Rebuilding the West Main Office
Steve Dykstra, office manager for at West Main, stops by to talk about the demolition and construction of your brand new building. Built in 1971, the building was in serious need of a refresh. The new office will open 49 years later than the first – in 2020! Listen today on Money, I’m Home!
00:07 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m home. From finance to fitness. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union, and this is the podcast that helps you stay healthy, wealthy, and wise. And today we are talking with Steve Dykstra. Steve, you are a Office Manager like no other.
00:24 Steve Dykstra: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.
00:27 LJJ: Steve is our Office Manager at two locations. And I’ll tell you what, you are one busy guy right now.
00:33 SD: Yeah, pretty busy. Got lots going on.
00:35 LJJ: So, tell us a little bit about West Main, because I really want to dive in. Lots of construction going on over at West Main and Drake.
00:43 SD: Yes, so it’s really exciting. It’s an exciting time for both the office and the Credit Union. West Main has obviously been a staple with the Credit Union for quite a long time, one of our older office buildings. And it came time to make some changes and give it a little face lift.
01:02 LJJ: So, if you’re listening, our West Main office is in the Kalamazoo market. We are growing by leaps and bounds all over West Michigan into Michigan. And yet this… It needed a little tender, loving care.
01:15 SD: It did. It’s been around for some time. I think 1971 is when it was built. We had some great times there, but it’s seen better days. I’ll put it that way.
01:27 LJJ: Now tell us a little bit about your career so that we can learn what has changed as you’re watching the growth. Because there’s lots of changes that are going on in that office.
01:38 SD: Yeah, absolutely. So, I started with the Credit Union almost nine years ago. Started as a teller at our Milham location and then bounced around to the Member Service Center. Served in some different capacities within the Member Service Center. Was provided the opportunity to take over as Office Manager at Ninth Street. And just recently, within the past six months, take over the West Main location, too. So I’ve gotten to see quite a bit of different areas within the credit union, which has been, I think, a huge part for me of my career, because I get to see the behind the scenes and the Call Center, what it’s like in retail, and see how it all connects to really to drive our mission.
02:25 LJJ: The mission here, plain and simple. We do excel in member service. When something that changes in anyone’s banking or financial scope, have you seen that people like, “Hey, I don’t want to change.” Is it just like that in banking as it is in your life?
02:50 SD: Absolutely. I think everyone’s hesitant to change. It’s something new. It’s different. I know for me, I’m a creature of habit. So, when my habits get thrown off, it gets a little nerve-racking, the unknown. What to do? What’s next? But I think as far as from an employee standpoint, we do such a good job at rolling with that change and seeing long term how that change is going to benefit our members, and how we’re going to be able to continue to provide that best-in-class member service. And I think if for our members, if you’ve been with us for a while, you’re not as hesitant to change with us, because you know the changes that we do make have the best interest of you in mind. So, still a little hesitant but not as much as I would expect for the normal person, or a Credit Union member.
03:51 LJJ: So right now, West Main is demolished. We had a fun Demolish Day to benefit Alzheimer’s. [laughter]
04:00 SD: Yes. That was a blast.
04:02 LJJ: Hey, just take your mallet.
04:04 SD: Exactly. Go smash something. Who doesn’t like that?
04:07 LJJ: I know. And in the meantime, there’s actually a temporary banking center that is right next door. Is that right?
04:14 SD: Absolutely, so it’s right in the parking lot north of where our location used to be, right behind there. And we are a full-functioning, open office. We are there to serve member needs in any capacity, just as we would at the old building. And you had brought up member service, that being a focus of Consumers Credit Union. And I talk about this with my staff. And I’ve talked about it with members. I think us having that temporary office there is a testament to our mission. We have two other offices, 9th Street being one down the road. It’s a mile-and-a-half away. We have another office corner at Drake, on the corner of Drake and stadium, which is about a mile-and-a-half away. We easily could have said, “We’re re-doing our building. Please visit us at one of our other locations.” And it wouldn’t have been a big ask out of our members, but we felt that we needed to stay in that location to serve the members that use our office frequently. I think that’s just such a testament that we’re willing to put forth the time, energy, funds to allow our members to still bank where they want.
