The Associate Will See You Now: Qtrac Enables 137K+ MSGCU Members to Schedule Appointments
Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union (MSGCU) serves hundreds of thousands of Michiganders at their 17 branches in the Metro Detroit area. They are a not-for-profit financial institution, owned and operated by its members since 1954. MSGCU members are very loyal – the company has a 99% member retention rate, and their annual customer satisfaction surveys have shown a 96+% member satisfaction for the last ten years. The Detroit Free Press named MSGCU one of the top workplaces in the metro area for the last nine years.
As an organization that is ingrained with valuing its members, MSGCU is always looking for ways to improve the experience at its branches. Implementing an appointment scheduling and virtual queue system would resolve pain points in both operations and customer service. In 2021, they turned to Lavi Industries’ Qtrac for all 17 branches – and to carry their credit union into the 21st century and beyond.
The Customer Experience Challenge
MSGCU’s members and community clearly hold the credit union in high regard, but it had glaring operational problems: there was no appointment system nor a modern on-site queuing solution. Despite serving more than 137,000 members with complex services like opening checking, savings or credit accounts; starting IRAs; applying for loans and notary services; among others, MSGCU only saw their members for walk-in appointments. The lack of any scheduling tool was frustrating to members, who would enter branches hoping to be seen quickly only to find, too often, that there was a long wait or the branch wasn’t adequately staffed to service their request. Unable to schedule in advance, a member’s only option was to get physically on line or try again another day.
Which fed into the second problem: MSGCU used a “lobby management system” to organize waits in their credit union branches. The system hadn’t changed much over the years: essentially, members walked into a branch, entered their name at a computer kiosk, and physically waited to be called for their turn. During the Covid-19 pandemic, MSGCU realized this system would not work with social distancing guidelines.
“Not only was the system archaic, the computer kiosk was the only option and a high touch point, which during the pandemic was an issue,” says Branch Operation Specialist Cristina Colletti.
Unless a member had a representative’s phone number and called them directly to schedule an appointment, there was no organized or formal ability to schedule in advance. But even that had pitfalls: if the representative was sick or couldn’t be at work for some reason, there was no way to contact the member and alert them not to come in.
MSGCU needed a solution that would alleviate member frustration with waiting, and give staff insight into traffic patterns and which services were most needed and when. By harnessing the power of a modern solution, MSGCU looked forward to all 17 branches running more efficiently, and better serving the 2,000 or more members who walked through their doors each week.
4 Factors for Measuring Success
In selecting a solution, MSGCU identified four key areas that would need to be resolved.
Enable members to schedule appointments
Making it easier for members to schedule appointments – from the convenience of their devices and in advance would have a domino effect alleviating key pain points: long lines in the lobby, missed sales opportunities, and attracting younger customers – as well as directly improve the member experience, which is always the top priority at MSGCU.
Provide members with options for wait time transparency
When members entered branch locations, they often had no idea how long they had to wait to be seen. Even if they asked, the staff did not have the data insights to give more than a rough guess. And to alleviate the hygienic risk of the high-touch single kiosk, MSGCU wanted members to have multiple options for signing in.
“With multiple solutions, it’s a lower touch zone,” explains Branch Operations Specialist Cristina Colletti.
In effect, the options for getting on the virtual queue would mean that MSGCU could achieve one of its primary goals: providing a safe and transparent experience.
Reduce lines inside the branches
As a consequence of only having walk-in availability, lines inside branch lobbies could get very long, especially at the busier locations. MSGCU’s prior lobby management system did nothing to alleviate long waits and crowding within the branch lobbies. MSGCU wanted a virtual queue management system that would enable members to come in either right at their appointed time or allow them to leave the lobby and monitor their place in line remotely.
Improve operational efficiency
Members’ inability to schedule appointments ahead of time made it impossible for MSGCU to adjust staffing levels according to what services were most in-demand. If too many people came into a branch seeking a loan, and only one representative was available to perform that service, it was a lost revenue opportunity for the credit union. MSGCU wanted an appointment scheduling solution that could give insight into their staffing needs to better serve members and maximize sales.
What We Did
The Qtrac Appointment Scheduling and Queuing Experience
Utilizing a phased rollout approach, Qtrac installed sign-in Kiosks, posted QR code signage and trained roughly 500 MSGCU staff in 17 branch locations in just over two months. MSGCU then introduced the new scheduling feature on their website and conducted a mass communications campaign.
Three major elements contributed to the successful launch and adoption of the Qtrac appointment and queueing system:
With 17 branches in three different counties covering the Detroit metropolitan area and almost 500 staff, launching MSGCU’s queue management and appointment system was a big undertaking. Rather than stretch too thin trying to install equipment, train all staff and inform customers at once, Qtrac and MSGCU used a phased rollout strategy. Two pilot locations were fully onboarded in under 15 days, then the rest of the branches and their staff were onboarded individually over the next two months. With a soft launch at the pilot locations, adoption by subsequent branches went even faster.
“Lavi helped us throughout the project and provided custom solutions that are really helpful,” Branch Operations Specialist Cristina Colletti.
To encourage becoming comfortable with the Qtrac software, Lavi’s trainers set up a sandbox environment for MSGCU branch staff. MSGCU employees could explore all the functions and features of Qtrac and roleplay both from the vantage point of the representative and the member before the system went live. This way, MSGCU staff already had extensive hands-on experience using the software before it officially launched in the branches.
MSGCU was a true partner in every phase of this project. To alleviate resistance to adoption, particularly by older customers, MSGCU brought all their members on board with Qtrac by clearly communicating the benefits of the new system through a communications blitz: on the MSGCU website, through mobile ads, in the monthly newsletter, and even on receipts printed from the credit union’s registers.
With Qtrac virtual queuing and on-line scheduling, MSGCU members now have the flexibility to schedule appointments when they want from wherever they are with just a few clicks. When they arrive at their local branch, they can check in by scanning the QR code with their smartphone or by using the Qtrac Kiosk. They have assurance that MSGCU is expecting them, already knows what service they need, and has staffed accordingly. Plus with the virtual line, there’s no need to hang out in the lobby – members are free to run an errand, go for a cup of coffee, or simply wait in their cars or outside until they are notified it’s their turn.
Initially concerned that their “older clientele” would not adopt new technology, Branch Operations Specialist Cristina Colletti instead found “members appreciate there are more solutions,” such as choosing between registering through QR code or on the Kiosk.
The data collected by Qtrac is so thorough that MSGCU is now able to track the number of members requesting any given service per teller, per time period. These insights help improve the credit union’s ability to staff locations in a way that meets the needs of their members without causing delays, frustration or sending anyone home without being serviced.
“Our representatives like the ease of this queue management system. Using Qtrac helps them gauge what’s going on every day, rather than being surprised. Plus, we’ve also seen an increase in profitability since implementing appointment scheduling: with an hour of time blocked off for each member, team members have more time to cross-sell during the appointment.” Branch Operations Specialist Cristina Colletti
Equipped with comprehensive technology that exponentially improves operations and services, MSGCU has strengthened its relationship with current members and its appeal to younger potential members – an important step for ensuring the future of the organization.
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