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How to manage rising labor costs and retain staff without sacrificing customer service in your branches

October 10, 2022

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Teller processing check while cash recycler dispenses cash withdrawal

As banks and credit unions face wage increases, high employee turnover and customer service pressures, addressing even one of these challenges is daunting, but all three? Impossible.

Or is it? Not when you realize they are all connected and one solution can help address all three.

Rising Wages

In response to the Great Resignation, banks, like other industries, are significantly increasing wages in an attempt to attract and retain employees. From the largest institutions to small branch networks, most banks and credit unions are raising their minimum hourly wage and increasing salaries in the current competitive hiring market.

But higher labor costs are only increasing the pressure from investors for banks to cut costs. Banks and credit unions have to figure out how to control operating expenses.

One effective way to do that is to use cash automation technology like Teller Cash Recyclers (TCRs) to increase efficiency and productivity in branches.

TCRs speed up cash transactions while improving the accuracy and accountability of each teller. By automating cash counting, reducing balancing errors and eliminating drawer preparation, tellers and supervisors save time on start and end of day activities. TCRs also reduce vault buys and sells, potentially saving hours on dual control transactions.

By automating time-consuming cash processes, many branches can reduce staffing requirements, decrease overtime, and reduce other expenses around cash processing.

But TCRs don’t negate the importance of retaining and attracting the best employees. If anything, cash recyclers compound the benefits of experienced tellers and supervisors by increasing their productivity which may allow your branches to operate with fewer employees. The cost savings and productivity increase of TCRs paired with experienced, effective tellers and supervisors can help offset wage increases.

High Turnover

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates there will be an average of 33,700 teller job openings each year out of around 432,500 teller positions. That’s 1 out of every 11 teller positions that will need to be filled.

Financial institutions are competing with other industries to recruit and retain talent. Compensation is certainly a critical factor in the decision to accept or leave a position but it isn’t the only one. Attracting and retaining the best employees isn’t just about offering the highest hourly rates or salary increases. Often, retaining valuable employees and securing excellent candidates is as much about job satisfaction and work culture.

How can cash automation devices possibly contribute to a more satisfying job experience or workplace culture and help prevent your branches from becoming a statistic?

We know that tellers consistently report TCRs make their jobs easier and less stressful. By relieving tellers of tedious manual cash counting and removing the pressure of being out of balance, they are able to focus on identifying customer needs and providing excellent service. You can even equip a smaller staff with the tools they need  in a show of respect for their work and their workload.

A more subtle but equally impactful benefit of cash recyclers is how they contribute to more structured processes. Cash automation streamlines every aspect of cash management and removes the unpredictability of start and end of day branch processes. TCRs help you create (achieve) a more professional work culture in your organization which has become increasingly important in elevating your brand in the competitive marketplace.

Maintain Customer Service Levels

“We know that employee turnover and lack of training lower the quality of service provided to bank customers.”  says Lynn David  President, Community Bank Consulting Services.

Usually the highest turnover within financial institutions is in customer facing positions in its branches. Keep in mind, the customers coming into branches hold your deposit accounts. So, if you have frequent turnover, your most inexperienced employees are representing your brand during face to face opportunities with your valuable deposit customers.

Put another way, do you want to risk losing deposit customers because you don’t have well-trained, experienced employees in your branches?

Banks can drive people to self service using ATMs and video tellers but there’s still a need for people to come into the branch for cash transactions that can’t be handled by self service devices. The more you push customers into a digital environment the fewer personal service experiences they have with your branch and the more likely they are shop banks strictly on pricing and fees and digital service they can get anywhere.

Having a personal connection with your customers gives you a distinct advantage. Therefore, banks and credit unions need to be in a position to adequately serve customers who visit their branches and retain that personal connection. By automating routine cash transactions with TCRs you are equipping the employees who are the face of your brand with the tools they need to be able to focus on your customers instead of cash.

Banks and credit unions will always be under pressure to control operating costs without sacrificing customer experience but approaching those challenges creatively can lead to greater success. Remember that your branches are often your primary point of contact with your customers so retaining and attracting the best branch staff is an investment in your brand. Teller cash recyclers equip your staff with the tools they need to provide the best customer experience and protect your brand in the competitive marketplace

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