Banking with Interactive Tellers
Lyndsey Crowell, the assistant manager of our Digital Service Center, discusses our Interactive Tellers – a technology we’re using to make our members lives easier with extended hours and personalized service while still offering the same convenient access to their checking accounts, savings accounts and more! Listen today!
00:06 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m home. Well, come on in, I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. We’re talking finance to fitness and today we’re going to do a little bit of both with Lyndsey Crowell. Lyndsey is our assistant manager in our… Well, you know those interactive tellers that you see out and about, these are the ATMs that I like to call on steroids. They’re ATMs on FaceTime. Lyndsey, your face is there quite a bit.
00:32 Lyndsey Crowell: Yes. Yeah, I’ve actually been on the team from day one so it’s been super exciting to shape what this looks like, set the bar and trend for the rest of the institutions around us, and the fact that we were the first in West Michigan to introduce the technology, there’s just a lot of pride around all that we offer for our members.
00:50 LJJ: So, I grew up in television, I was in television, and being on television and being on a podcast are two very different things. The energy that it takes for television is extremely strong and I like to liken that to the interactive tellers, because you’re on. The moment that you answer a call you’re on.
01:10 LC: Oh, totally. The minute we hit accept call, we have bright faces and we have to jump through that screen. It was an adjustment period for our members to go from one day having a traditional teller line to walking in that Monday morning and now, there’s these two machines essentially, that they’re like, “What is this? Where are my people?” So, we have to work ten times harder to convince our members that we’re still the same. Our culture is still the same no matter how we’re touching you, and that’s been so fun, is to get the naysayers, now, are our regulars.
01:43 LJJ: Now they’re our… You know what, they are shouting us from the rooftop.
01:46 LC: Oh my gosh, yeah. I’ve had other institutions that said, their members are looking to us, their members are saying, “Why aren’t you as evolved as Consumers is?” And it’s so cool to finally be about four years in and to hear that finally because it was an adjustment.
02:01 LJJ: Now, explain to us, right from the get go, if you are brand new and you do not know what an interactive teller is, this is new technology, and we at Consumers are putting these in all of our drive-throughs in every single office that we have currently. So, this is here, it is not something that’s coming, it’s here.
02:22 LC: Oh yeah, totally. That’s been I think the funnest part, is we look forward to those first-timers because we want to put the show on. We want to help you love it and help you learn it. And I think that has been such a big differentiator for us, is that we have such a strong culture and we can’t help but have that.
02:40 LJJ: When I walk into an office that has an interactive teller or I drive up to a drive-through, that to me looks just like an ATM, what’s the difference? How do I know?
02:51 LC: On the screen, it’ll say, touch here for a teller or insert card for ATM. So, if you’re at one of those ITMs that do have teller capabilities, we’ll have that, touch for a teller, during our open hours which is 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Friday and 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Saturday. So, you just touch the screen and it gets you to connected to a teller. It doesn’t usually take more than 10 minutes or two minutes, sorry, two minutes for a teller to come up. Typically, it’s about 10 seconds and you get connected to a live representative in West Michigan and we help you just…
03:23 LJJ: Local?
03:23 LC: Yeah, that’s what we pride ourselves on. We get asked all the time is, “Where are you located?” And we are like, “We’re just in Kalamazoo at our corporate office”, we still are local, our heart is here.
03:35 LJJ: So, someone touches the screen for a teller and the teller comes on. What then becomes the difference that is unique to that experience, comparatively to standing in line and getting up to the teller line?
03:52 LC: There’s more efficiencies with it. We can do up to 50 bills or checks at a time, so if you have a larger deposit, you just stick it in. We go ahead and process that, the risk…
04:01 LJJ: And that balances itself automatically?
04:02 LC: Yes, I don’t have to touch the dollars or count it, the ITMs know what we did all day long. So, from a balancing perspective, it’s awesome, from the member service perspective, it’s awesome. You could have a car full of kids, you touch the screen, we handle it. We had a member that said, “Their kids love coming to the ITMs because they love guessing who they’re going to get.” So, the other day, they got Kevin and all the kids had guessed Kevin, so it was like this huge celebration moment, and it’s like, “That is what we live for.” Those moments make member service worth it.
04:33 LJJ: Okay, now I know though, that this is the question that many, many have, and we’ve got it, the kids are all excited, if there was a dog in the car, how do they get a dog treat or a sucker?
