Call-Back Technology Significantly Reduces Linn Area CU’s Abandonment Rate

By W.B. King


When Linn Area Credit Union decided to undertake a core conversion in July 2019, the executive team knew the multi-factored task would be challenging. Among the action items was updating instrumental software and systems that operate critical financial transactions and functions. Adding to the Herculean task was the arrival of COVID-19 in March 2020. And the following July, the Marion, Iowa-based credit union, serving more than 24,000 members, also undertook a credit card conversion. This included reissuing roughly 6,000 cards to members.


Knowing that members would likely have many questions during this transitional period, the credit union posted the following message on its website: “If there’s something you would like to know but can’t find it, please give us a call.”


Linn Area Credit Union’s Vice President of Information Technology Rich Head said: “Anytime anything changes that impacts members, they will call.”

Linn Area Credit Union’s Vice President of Information Technology Rich Head.

During that period, the credit union experienced more than a 200% increase in its abandonment rate. The immense increase of calls followed the core conversion.


“We knew we were going to take a hit with the conversion, and with a high abandonment rate, it did impact our members’ satisfaction scores,” noted Head.


Vetting Call-Back Technologies


While Linn Area Credit Union had doubled its call center member service representatives since 2018, Head said that this hiring rate wasn’t realistic for the long-term. In an effort to combat the high call volume experienced after the conversion and reissuing of credit cards, Head’s team approached the retail department regarding a call-back solution that could, in part, eliminate the need for members to spend long periods of time waiting on the phone.


After conducting its due diligence and vetting vendors, Linn Area Credit Union selected the Toronto, Ontario-based Fonolo. The company offers a cloud-based call back solution and counts 14 credit unions as clients.


“The team at Linn Area CU was fantastic from the start. They entered the conversation with a clear goal of improving their member experience and a strong understanding of how it impacts their overall business as well as their agent experience,” said Fonolo’s CEO Shai Berger.


“Linn Area CU approached us knowing that adopting call-backs isn’t just about managing high call volumes or improving performance metrics,” Berger continued. “It’s also about investing in the experience they offer their members and building long-term loyalty through exceptional service and support.”


Linn Area CU signed with Fonolo in December 2019 and went live with the company’s Voice Call-Backs solution in March of 2020.


“Usually it doesn’t take that long, but with the winter holidays in play, it wasn’t possible to start implementation until the New Year,” said Berger. “In a few short months, we had their call-backs up and running.”