I enjoyed reading about the use of personal teller machines at Coastal CU and at Mid-Hudson Valley CU (CU Times, April 23, 2008). I think they offer the opportunity to merge the teller line and the call center. We have tried that. Tellers have wait time between members. During that time they take calls from our phone switch and back up the call center. On Sunday our supermarket tellers answer all the phone center calls because Sunday is a slower day for tellers and the call center is also slow.
The tellers at SAFE CU are our best sales staff. The branch tellers make thousands of product referrals to our platform staff. Those referrals result in many sales. The tellers also handle a lot of transactions and see many members. We first began our sales efforts in the call center. We soon saw the call center break records month after month by selling new checking accounts, new credit cards, loans of all types and a host of other services. We then asked why we couldn't replicate that success on the teller line. The vendors will imply that tellers don't sell. That may be true, but it is easy to change to a successful sales program if you change the tellers' job description and provide them with training and product knowledge.
The time it takes to process a transaction and provide information and close a sale is longer. We know that from our teller lines and the call center. The people who serve the personal teller machines will see that, too. But queues, all the personal teller machines and call center callers form a queue for the same group of tellers, allow you to be more efficient in handling the people who line up for teller service and who call the call center.We tried to make our branch tellers more productive by having them handle call center calls.If you could combine the staff for call center and personal teller machines in one room you would have the best of both.
The branch traffic is highly variable, while the phone center is more steady but has higher peak volume periods that are difficult to staff.The phone callers have very little patience with wait times and will abandon the call if we don't answer within about 30 seconds.A bigger queue of tellers would help solve that problem. We already have a large group of branch tellers who could help.
The personal teller machines will always leave a lot of work for the rest of the branch staff.There are a number of services that members will need to take to the rest of the staff. All of our branches instantly issue debit and credit cards while members wait; we have merchants and members who deposit bulk coin and cash; we have many members who cash U.S. Savings Bonds; we sell a lot of cashier's checks and there are the many other branch services like notary service that will always require the member to seek out a live staff person.
I have seen similar machines in a credit union here in town.The machines had the same issue I saw in the photo in your magazine--a concern for privacy. Members are very sensitive to anyone seeing or overhearing the information about their transactions. The juxtaposition of the machines in your photo worries me in that regard.
We will look into these machines and see if we can make them work for us.