Knowing More About Members Has Improved Service

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Credit Union: Shell Employees FCU, Houston

Nominated by: XP Systems

Nominated for: Leveraging Database Info

Emeril Lagasse popularized the phrase, "Let's kick it up a notch" on his two cooking shows on the Food Network. In Emeril's case, the reference is to adding spice to a dish he is creating. But one credit union here said it is transferring the concept to improving member service.

Joe Williams, assistant vice president of information technology (IT) for Shell Employees Federal Credit Union, said the $295 million CU has used software from XP Systems to help serve its 28,000 members for more than 20 years.

Two years ago, he said, Shell Employees FCU wanted to do a better job of meeting members' needs. The CU began using XP Systems' "XP2" second release, which includes a database and member relationship management software.

"The database in XP2 provides information to our staff proactively, which allows us to provide ultimate service to our membership," he explained. "The database has wonderful information on our members: our staff knows if it is a member's birthday, if the person has been a member for many years, and what that person's most likely transaction is. It provides what we call business intelligence."

According to Williams, using member relationship management software and the information in the database helps Shell Employees FCU create a sales culture on its staff. When members call and want to do business, the staff is equipped to handle multiple transactions, he said.

"We already were providing good service to our members, but now, we've kicked things up a notch," he declared. "We wanted to provide excellent service, not just good."

"Our reporting is in place, our modeling is in place, and we have a data warehouse to help us make good decisions for our membership," he added.

The CU uses technology in several ways, Williams continued. When a member comes in to one of SEFCU's six branches to open a checking account, for example, a service associate speaks to the member via telephone from a central phone center. The associate walks the member through account setup, and also asks if the member needs a loan. If cash is to be dispersed at the end of the transaction, a teller in the branch does so.

"It is a pretty smooth process, and our membership seems very receptive to it," he said. "Our tellers have access to all of the information in the member relationship management system. They can see if the member called the day before to report a problem, and can check on the status of the problem."

Or, as Emeril says: "Bam!"

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