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Key Service Qualities To Build Cardmember Satisfaction And Profitability

Learning culture, adaptive underwriting, minimizing disruptions are all part of a successful, profitable card operation.

The foundation for a successful long-term credit card program requires focus on multiple cardmember servicing qualities. These elements include a learning-centric servicing organization, adaptive underwriting solutions, efficiently designed servicing operations, and a focus on minimizing cardmember disruptions.

Cardmember Servicing Culture

To fully succeed in a servicing environment an organization must have strong cultural pillars of service that are reinforced through regular training.

The culture center point of a card servicing organization may focus on delivering exceptional service, creating customer loyalty, or exceeding cardmember expectations. Metrics such as average length of calls, calls answered per hour, or potentially cross-sell ratios may be important to overall program profitability but will not drive the right behavior to create a differentiated and consistent cardmember experience.

To enforce the right cultural beliefs, a credit union’s service advisers should receive a combination of classroom training, scheduled managerial feedback, and on-the-job training. Many credit unions may utilize the use of periodic scorecards that review a service adviser’s performance on metrics such as making the interaction personal, professional, and clear while resolving an issue. These scorecards are populated using call monitoring systems that allow senior managers to grade calls on a number of unique cardmember interactions.

To ensure that your operations team is on the right track, many credit unions rely on automated post call cardmember surveys. These automated surveys often focus on the service advisors’ ability to resolve the issue at hand but should also measure secondary qualifiers of success such as overall satisfaction, courtesy and capabilities displayed by the service advisor. At Elan, our average cardmember satisfaction rate in 2015 was at 96%. In addition, 81% of cardmember support calls were resolved within one minute.

Adaptive Underwriting

Today’s underwriting centers leverage a number of tools and strategies to create efficient operations. Given the improvements in data integration into underwriting strategies, an increasing number of accounts are getting instantly decisioned. The ability to instant decision goes hand-in-hand with moving the majority of applications to an online platform. Online applications maybe completed directly by the potential cardmember or indirectly by a customer service rep or branch/call center employee. These online applications not only allow for direct integration into the credit decisioning engine, they prevent the submission of applications with incomplete or erroneous fields. These types of submissions are the leading cause of applicant denials after credit worthiness.

With the most efficient underwriting process, the focus should shift to maximizing the approval rates to cardmembers. If your credit union has a centralized underwriting function, allowing for direct communication with front-line employees can help get a better view of applicant credit worthiness. Using a combination approach of systemic and manual underwriting tactics will assist in maximizing approvals. These credit analysts can look into the details of the application, credit bureau, and relationship to determine credit risk and potential justification for approval. This partially subjective review process can ensure some of your best members get approved for a credit card product.

Minimizing Cardmember Impacts

The linchpin to any fraud strategy is the ability to balance fraud risk management (losses) with the customer experience (declined transactions). To manage the duality of these two critical components takes an experienced and focused organization.

A credit union must invest in the latest fraud risk scoring models, fraud detection networks, and identity verification tools. These tools allow a credit union to uncover potential fraudulent account applications along with fraudulent transactions. Even with the right technologies in place, developing robust fraud strategies are a necessity for a credit union to succeed. These strategies should be routed through deep analysis of fraud trends along with cardmember behaviors. In addition, external resources should be leveraged such as law enforcement agencies, industry consortiums, and select partners. A well-developed strategy will allow a fraud group to appropriately judge when a specific transaction should be blocked versus suspending all card transactions in a likely compromising event.

Once suspected fraud has occurred, a credit union should take all necessary steps to minimize impact to the cardmembers. Many credit unions who focus on non-disruptive consumer interactions help maintain a positive consumer experience during fraud events. A multi-channel communication strategy that takes into consideration the cardmember’s preference creates a strong base of any fraud resolution strategy.

Efficiently Designed Servicing Operations

At the end of the day, within a servicing organization a credit union needs to be concerned with more than just providing exceptional service to the cardmember. For example, security and accuracy should be the highest priority when issuing credit cards. The operations facility should be equipped with 24/7 building security, with monitored digital security cameras, secure badges, and code access. The facility should also be PCI compliant and daily audits should be performed on all work in progress. With the latest state-of-the-art card production technology with equipment for bar coding, embossing, EMV, and branding capabilities onsite technicians can manage the process from beginning to end.

Servicing Sells

Exceptional cardmember servicing builds the base for cardmember satisfaction. That satisfaction leads to usage which allows a credit union to continue to offer and invest in credit card products. It’s highly important that a credit union can reliably tie the financial benefit of strong cardmember servicing back to the investment in those operations. A clear message of benefit motivates employees to follow the strategies and cultural themes laid out by your credit union. Despite billions of dollars of investments in marketing, satisfied cardmembers and their word of mouth represent the strongest selling point within any credit union’s arsenal.

Elan Overview:

For almost 50 years, Elan has helped financial institutions grow their business and meet the needs of their members. After over 150,000 cardmember service surveys in 2015, Elan garnered positive feedback 92% of the time. Elan has also processed over 1MM applications with an average turn time of 7.5 days (application receipt to card in cardmember’s hand). Giving best-in-class cardmember service has been a core mission of Elan since our inception. The importance of the relationship and the service Elan delivers to our partner financial institutions is stressed with our employees at all locations. Year after year, our partners remain pleased with the Elan solution, as Elan has seen more than a 96% partner renewal rate. For more information, call 1-800-223-7009 or visit cupartnership.com.

This article is sponsored by a recognized solutions provider in the credit union industry. Callahan & Associates does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer, and the views and opinions offered here might not reflect those of Callahan. If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact the Callahan team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.
March 7, 2016

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