Athene USA Corporation is a subsidiary of Athene Holding Ltd. and part of the Athene family of companies. Athene USA insurance subsidiaries provide individuals and institutions with innovative financial solutions to meet their investment needs. As a leading provider of fixed annuities, Athene USA offers a strong portfolio of solutions designed to help consumers achieve retirement income goals. The enterprise faced unanticipated growth and an expanded customer base. As a result, Athene USA’s Contact Center required additional frontline agents that could be trained expeditiously related to Contact Center-specific transactional skills and customer interactions. Business leaders reached out to PowerHouse to assess its current approach to new-hire training with an eye toward streamlining content, integrating the “piece-parts” (conducted by varied staff), and elevating the status of Athene USA’s training team. The desired outcome was an enhanced experience for policyholders, agents, trainers, and Contact Center employees. PowerHouse collaborated with Athene USA for a Learning and Performance Optimization Assessment. Its goal was a deep dive into the knowledge, skills, and human qualities required for new-hires to be successful and engage customers in a superior way. The assessment identified the strengths/shortfalls of current training for new-hires, incumbent staff, and management; desired competencies for knowledge, skills, and human qualities; transaction and interaction training needs of potential new-hires; and any additional factors that impeded the Customer and Employee Experience. Based on our findings, PowerHouse set forth a future training vision for Athene USA as part of a Training Design Blueprint. Our consultant also worked with Athene USA business leaders, trainers, intranet developers, Contact Center staff, and Human Resources to implement immediate quick-win stabilization initiatives. We set forth recommendations related to the Contact Center’s Quality program, methods for hiring and recruitment, staffing and workforce management, the “Team Site,” and the nature/content/format of on-the-job reference tools. We also consulted with business leaders to assist Athene USA in building a scalable and sustainable training infrastructure for the organization.
Boston Financial Data Services
Boston Financial Data Services (BFDS) is a premier financial services solutions provider entrusted by some of the most prestigious investment companies in the industry. Its goal is to be the leading provider of innovative financial service solutions for its customers through skilled associates, value-added processes, and continuous improvement. BFDS’s Rockland, Maine location was identified as a growth location for Investor Services. PowerHouse was selected to conduct an independent assessment of the Call Center operation with particular focus on quality, efficiency, and the Customer Experience. The goal was to assess the health of the current operation and identify areas where improvements were required to ensure that Customer Care could support BFDS’ plans for the future. PowerHouse principals assessed the Call Center’s current state related to communication, technology, quality, operational practices, training, management practices, and organizational model. As part of the recommendations phase, PowerHouse created a Strategy Map that resulted from a focused work session with BFDS executives. A foundational recommendation was to align all front line performance activity under a single umbrella via the Contribution to Quality and Capacity™ model conceived by PowerHouse Chief Vision Officer, Kathleen Peterson.
BrightStar Credit Union
BrightStar Credit Union is among the largest Credit Unions in South Florida with assets greater than $400 million. Serving the population of Broward County and Palm Beach County, the BrightStar Member Service Center (MSC) was experiencing fluctuating performance, especially related to call abandonment. The organization’s business leaders sought assistance in assessing and optimizing the Service Center to gain efficiency and scalability in support of future growth. Ultimately, the goal was to heighten the Member Experience regardless of contact channel. PowerHouse was selected to conduct an Operational Assessment and optimize the Member Experience both before and during interaction with a live agent or electronic channel. Particular emphasis was placed on planning, forecasting, and technology. The comprehensive assessment also focused on organizational structure, cross-functional relationships, operational processes, performance and quality, training and job support, hiring and retention, and the MSC work environment. PowerHouse provided a set of near- and long-term recommendations for aligning the MSC with BrightStar’s strategic and growth objectives.
