forour members before we made them public-facing.

The credit union also selected its most experienced employees to staff the machines to ensure deployment in its New York and North Carolina branches went smoothly. The knowledgeable employees remained at the headquarters location in New York yet couldstill serve members in new markets like North Carolina.

2. Find And Coach Employees Who Connect On Screen

When Sussex County Federal Credit Union($254.7M, Seaford, DE) introduced video tellers in all of its branches in 2010, it looked for employees who could connectwith members on the video screen.


Sussex County FCU Data as of 06.30.15

  • HQ: Seaford, DE
  • ASSETS: $254.7M
  • MEMBERS: 14,876
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 0.43%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 10.90%
  • ROA: 0.87%

Being able to connect means everything whether you are on a video screen or at a traditional teller line, says CEO Pamela Fleuette.

In addition to traditional teller training, new employees at Sussex County FCU learn how to conduct themselves in a video session.

The importance of maintaining eye contact, not moving too rapidly as you’re talking with someone, and looking straight at the camera are all emphasized, Fleuette says.

The credit union also reviews the video tellers every month to see if they are providing consistent member service and, if not, coaches them so they improve.

3. Invite Members To Preview The New Experience

Corning Credit Union found success when it handpicked experienced employees for its video teller positions, so it took that strategy a step farther when it selected choice members to sample the new technology three weeks before the official launch.

We sent out formal invitations and invited some of our most vocal members, our branch regulars, and even a few business members to an exclusive evening event where they could be the first to try out the new video tellers while enjoying light appetizersand conversation, Wilson says.

Members were thrilled they had been chosen to do something special and appreciated that the credit union valued their feedback. When these branch influencers had the opportunity to try the machines themselves, they quickly overcame any objections or reservationsthey had held. What’s more, they became advocates for the technology.

When we did open the video tellers to the general membership, those members proved to be our biggest advocates and helped our overall adoption, Wilson says. They were able to say, Hey, I’ve used this and it’s great,’with some even demonstrating for other members.

4. Ensure Video Tellers Are Warm, Friendly And Comfortable Making Decisions


Coastal Federal Credit Union Data as of 06.30.15

  • HQ: Raleigh, NC
  • ASSETS: $2.5B
  • MEMBERS: 204,853
  • BRANCHES: 17
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 6.53%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 11.71%
  • ROA: 0.80%

In lieu of traditional teller lines, Coastal Federal Credit Union($2.5B, Raleigh, NC) uses a video teller model in all of its branches. The tellers themselves are centrally located in one of two credit union facilities and must be both friendly and knowledgeable about the financial services industry to make personalconnections with members remotely. Adequately assessing those skills, however, isn’t as easy as the credit union initially thought it would be.

In the early years, we would literally test candidates on video, but we found that wasn’t as useful as we thought it might be, says Willard Ross, Coastal’s senior vice president and chief retail officer. Instead of a screentest, we’ve honed behavioral questions to help us gauge whether someone is service-oriented. It’s more important for us to know if the candidate is natural at building rapport and has that innate friendliness that our members expect fromthe credit union.

But being warm and friendly isn’t enough. That’s why Coastal also looks for tellers with enough experience to make decisions on their own.

They understand fraud risks and know what to look for and how to make a good decision on when to waive check holds, Ross says. We train all of our employees on these topics, of course, but if someone comes in with experience, theyare more likely to feel comfortable making decisions without having to ask a supervisor.

This existing skill set makes the employee more valuable to the credit union and allows Coastal to deliver faster member service.

5. Assess Applicants’ Technological Savvy

Coastal also ensures video teller applicants are comfortable using the latest technology during their recruiting process. One of the questions the credit union asks during the interview is: What is your favorite piece of technology that you own and useregularly, and why?

This is a good indicator of their level of comfort with technology, Ross says. If they are big users of Skype or FaceTime, then they are probably going to be comfortable with our video capabilities as well.

6. Find Employees Willing To Work Non-Traditional Hours

An important benefit of video teller machines is they allow a credit union to operate during nontraditional teller hours. As such, remote tellers must be willing to work a different kind of schedule than the old banker’s hours.

We’re 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, Ross says. It’s important to make sure video tellers have some flexibility in their schedule and can work some weekend shifts.

That’s great for the member but will likely require an adjustment for credit union tellers. Credit unions that are considering a widespread shift to video tellers should plan for some turnover.

We had some folks over time that didn’t want to work nontraditional hours, Ross admits.

7. Train Staff Differently And Pair Them With A Mentor


Park Community Credit Union Data as of 06.30.15

  • HQ: Louisville, KY
  • ASSETS: $745.0M
  • MEMBERS: 74,548
  • BRANCHES: 14
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 12.37%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 10.85%
  • ROA: 0.51%

Coastal puts new tellers through member service and systems and procedures training. Then, it pairs them with a mentor. New hires have video time built into their training, which gives them time to adjust, but the mentor model also helps. Experiencedmentors sit near the new employee for the first 30 days. Mentors offer tips and help the new hire overcome any initial jitters. New tellers have the opportunity to watch mentors, pick up best practices, and ask questions without having to approacha manager for help.

Park Community Credit Union($745.0M, Louisville, KY) became the first credit union in Kentucky to open a branch with interactive teller machines (ITMs) in January2015. Although the credit union conducts its interviews via video chat, it knows implementing the right ITM staff requires more than FaceTime.

Park Community’s multi-step process includes retail theater training that enhances on-camera presence.Internal hires with teller experience receive extensive interactive teller software training. External hires complete orientation and teller training, which includes working in a traditional branch for a minimum of two weeks, before starting the interactiveteller training.

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October 7, 2015

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