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 BG_3_Rio At Work

Efficiency Redefined: The Contact Center

Arturo Limones | February 9, 2024

Serving the community for almost 40 years, Rio Bank prides itself on its founding principles: Commitment to Honesty, Integrity and Quality Service.

In order to properly service its various communities, the bank has made sure to properly invest when it comes to employee interactions with customers, and how quickly they are able to respond to any inquiries received. With the intent of elevating its quality of customer service, the bank created a new department dedicated to handling frontline customer service and external communications: the Contact Center.

Omar Rodriguez, Chief Operations Officer, believes customer service is central to everything done at Rio Bank. With 16 locations in the state of Texas, Rodriguez and the bank keep in mind every facet related to the customer experience.

“Whether you are a frontline employee helping our customers or you are in our back office supporting our frontline employees, our focus is to create the most positive experience possible,” Rodriguez states. “We train our employees to provide excellent customer service and provided them the authority to immediately resolve any issues.”

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Prior to the implementation of the new Contact Center department, Personal Bankers would assist both in branch customers and those calling into a branch requesting information.

“Now we have a dedicated group of folks that can help those that call in while our bankers can provide our in-branch customers their undivided attention. However, our customers can still contact our Personal Bankers when they want,” continued Rodriguez. “We’re just providing them with the ability to get assistance quicker.”

As a whole, branch level activity is very high for the bank, as is the call activity. Having a dedicated group of staff members who can focus on helping customers with balance inquiries, online banking access or disputes made sense for the bank.
With the technology being provided for the new contact center, coming into the branch has become somewhat a thing of the past for most of the situations being dealt with.

“Our goal was to provide our customers unparalleled service with quick and easy solutions while keeping that human touch,” Rodriguez emphasized. “Customers have gotten the help they need faster and are more comfortable speaking with any Rio employee. While they may be partial to employees at their home branch, they realize we all receive the proper training and skills to provide them the best customer service possible.”

Customer service, and the customer experience, mean everything to Rio Bank. Francis Gomez, Senior Vice President, oversees the Treasury Management department and now has the Contact Center department under her supervision as well.

Gomez knows of the value that stems from providing customers with proficient and effective service.

“At Rio Bank, customer service is not just a department; it's a core value ingrained in the organization's culture,” states Gomez. “Our commitment to providing exceptional service extends beyond banking transactions; it's about building strong, lasting relationships with our customers. We prioritize active listening, prompt issue resolution, and a personalized approach to meet the unique needs of every client.”

Once the need for a Contact Center was identified, careful consideration went into devising the overall makeup of the team’s structure.

“Key factors, such as call volume projections, the need for expertise in various banking services, influenced the placement of the team,” Gomez said about the new department. “It became evident that not only a manager, but also a team of dedicated customer support specialists would be essential. Having a manager who works alongside the team ensures seamless communication, mentorship, and swift issue resolution.”

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Gomez knew Amanda Gaytan was the ideal candidate for the manager position, “Amanda brought with her valuable experience from a call center background and a deep understanding of various banking services while working in Rio Bank’s Treasury Management Department.”

“We are immensely proud of her achievements in establishing and leading the team, and we have full confidence in her capability to steer our contact center towards success.”

“As with any new project, there were concerns before the contact center went live,” Gomez continued. “The biggest concerns included maintaining consistent service quality, managing call volume during peak times, and ensuring that the team had in-depth knowledge of the bank's products and services.”

To address any concerns, a thorough training program was developed for the team, covering product knowledge, customer interaction best practices, and effective problem-solving techniques.

Gomez believes the Contact Center has been a game-changer.

“Response times have improved significantly, leading to faster issue resolution and increased customer satisfaction,” expressed Gomez. “Moreover, the personal touch and consistent service quality have strengthened the bond between Rio Bank and its customers. As we move forward, we remain dedicated to continually enhancing the customer experience and building lasting relationships with our valued customers.”

Rio Bank’s Contact Center team is dedicated to handle customer inquiries – ensuring a familiar voice consistently answers calls. A level of the human experience is necessary when operating at such a high level. Being personable matters to Rio Bank.

“This approach fosters meaningful connections, and builds trust and familiarity for a more positive customer experience,” according to Amanda Gaytan, Contact Center Manager. “We prioritize a streamlined process for promptly resolving customer issues. Quick and effective solutions contribute to satisfaction and loyalty.

The bank places an importance on active listening which allows customer support specialists to meet customers’ unspoken needs. With the creation of a new department, fostering a cohesive team environment also helps reduce misunderstandings and enhance overall productivity by keeping everyone on the same page.

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“Ensuring effective communication within a new department is crucial for seamless collaboration,” says Gaytan. “We leverage multiple communication channels for flexibility and effectiveness in our approach to team collaboration.”

Gaytan notes the creation of a robust training program was the main priority when preparing for the launch of the new department.
“I collaborated with fellow team leaders, inviting them to provide specialized training based on their expertise,” Gaytan said about troubleshooting for the team. “Additionally, our agents visited banking centers to familiarize themselves with the ‘Rio Bank Way.’ Utilizing available resources, I crafted a comprehensive training covering banking intricacies and customer service excellence. This approach aimed to equip our team with diverse skills for a successful launch.”

Gaytan is well aware of the new experiences she will likely encounter as she steps into a new role for a newly created department, “Leading the new contact center department, we’re learning essential lessons in fostering effective team collaboration, optimizing workflow processes, and adapting to the unique challenges and dynamics of our contact center operations.”

Gaytan and her team rely on quick thinking and problem-solving – vital for contact center agents – which help resolve customer issues faster, improve satisfaction, and keep operations running smoothly by adapting to everchanging situations.

With Gaytan at the helm of this new department, the Contact Center has significantly elevated the customer experience by ensuring consistent interactions and information.

Customers now receive a quick connection to a live agent, improving efficiency in handling inquiries for faster and streamlined service. The Contact Center IS a game-changer.

 

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