Cambridge Savings Bank
Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB) is one of the oldest and largest community banks in Massachusetts, offering a full line of individual and business banking services that includes online and mobile banking. A strategic decision was made to change the reporting structure of CSB’s Customer Service Center from Operations to Marketing. The SVP of Marketing engaged PowerHouse to conduct an overall assessment of the Call Center based on contact types, performance, quality, revenue generation, technology, and other inter-related factors. Via an assessment and analysis process, PowerHouse consultants identified areas for Call Center optimization, built a plan to develop requisite strengths, and identified initiatives to align the Customer Service Center to Marketing. We also collaborated closely with CSB management to develop and implement a plan that improved abandon rates, service level, and sales per agent. PowerHouse also delivered management training and provided support to frontline leaders.
CME Credit Union
CME Federal Credit Union (FCU), established in 1935 by the City of Columbus Firefighters, serves more than 25,000 members that live, work, worship, attend school, or volunteer in Franklin County, OH. CME FCU requested expert assistance with its strategic initiative of re-launching its Call Center. The Credit Union sought to assess the Call Center’s readiness to focus on those elements of its Strategic Plan specifically related to the Member Experience. PowerHouse conducted an assessment that resulted in a roadmap to guide CME FCU executives and management in achieving strategic objectives for growth, efficiency, revenue generation, and Member retention.
Community First Credit Union of Florida
Community First Credit Union of Florida is the twelfth largest Credit Union in Florida and provides banking services to more than 116,000 members. Community First is a member-owned financial cooperative providing banking services including savings, loans, and other financial services to members. It is a recognized leader in providing superior financial solutions that improve members’ lives while building strong and vibrant communities. PowerHouse was first engaged to perform an Operational Assessment due to long hold times and low service levels in the Community First Member Service Center (MSC). A key PowerHouse recommendation was to remove the automatic ACW (After Call Work) time that was programmed for each call as we discovered that there was very little actual ACW being performed. Member hold times immediately dropped and service levels rose to acceptable levels due to action on this single recommendation. The organization decided to pursue additional recommendations on its own. Five years later, PowerHouse was contacted due to similar circumstances that had returned to the MSC. Our consultants were asked to assess the current state and provided findings and recommendations. PowerHouse proposed a 90-day plan to be managed by our consultants, with technology, processes, and people organized within 3 swim lanes: Workforce Management, Organizational Model, and Quality Assurance. The initiative was successful in all areas of focus and uncovered additional issues with processes and departmental organization beyond original project scope. Based on our recommendations, Lending was restructured and many Lending functions were brought back into the MSC. We were asked to project manage the final implementation of systems and processes begun by Community First as recommended by PowerHouse. Final touches in Quality Monitoring (working with Zoom and providing coaching techniques for the supervisors) and the handoff of other projects in progress to new MSC leadership rounded out our involvement in the project.
Hanscom Credit Union
Hanscom Federal Credit Union (HFCU), one of the largest credit unions in Massachusetts, serves U.S. service men and woman around the world. HFCU asked PowerHouse to manage the procurement and installation process for a new telecommunications platform to service its 13 locations across MA and the Mid-Atlantic states. We conducted a detailed requirements analysis and provided guidance on system design. PowerHouse then developed and managed an RFP process that culminated in the selection of an IP-based telephony system to service HFCU’s evolving corporate and Member contact needs for the foreseeable future.
Mid-Hudson Valley Credit Union
Mid-Hudson Valley (MHV) Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned, financial cooperative offering a full array of financial services. MHV advocates the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.” MHV’s Member Services Call Center was operated by a third party. Although the outsource partner performed generally well, it became difficult to manage employees that were not direct reports. MHV demanded extremely high service standards that included an industry-leading 24/7 Call Center and live ATM kiosks in branches. PowerHouse was engaged to assess the feasibility of bringing the Call Center function in house. Our consultants fully analyzed the current outsourcer; validated business goals; and assessed the operational, technical, and cultural requirements necessary to migrate to an in-house function. PowerHouse identified physical and technical solutions for the transition. We also developed processes for hiring the best candidates; developed a training blueprint; addressed quality, reporting, and performance issues; created a Business Continuity Plan; and oversaw the successful migration to an in-house Call Center.
