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An Open Letter to our Membership

January 11, 2021

Like you, we look forward to the fresh start of a new year. Gesa Credit Union is committed to helping you thrive as the economy and routines of everyday life continue to recover.

At the same time, for those who have called us lately, you know there are challenges with the phone service experience. The wait times are long. Callbacks are taking hours. We’ve heard from many of you that it’s too time-consuming to connect with us. We also heard about frustrations with the reply time for secure messages and emails.

Please know we listen carefully to each piece of feedback. We had thousands of conversations with members over the past several weeks, most of them via our Member Contact Center, but also in-person, on social media, and through email.

There are a few reasons behind why Member Contact Center wait times have gotten as long as they are. With COVID-19, daily call volumes have reached a record high as many choose to call instead of visiting branches in-person. As we continue to help members get settled from the recent merger and to assist our members with the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on their lives, conversations are longer and more complex.

To illustrate this, in November 2019, the credit union received a combined 45,000 calls, with an average call taking 5 minutes and an on-hold time of 33 seconds. This past November, there were more than 108,000 calls. The average time per call jumped to 11 minutes, with members waiting an average of 30 minutes before connecting with a representative. Call volumes remained high in December, more than double the monthly volume from a year earlier. To be candid, we have never seen this level of member calls, and we were underprepared to handle it all at once. At the same time, we continue to see our staff affected by COVID-19 as well, further reducing our staffing levels.

High call volume infographic

For our part, Gesa has extended our Member Contact Center hours to 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (M-F) and 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Sat), so members have more choice in when they call. We’re hiring and training additional team members to help reduce the wait times. We are committed to hiring as many as it takes to answer and respond to your needs in a timely manner. Team members from our branches and back-office are being shifted to get calls answered faster. In addition, we are continually evaluating our processes and procedures to identify ways to better serve you.

We fully acknowledge that the current level of service is unacceptable and does not meet our standard or your expectations. As a member-owned credit union, we’re committed to providing all of our members with exceptional service. With the current on-hold times, we are coming up short of that promise. That’s why we’re committed to hiring as many team members as it takes to drastically reduce our average on-hold wait times. While we will do all we can to achieve higher service levels as soon as possible, it does take time to hire and train team members who have the right knowledge and abilities to meet member needs.

We continue to learn, to listen, and we want to apologize for the challenging experience. We thank our members for your loyalty and the opportunity to rebuild the trust you have in us as we continue to provide compelling value across all product and service lines. We look ahead to improving your member experience with Gesa with each new day and moving forward together this new year.