05:35 LJJ: I’m reading a really good book right now called Atomic Habits, and I just read the chapter on environmental space. And it talks about how you can form a habit and you can break a habit, based on the environment that you’re in. And really what we’ve done is we’ve created the habit to continue for those who love that particular location, because it’s hard to change.
06:05 SD: Oh, absolutely.
06:07 LJJ: You do talk, though, about, there are some big changes. And I think this is where people get a little bit leery. We’ve heard that people, when they first hear that, “Well, this is going to be an office that has interactive tellers and also extremely talented staff and team members.” The first thing people… I don’t want to go over to that interactive teller. Have you felt that at all yet?
06:37 SD: We have. We do such a great job at building these intimate relationships with our members. I think the first concern with the member is, “Are you guys going to be there? Are you going to be there?”
06:51 LJJ: Are you personally going to be there? All of a sudden, what is it going to be?
06:55 SD: Exactly. So as soon as we let them know, “Absolutely we’re going to be there, you’re going to have the same familiar faces, but we’re going to be taking care of you in a different capacity,” that kind of calms them down right away. And then when we explain to them all the positive benefits and what we’re able to do with this model and with our interactive tellers, it calms them down pretty quick, and kind of squelches those fears a little bit. When we explain, “Hey, these are people right here in West Michigan, they’re at our corporate office, you’re going to get to build and develop relationships with them just like you did us, you’re going to get to know them on an individual basis, they’re going to get to know you.” And once we explain that to them, that it’s not losing that personal touch, that we’re going to be able to better serve them and really in my opinion, be able to give them even more individualized one-on-one attention, it calms them down quite a bit.
07:51 LJJ: When you hear the word ‘interactive teller’, Steve, for our listeners who don’t know what that is, try to paint a picture.
08:02 SD: So, the interactive teller, it’s fantastic. It resembles an ATM roughly, with a large screen and a phone on the side of it. The member is able to go up to this, touch the screen, pick up the phone if they choose for a little more added privacy, and a teller will appear on the screen. One of our many great digital service representatives, Lyndsey…
08:28 LJJ: Kevin.
08:29 SD: Kevin, how can I forget Kevin? That’s who I was searching for, Kevin. Kevin’s fantastic.
08:33 LJJ: Well, I will tell you the very first time [chuckle] that we did a video, there was a woman in… Just a delightful member in the drive through at a corner at Drake when we first opened, and she literally asked Kevin on a date through that.
08:51 SD: That doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s fantastic. They’re all fantastic. So, one of the digital service representatives will come up on the screen, and it’s just like a teller transaction. It’s no different. They’re going to ask you about your day, they’re going to inquire about you personally, they’re going to help you with any and everything that you need, and it allows more safety, more security for in the office, it allows extended hours in our drive-throughs. There, really, like I said, the experience is going to be… People, I think, their biggest worry, and we talked about this briefly already, is that losing that personal touch. But if anything, in my opinion…
09:33 LJJ: You gain it.
09:34 SD: Yes, absolutely. It’s so much fun to see the people who are hesitant, to walk them up there, introduce them to Kevin, introduce them to Lindsey. They are genuinely excited when the transaction is done, they’re genuinely excited, and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, that was really cool.”
09:57 LJJ: And every one of our drive-throughs will become interactive tellers within the next few months, so this is really becoming something that those extended hours for anyone that is needing to bank, you can go through the drive-through up till 7:00 PM on weekdays.