Pinellas County Teachers Credit Union (Now Achieva Credit Union)
Pinellas County Teachers Credit Union (PCTCU) is a full-service credit union serving Pinellas County employees and residents. PCTCU was relocating its Member Services Call Center, Data Center, and Accounting and IT departments to a new facility. As an integral part of this relocation, PCTCU sought to replace its outdated telecommunications systems and improve communications functionality for 250 users across six locations. PowerHouse conducted a full needs assessment and designed a converged network. Our consultants were also tasked with acquiring new ACD technology, routers, Ethernet switches, and an enterprise-wide telecommunications platform that utilized Voice over IP between the Data Center site and all other PCTCU locations. PowerHouse was subsequently retained to provide systems implementation management services.
State Employees Credit Union of Maryland
State Employees Credit Union of Maryland (SECU), the state’s largest credit union, outgrew its corporate headquarters and built a new facility. The company sought to upgrade aging telecommunications technology while also enhancing functionality of the Call Center. As part of a Telecommunications Assessment, PowerHouse developed system design requirements for both the building infrastructure and the Call Center. The technology selected and implemented included a Siemens Model 80 PBX, an Xpressions unified messaging system, a Resume Route ACD suite, a Blue Pumpkin forecasting/scheduling package, and a Siemens MXEmail distribution.
Service Credit Union
Service Credit Union (SCU) is one of the largest financial cooperatives in the U.S., with more than 1,000 credit union branches worldwide. As part of a long-term relationship, PowerHouse provided SCU with ongoing collaboration, advice, and support for both its Call Center and branch offices. We assisted the organization to evaluate current Call Center operational processes, organizational practices, and the use of technology. Our consultants provided expertise on the acquisition of Call Center workforce management systems, developed a new Call Quality Monitoring Program, and recommended desired skills for new-hire and incumbent agents. PowerHouse CVO, Kathleen Peterson, has presented several customized Call Center Leadership seminars to SCU executives, managers, and frontline staff.
UMassFive College Federal Credit Union
As a non-profit cooperative financial institution, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union is owned by and operated exclusively for the benefit of its members. The Credit Union was created in 1967 by employees of the University of Massachusetts System to provide financial solutions to them and their immediate family members. In 1971, Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges were added to the field of membership. Since its inception, the Credit Union has grown from a one-room operation on the UMass Amherst campus to a full-service financial institution with five physical branches, a full-service Contact Center, and a robust online presence. UMassFive has experienced extensive growth over the years, with its member-facing Contact Center receiving approximately 7,000 calls and 4,000 emails per month. The organization engaged PowerHouse to assess the Contact Center operation and optimize the Member Experience before and during interaction with a live agent or electronic channel. The assessment focused on management practices, voice and data technology, hiring, training, human factors, business continuity, and Contact Center scalability. PowerHouse consultants analyzed the current organization and identified gaps between the current state and that which would support the Credit Union’s future business plans. We honed in on issues related to people, processes, and technology and assisted UMassFive in developing practical and cost effective solutions rooted in its corporate vision and values. The end-result was a set of near- and long-term strategies to assist the organization to optimize the Member Experience, position the Contact Center for growth and process scalability, gain operational efficiencies, and improve agent skills.
Utah Retirement Services
Utah Retirement Systems (URS) is a self-funded organization that administers 401(k) and 457 Defined Contribution Plans and Defined Benefit Plans for public employees in the state of Utah. Both URS and the Public Employees Health Program (PEHP), a division of URS, were experiencing dramatic growth in services and membership; this resulted in decreased customer service. PowerHouse conducted an enterprise-wide Telecommunications Assessment and developed a five-year Telecommunications Strategy Plan. We were subsequently engaged to manage the acquisition of new technology: a new ACD system, a telecommunications platform that utilized a mix of VoIP and digital technology, a voice/data recording and quality monitoring solution, a unified messaging system, and a call accounting system upgrade. URS later retained PowerHouse to provide complete Systems Implementation Management Services.