04:46 LC: Those are the ones, we’re always looking for an enhancement on, but we have a really great team in the office that will send up an email like, “Hey, can you go run two dog treats out?” Or, “There’s a car with three kids in it.” So, we definitely work to still fill the void of those special treats that our members get in the drive-through.
05:02 LJJ: And people can always come on in and grab a hot cup of coffee, and even if it’s a Friday and if it’s summer and a root beer float.
05:09 LC: Yes. Yeah, they still want to go into the office to see their people, and we just love that members have options.
05:16 LJJ: Now, the other great option about an interactive teller is obviously the hours and the extended hours.
05:22 LC: Mm-hmm. Oh, totally, that is our biggest win. So, when members ask us why we’re going this way, it’s so we can be more accessible, in that 7:00 PM timeframe Monday through Friday, is not really heard of in the market, so to be able to offer that to our members is such a big win.
05:37 LJJ: Have you found, Lyndsey, if you’re actually working, that individuals who come when it’s off hours, that they… Are they pleasantly surprised? Or now is it just, “Oh my gosh, I need this.”
05:51 LC: Yeah, it’s more of the, “Oh my gosh, I need this.” Most members we see, six to seven, are like, “This is so awesome. Thank you for being here.”
06:00 LJJ: That is great. So, tell us a little bit about your background and how, once you decided, “Hey, I want to be one of the very first, the inaugural interactive tellers.” How did you figure that out and was there training? Because I know, television is hard. Video is not easy.
06:20 LC: Yeah, so we did a little bit, but a lot of it was trial and error, there was really no one else in the industry for us to lean on so we got to shape it how we wanted. And I’ve made a lot of friends in the ITM world, so reaching out and other credit unions to bounce ideas, but no one has done it really like us. And we love to be the first to shape that experience, and how… In the beginning we were like, “Do we have a script?” And no, I’m popping into other sessions, saying hi to members and we’re being really goofy and fun, and we’ll back up and show them our bubble. We just really wanted it to be like, “We’re there, give them a show.”
06:55 LJJ: I’m proud of that bubble.
06:57 LC: Yes. Oh, that is the best.
06:58 LJJ: [laughter] So…
07:00 LC: Yeah, it’s so funny because… Yeah, we’ve been called bumble bees or halos or peacocks, but we love our bubble, it’s able to give us this clean experience on the screen and members know that no one can see their information because no one’s truly walking behind us.
07:13 LJJ: Yeah, that’s awesome. So, tell us a little bit about, since you’ve started, what’s your favorite part of literally being on air?
07:24 LC: Just the first-timers are… Just sharing that experience with our members and really just laying it on thick in the beginning, just really helping them understand where things are, and joking and having sarcasm, and just creating that relationship to then, where they’re our regulars, and I don’t have to ask them for ID, I’m like, “I already have your account pulled up.” And those are the big wins that members love coming to see us.
07:46 LJJ: Well, I know it is true. You do like to see the same people over and over again because it builds that trust.
07:52 LC: Yes.
07:54 LJJ: So, you’re helping build trust every day.
07:56 LC: Oh yeah, all the time. And now that our team is growing, we get new people on and members are like, “What is this?” Because we had the same core team of five for so long.
08:04 LJJ: Right.
08:05 LC: And now we’re growing…
08:06 LJJ: Expanding and growing.
08:06 LC: In all the drive-throughs and new people are coming on. So that’s when I’m usually popping in other sessions like, “We’re still here. It’s still the core people that you fell in love with.” We’re still sharing that same experience with the newcomers.
08:18 LJJ: Tell us a little bit about you, Lyndsey, you’re sitting in front of me and very career-oriented, a great person, a great mom. And you are on a fitness journey.
08:33 LC: Yes. Yeah, I’ve lost 65 pounds in the last… Since November first of last year. I wanted this year to be about me. I put myself last for a lot of people, and I can’t fill other buckets if my bucket isn’t full, so…
08:45 LJJ: 65 pounds?
08:47 LC: Yeah, yeah.
08:48 LJJ: Alright, how?
08:49 LC: Dieting, eating, but kickboxing is my new obsession. It’s great for stress relief. It’s my little go-to time that I just need to release and then I’m good to go, and just hitting that bag.
09:00 LJJ: So how many days a week, do you go to a class or is it at home or?
09:04 LC: I was going to a class, but with Consumers, we get our biometric screenings, and I used our Amazon gift card and bought my own kickboxing bag, so I have it out in our pole barn and I can just go out there and do my thing for a little bit.
09:17 LJJ: [chuckle] It’s awesome.
09:17 LC: Yeah, it’s great.
