Teller Performance Measurement
With all the discussion about the future of branches and declining transaction volumes, tellers are still an important part of most branch operations. Many financial institutions have reduced the number of tellers to levels well below just a few years ago. That means teller performance measurement is more, not less, important than it used to be.
- Having a larger percentage of high performing tellers has a greater positive impact when there are fewer overall tellers.
- In branches with only one or two tellers, the consequences of each teller’s performance on customer service are more direct.
- Maintaining good morale among employees that see pressure on their position is more difficult.
A well designed teller performance system can have a positive effect on all of these challenges.
Much of what tellers do can be quantitatively measured: transactions, cash, accuracy, volume, referrals. These metrics should be the foundation of performance measurement. However, simply counting each teller’s metrics is not necessarily fair. Tellers in low volume branches will never be able to compete with tellers in high volume branches on numbers of transactions or amount of cash handled. Tellers that handle a high percentage of commercial or complex transactions will not perform the same volume as a teller running a two or three lane drive-up, but may handle many times more cash.
Tellers understand there are environmental differences between branches and even within a branch. If performance measurement takes these differences into account, it will be perceived as fair and can have a positive effect. If it does not it will not only have a negative impact on morale, it will encourage tellers to find ways to “game” the system.
Recognition is the key to making teller performance measurement both a positive experience for employees and a beneficial program for the organization. Tellers that score above a certain level, or in the top 10%, could be listed in the branch newsletter. There can be a traveling branch-of-the-month or teller-of-the-month trophy. Traveling trophies work well, but need to exist within an area a teller can identify with. If the area is 100 branches, most tellers will never see it and will feel no identity or incentive towards it.
Public recognition based on fair and quantitative metrics can have a remarkably positive impact on teller morale, with little cost to the organization.
It is well documented that there are significant differences in performance and productivity between high performing tellers compared with average or low performing tellers. High performers consistently perform more transactions, deliver better customer service and make fewer mistakes. Increasing the percentage of tellers that are high performing is perhaps the most important objective of a good teller performance program.
High performing tellers, like most high performers, take pride in their work. As with athletes, they also like to keep score. Public recognition of high performance measurement scores can foster a healthy level of competition. By creating recognition at a branch (area level if most branches are small), a sense of competition can also foster teamwork. It takes very little encouragement to get high performers to begin mentoring average and low-performing tellers to increase the scores for their branch or area. Experience shows that this kind of competition tends to be constructive much more than cut-throat.
Another benefit of implementing teller performance measurement is that tellers who need additional mentoring or training are identified early. Any teller can have a month with poor scores, so it is important not to react too quickly or too harshly to one low score. When a teller has consecutive months or average scores that are below acceptable, then training, mentoring or other procedures should be introduced. There may also be a few employees who simply should not be tellers.
Performance measurement can be helpful in evaluating teller supervisors even if there is not a set of direct metrics collected. When tellers under a specific supervisor have scores that are consistently lower than similar branches or areas, it is often a supervisory issue. This is particularly true if an unusually large number of tellers need to have retraining procedures applied.
Teller performance measurement can be beneficial, but it should not add to overhead. A good system will gather data through automated processes, calculate the scores on a schedule and let users access it on demand. Branch personnel will tend to resent rather than embrace a program where their first exposure to it is an increase in workload.
A well designed and implemented teller performance measurement system can bring significant improvements in teller morale and productivity. A poorly designed program will have the opposite effect. If you have never implemented teller performance measurement, we invite you to look at the StaffPro® Branch Resource Management system that includes teller performance measurement as a standard feature.