NORTH HAVEN, Conn.-Connex CU's director of training is in the middle of leading a course when her phone rings. She stops the class, takes the call, and provides information that eventually helps a member.

Audrey Shelton is part of the CU's new Ask team (All Support Knowledge) and she knows that whenever the ASK team line rings it's her job is to help a member. The person on the other end of the call is an MSR who does not have the answer to a question a member has asked. Connex has a rule: you do not keep members waiting for an answer.

Since the ASK team was started in 2009, the credit union's Net Promoter scores have climbed. Connex's 2010 Net Promoter score was 69.57%, compared with its 2009 results of 63.71%. In addition, the credit union utilizes Member Shoppers to get additional monthly feedback. "Our average Member Shoppers score for 2011 is 4.46, while the average score for all Member Shopper credit unions is 4.28," said Tansley Stearns, VP of sales and service.

Because MSRs don't always have the answer for every member's question, the $360-million CU formed the ASK team. It's comprised of five individuals Stearns terms "masters of member service. They always treat people exceptionally well, never give anyone a hard time for calling, and are excellent at finding solutions to questions. They can't always have the answers, but these are people who have contacts and know who to turn to get the answer quickly."

Genesis of an Idea
The idea for ASK came out of a concern that there were times when member-facing team members were looking for support and could not find anyone, noted Stearns. In addition to Shelton, Amy Stanton, AVP of marketing; Anita Rupley, sales and service support supervisor; Yvonne Proscino, compliance officer; and Paula Dippold, team leader; make up ASK.

MSRs can call any ASK team member during any business hour. The ASK team still holds down their current roles but always take the call. No new staff were added. Stearns estimated that the ASK team takes between 150 and 200 calls per month.

Stearns said as ASK developed beyond a beta test to a fully implemented solution, the credit union began to look for ways to incorporate technology.

"We have created a database of all the questions that are now housed on our intranet and can be searched by any team member online. In addition, what began as a manual and somewhat tedious process of tracking calls has now been automated. Over the last two months we began to utilize a software called Track-It. This is the same software our IT department uses to log their support issues. This automates the tracking process and allows us to trend the number and types of calls received."

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