BY BILL PRICHARD
What does holiday travel have to do with credit unions? The uptick in travel during the holiday season puts many a CU member far from home. How can CU’s serve these members in spite of the miles between them? These best practices help erase the distance.
For millions of Americans, the holiday season is the perfect time to travel. In fact, “USA Today” reports that an estimated 100.5 million U.S. consumers traveled more than 50 miles from their homes last year between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3, according to the Automobile Club of America.
And AAA predicts that this year’s holiday travel season will top national records, with an estimated 48.7 million Americans traveling during the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend alone. While holiday travel can be filled with excitement and festivities, it also brings with it unique risks and inconveniences for consumers, especially where their money is concerned.
“During the holidays, many credit union members find themselves in faraway places at a time when they need their institution’s products and services the most,” said Carol Cline-Parton, vice president, CO-OP Member Center, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CO-OP Financial Services. “This dynamic can place added demands on a credit union, and especially on their call center.”
To serve members well wherever their holiday travels take them, Cline-Parton advises credit unions to follow these best practices:
Extend Call Center Hours, Especially on Black Friday.
According to Cline-Parton, Black Friday is likely the busiest day of the year for a credit union call center – as it is for the CO-OP Member Center.
“We experience a much higher volume of calls on Black Friday, not only due to the purchasing patterns of members but also because many credit unions remain closed to extend the holiday for employees,” said Cline-Parton. “Credit unions need to cover Black Friday well, whether the added support comes from staffing up internally or tapping the resources of an external call center such as ours.”