09:18 LJJ: So, can we come and tape you?
09:20 LC: If you ever wanted to, come on down.
09:21 LJJ: Wouldn’t that be awesome? I’d love to get you on video talking about your journey, that would be great.
09:25 LC: Yeah, I love kickboxing, it’s great.
09:27 LJJ: When did you start seeing the transformation, that you felt to yourself, “Boy, this is worth it to me.”
09:34 LC: Yeah probably, two or three months in. So, when I started November first, Christmas eve was the day, I was like, “I’m going to cheat, I’m going to work my butt off these next couple of months, and I’ll have my cheat day.” It’s like… But you finally see those results and then you can get back on, and then to be where I’m at today, it just drives me to continue because once you feel the best of yourself, it’s like addicting almost. You want to keep thriving at that level.
09:58 LJJ: When you say diet, the thing that… I know people cringe, they go, “Ugh, I don’t want to go on a diet.” Is it more just switching some of your lifestyle eating habits?
10:07 LC: Totally, it definitely was a lifestyle change. It wouldn’t have been successful if I didn’t make it a lifestyle change because my mindset had to change, my view on myself, on my actions, on who I’m affecting, all had to change in order for me to be successful.
10:21 LJJ: Can you give us a couple of WOWs of what you changed, that you look back on now, and you think to yourself, “I can’t even believe that I did that.”
10:30 LC: Yeah, I think when you were just eating in general, it’s like being a mom, you want to be here for your kids long term, and just when you start to feel stronger and you feel better about yourself, it just carries over every day. And so, when I wake up and I feel good about getting dressed, and I feel really confident in who I am, not to say I wasn’t before, but to be better, I strive to be better.
10:51 LJJ: And it’s an everyday thing?
10:52 LC: Oh yeah, it’s a battle every day.
10:54 LJJ: I remember raising six kids, my time period was four to seven, so I ran my own business for quite some time and I had a four to seven slot that I would be home to try to get the kids meals, and I’m not even going to say healthy meals because they would laugh out loud if I said that, so, but that four to seven was constant grazing, just hands out constant grazing. And you get into these habits that you don’t think are unhealthy until all of a sudden, they are.
11:27 LC: Yeah, totally. And my son is hungry every ten minutes, he always wants a snack. So, it’s just putting that control on and saying, “Do I need this right now?” Carbs and sugar are the biggest thing that really are addicting and will drive the weight. So, it’s just really watching how much intake, yes, I’ll still have a little every now and then, but it’s moderation, and what is really good for my body.
11:50 LJJ: Well, congratulations.
11:51 LC: Thank you.
11:52 LJJ: So now, let’s go back to work, sorry about that.
11:54 LC: That’s okay.
11:55 LJJ: We got shifted off. But you know what, this is what it’s all about, it’s about blending your life, it’s not just about balance and saying, “Well, I have to be on this side or this side, it’s blending to make it work.” And you obviously are doing that very successfully Lyndsey. So, when we talk about the interactive tellers and the growth, and the opening up of all drive-throughs, can you give advice to people who are automatically, “No, no, no, not going to try it.”
12:20 LC: I say, all we ask is for you to touch the screen. You don’t have to do a transaction. Just touch it, give us the opportunity to greet you, say hello, maybe ask a couple of questions to get to know you. If you’re maybe not open to it today and you don’t want to try it, the fact that you touched the screen means so much to us, that you are willing to give it a try, and then when you find that maybe it’s 6:30, and you really want to get your full paycheck available, we are here for you and we want to help you learn to love the technology.
12:49 LJJ: The other part is learning the technology and how to use it. So you mentioned about the fact that you can have bills or checks, are there times that you found people who are coming in and seeing you as an interactive teller, and you’re realizing, “Man, I can teach them other tips of the trade.”
13:09 LC: Oh yeah, all the time. If there’s a check under $500 and, I’m always saying, “Hey, did you know we have mobile deposit?” And they’re like, “No.” And so, I tell them about it, and I’m like, “Hey, I just want to save you a trip, if I could save you the time of coming down here, we have all these options for you.” So, we’re always looking for solutions.
13:28 LJJ: Well, thank you so much for giving us the feedback, the information, and congrats again on your…
13:34 LC: Thank you.
13:35 LJJ: Financial fitness.
13:36 LC: Yes.
13:36 LJJ: From finance to fitness. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson. Money, I’m home. Jake, thank you so much for your production skills, always tremendously valued. And Lyndsey, thank you so much for joining us today. A true testament, finance to fitness.