Putting people first in a digital age—BCU redefines member service with help from Office 365

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Today’s post was written by John Sahagian, vice president of Marketing and Member Intelligence at BCU.

Profile picture of John Sahagian, vice president of Marketing and Member Intelligence at BCU.The caring relationships BCU develops with its more than 200,000 members—across all 50 states and Puerto Rico—form the heart of our culture. That’s why when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, it was inspiring to see that culture in action as employees used Yammer, the enterprise social network tool in Office 365, to let the rest of the company know when a branch came back online, or a Puerto Rican colleague checked in safe. This definitely helped the BCU family and our members feel less isolated in difficult times. At BCU we say, “Once a member, always a member.” So far, it’s proved a powerful way of doing business. After just 36 years, we’ve established ourselves as one of the top 100 credit unions in the United States with $2.8 billion in assets and serving the employees of partner companies such as Baxter International, UnitedHealth Group, and Target Corporation.

Today, most transactions occur online—a major transformational shift in the financial services industry. We’re responding with a digital transformation of our own at BCU, building an omnichannel member experience while empowering employees to provide the same great service across all platforms. We chose Office 365 to create a modern workplace that offers employees the tools they need to redefine member relationships in a digital age—and drive our competitive advantage.

Employees use Skype for Business to improve member service and facilitate Tier 2 support—a process that previously required putting the member on hold and working through a phone tree. Today, service agents send instant messages to colleagues and subject matter experts, and share links, documents, and screens to quickly solve members’ concerns. We estimate that we have reduced intervention time by 8 percent—that’s about 500,000 minutes a year saved, which equates to four agents working full time.

Our geographically dispersed employees now work as a cohesive team. Every BCU department has a highly secure online site where employees collaborate on documents, track key performance indicators, and access videos that broadcast departmental messages, providing greater access to and understanding of what we are doing. BCU Employee Resource Groups—such as Women in Leadership and Inclusion and Diversity—use our intranet to strengthen communities within the company and drive overall employee engagement. If someone provides stellar service, employees share that success with the rest of the organization through Yammer. Our HR department has an active Yammer user group to recognize employees who are doing great work.

Mobility and agility are key to attracting and retaining top talent. Today, our employees are well-equipped for a collaborative work environment where they access documents and connect with colleagues from any device. I can attest to the power our digital transformation has had over the way I collaborate with colleagues. It all rests on the ability to promote teamwork, anywhere and on any device. Recently, I worked with Jill Sammons, who is our AVP of Brand & Communication Strategies, to prepare a presentation for a board meeting—without having to set aside time to meet. We co-authored the presentation using Office 365.

We use the integration capabilities between Office 365 and the Microsoft Azure platform to drive greater insight into our members’ needs. We host our loan origination system, enterprise data warehouse, and website in Microsoft Azure. I envision a multiplatform experience that will help us boost customer service by tracking a member’s behavior as he or she navigates through digital channels. If a member uses our online loan calculator and reads about buying versus leasing a car or truck, that information should be available to the agent who next speaks with that member. Going from clicks on the website to member-specific data in front of an agent is possible when we use Microsoft Power BI and Azure Machine Learning together to deliver self-serve business intelligence that presents a single view of a member’s activities across channels. This level of integration enables a more timely, relevant interaction between members and agents, and it drives the relationships that have always been at the heart of our business.

Our CEO has set an ambitious goal for the future of IT at BCU—to have most core applications running in the cloud by 2020. We’ve already made great strides, as we continue to provide caring services in a digital world.

—John Sahagian

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