Branch Bank Teller Staffing

DPA Insights

Branch Bank Teller Staffing & Scheduling Model

by Steve Mueller, Director

Why should you use a branch teller staffing and scheduling model?

If you operate your branches without a staffing and scheduling model you expose yourself to risk. You risk being understaffed, which leads to poor service, staff fatigue, low morale, high turnover and missed opportunities to cross-sell. You risk being overstaffed and squandering profits. You risk being out of touch with important customer trends. You risk not adequately measuring the performance of your branch staff. Long range planning for branch staffing becomes no more reliable than reading tea leaves without a reasonable staffing and scheduling model to reveal your future staffing needs and expenses.

Two methods are commonly used to determine staffing and scheduling in branches: (1) a best guess based on the way you’ve always done it before, or (2) a rational model that measures actual staffing requirements based on real customer demand. The former method may even seem to work right now but you’ll never really know for sure (and what about the future?). The latter method, the rational one, will, at a minimum, provide a quantitative basis for making your staffing and scheduling decisions. And, if you choose the right staffing and scheduling model, you can satisfy both shareholder value AND customer service priorities at the same time.

What should you expect from a branch teller staffing and scheduling model?

First and foremost, you should expect a staffing and scheduling model to deliver a rational, realistic staffing and scheduling solution based on an accurate forecast of workload and customers by hour of the day. The workload is usually best represented by transaction volume and a planned ratio of transactions per customer coupled with an expected amount of time for completing the transactions (time per customer at the teller window or drive up). This should include not simply the teller’s processing time but also the time spent with the customer before and after the transaction while the customer is still at the window. During this time the teller has a key opportunity for cross-selling and enhancing customer service and satisfaction. Add to this the non-customer activity workload, such as night bags, ATM, utility bills, etc., at the time when these are required to be completed to round out the expected regular workload.

The staffing and scheduling solution should also

  • Recognize regular changes in customer demand, such as around holidays, paydays, etc.
  • Differentiate between teller windows, drive-ups, and non-customer activity (night bags, ATM, etc.)
  • Allow for long-range planning and ‘what if’ scenarios (as in what if we add a new branch, what if we have a successful new product promotion, what if we change our customer wait time goal, and so forth).

You should expect your staffing and scheduling solution to generate meaningful reports that you and your branch managers can use to ensure that not only is your solution responsive to the actual demands in each branch but also that each branch is responsive to the needs of the customer. Important operating information for retail operations and branch managers can include:

  • Daily staffing vs. Plan by branch
  • Transaction volume plan vs. Actual (and planned variance)
  • Customer arrival pattern Plan vs. Actual
  • Trends in volume and customers
  • Transaction completion time Plan vs. Actual and trend (by teller, branch)
  • Window vs. Drive up volume and trend
  • Non-customer activity volume Plan vs. Actual
  • Transactions per customer/household trends
  • Average wait time based on actual customer volume and staffing, by time of day vs. Plan
  • Staffing balance by branch

What features don’t add much value to the bank or your customers?

Some state-of-the-art staffing and scheduling solutions offer most if not all of the above features but also throw in some “gizmos” that might not deliver much bang for the buck for the shareholders. Branch staffing requirements are based on customer banking habits and as such, tend not to vary significantly over time. It’s vitally important to identify your customers’ habits; however, it may not be necessary to spend good money to monitor them every hour of every day as some staffing solutions do with technology or constant re-scheduling to react to every brief blip in volume that comes along.

You know your customers. Bank on that.

You know what your customers will accept if you decide to make a change in service levels, particularly if you are currently in a situation akin to, as they say, having built a church for Easter Sunday. Bank customers know what is reasonable in terms of service, whether they admit it out loud or not. They know which times of which days will be busy and which will not. Proper, reasonable staffing rings true to everyone involved, customers and staff alike.

What to do? Listen to Goldilocks.

If you’re a small to medium sized bank, your challenge is to find a happy median between optimum staffing at all cost and value to the shareholders and customers. This isn’t rocket science and shouldn’t be. This is retail. You do what makes sense for your customers and for your business. In this case, you need a staffing and scheduling model that is cost-friendly and feature-laden. Not too rich, not too lean, but just right for you.

Questions, comments or if you are in need of a teller staffing and scheduling system call or email Steve Mueller (smueller@danielpenn.com.).

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