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CCU Celebrates 14th Anniversary of Contact Center

Dedicated staff handles more than 400,000 Member inquiries each year

Gurnee, IL, May 21, 2019: In early 2005, Members had only two ways to contact Consumers Credit Union (CCU; $1.25 Billion, Waukegan, IL): either come to an office in person or connect by phone. At that time, all phone calls were handled by one employee, who would route each call to the appropriate person or department. That all changed in May 2005 when CCU went “live” with its in-house Contact (call) Center, a full-service department created to provide a new level of service for Members who preferred speaking to a “live,” local employee or conducting electronic transactions without the need to come into a Service Center.

In 2005, the newly created department, with a staff of eight employees and one manager, became an instant hit with Members, handling more than 78,000 phone inquiries in its first seven months of operation. Since then, the Contact Center has continuously grown, now handling 400,000+ interactions each year. After 14 years, the staff has grown to 44 total employees handling expanded interaction services that include phone calls, email messages, live “chat” sessions, secured messages sent by Members via Online Banking, and processing checks deposited using remote deposit capture.

According to Heather Direnzo, CCU’s Contact Center Director, “The Contact Center is a fun, collaborative and fast-paced department where Member service is our core focus. Our team is passionate about solving problems when a Member calls, chats, or messages us, all while creating a wonderful experience.”

Creating a positive Member experience requires effectively training and managing the large, diverse Contact Center staff. The training program is six weeks long, with the first four weeks a combination of classroom and hands-on learning. Each new hire is then paired with a “Team Lead” (supervisor), who becomes their partner for the following two weeks. The Team Lead walks the new employee through CCU’s quality assurance metrics and helps them understand individual and team goals while teaching communication protocols and de-escalation tactics. Once the employee is proficient in these skills, they’re ready to go “live” with Members.

“We understand happy employees equates to happy Members,” continued Direnzo. “That can be challenging in a complex environment with so many different communication channels, so our supervisors strive to keep the atmosphere upbeat and positive by teaching staff how to educate Members so each one feels like they’re the most important Member of the credit union. We also make it a priority to reward our team for compliments they receive from Members, as well as when we see them going above and beyond.”

Beyond the formal training program, the Contact Center has a supportive leadership team readily available to answer staff questions throughout the day, when there are always leaders on hand to support the team. In addition to Direnzo’s role as Director, the Contact Center leadership team includes two Managers, three Assistant Managers and three Team Leads.

When asked what the future might hold for the Contact Center, Direnzo indicated CCU is always looking for new enhancements to better serve Members. “Our primary communications solution is the PureConnect system for i3,” Direnzo noted. “We are very happy with its suite of integrated messaging capabilities and convenient call-back option for Members. Our next addition will be the ability to integrate text messaging to provide an additional layer of security to authenticate callers.”

A picture of the Contact Center leadership team is below. For additional information about the department’s 14th anniversary, please contact Heather Direnzo, Contact Center Director, at 847.837.7910. Consumers Credit Union is Member-owned, with offices in Waukegan, Mundelein, Round Lake Beach, Gurnee, North Waukegan, Volo, Palatine, Schaumburg, Northbrook, Des Plaines and Kildeer, Illinois … and Online at