10:18 SD: Oh, that’s huge. I know my wife is a great example, she’s unable to get into an office during normal business hours, and when we have the ATMs that allow you the withdrawals and the deposits, but there’s sometimes you need to make those more complex transactions, “I have a check, I want $300 going to my auto loan, I want $50 back in cash,” we can do that now, we can do that till 7:00 PM, and that’s so fantastic. I think it takes away some of the pressures, or the hustle of life. That’s one less thing you have to worry about, is, “I gotta rush to the Credit Union.”
10:55 LJJ: Get there on time.
10:57 SD: Yes.
10:58 SD: And then like me, I always feel horrible when I walk into a place of business at close, I’m like, “Oh, I’m sorry.”
11:06 SD: “I’m sorry.” It takes away all that pressure. You can take your time getting out of work, you can make your stops, and you can still get your transaction done and done successfully.
11:18 LJJ: It’s always amazing to me to really see the transformation when someone begins to bank differently, and so used to, “I’m standing in this line, I’m okay with standing in this line, because I’m going to see Peggy at the end of the line, and that’s what I want to do.” And so, they fear they’re not going to see Peggy, but in reality they’re going to meet new people and Peggy’s still going to be there.
11:46 SD: Absolutely. And it’s so funny, we tell them, we joke with them but we’re really being serious, is, “Hey, you’re going to get more of my time, you’re going to get more of my time, you’re going to get more of Alyssa’s time, you’re going to get more of John’s time, we’re going to be able to chat with you, we’re going to still talk about your cat, we’re still going to talk about aunt Joe. And while you’re waiting for the next great experiences, which is going to come when you interact with the Lindsey and the Kevin on the ITM, and they’re like, “Oh, we’ll have coffee, we’ll sit down, we’ll chat, it’s going to be great.
12:23 LJJ: You really do. The cool part about it is, if you ever want to have a fun… Well, I’m in marketing, so for me, I love to sit in our lobbies and listen and watch, and just enjoy the camaraderie that happens when members walk in, or when a member is on the phone and you can hear that. And now with the interactive tellers, it takes it up a notch, because the smiles are there once the fear of this box gets taken out.
12:58 SD: Absolutely. And I think just the whole concept of the office, we’re not going to be tucked away. At the old location, offices were spread out, people were spread out, and while we did our best to create a warm, inviting environment, which I think we did, it’s going to be even that much easier.
13:18 LJJ: Now it’s much easier to see people, talk with anyone, they are ready to serve.
13:24 SD: Yeah.
13:25 LJJ: So, what’s the timeline?
13:27 SD: So, the timeline is relatively quick. It’s been absolutely amazing. They demolished the building, it is down, it is gone.
13:37 LJJ: There’s dogs all over the fences.
13:38 SD: Yes, there is dogs all over the fences, keeping with the awesome dog theme that we have on our cups, and great hats off to you, great marketing.
13:49 LJJ: Yeah, you know I paid you for that, Steve.
13:51 SD: I’ll collect that through the interview, but great fencing, allowing everyone to know that we are next door. So yeah, the timeframe, we’re in the temporary office, they filled in the hole, the demolition is done. Now we get to start on the fun stuff of rebuilding the building. Rough time frame, things can change with construction, especially as we’re entering these winter months, so hopefully won’t be slowed up, but sometime between possibly May and June.
14:22 LJJ: That’ll be awesome. And in the meantime, we’re open for business.
14:24 SD: We are open for business, come see us, we still have coffee, cookies on Fridays, we have suckers, lollipops, we still have dog treats.
14:32 LJJ: I bet we’ll be open for Root Beer Float Fridays when you open the new.
14:36 SD: Absolutely, absolutely.
14:39 LJJ: Absolutely. Steve Dykstra, thank you so much for joining us and enlightening us about really the awesome things that are coming our members’ way. If you would like to stop by any office and you’ll be able to see what we mean when we talk about an interactive teller, you’re going to love it. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson, and guess what? Money, I’m home. From finance to fitness. We’d like to thank Jake Esselink, our great producer, and I hope you guys have a great week.