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Strengthening the Link Through Internet & Social Media

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Unit 6 Assignment 1 | Strengthening the Link through Internet & Social Media | Working Together for Success |

Marco Quintana

Introduction USAA's mission is to facilitate the financial security of its members, associates, and their families through provision of a full range of highly competitive financial products and services; in so doing, USAA seeks to be the provider of choice for the military community.(USAA,2014) In our team huddles or meeting’s we always begin with our mission. We live and breathe the mission every day in all our doings at work and at home. USAA strives for excellence in all lines of business; Property & Casualty, Banking, Financial Investing and Retirement. Companies will have their pros and cons, it is up to them to correct their flaws and make it right. USAA scores their performance with Satisfaction Scores (Sat Score) in every department that deals with members on a face to face environment or interaction on the phones. These scores reflect on our performance reviews as a whole. USAA, the innovator in mobile and online banking has opened its doors to their members through social media and the internet. Not only does USAA communicate with members through online media, they have created other outlets for employees to communicate with each other. These outlets are not that effective for Financial Centers that are placed away from our Home Office and Campuses. Communication needs improvement between Home Office and the Financial Centers, leaving disconnects between the two; leaving members upset and in turn give Financial Centers a bad satisfaction score. Teamwork plays a big part in USAA to providing the best service to our members, yet some get left out of the game. My goal is to try to get everyone involved and on the same page promoting USAA’s mission. In addition to collaboration, continuing training for Financial Center representatives is a need to be up to date on banking and insurance transactions. It is not every day that financial center representatives process the same transactions. Continuous process helps the representatives stay compliant and effective when assisting the member.
USAA was established in 1922 when army officers were denied coverage for their automobiles. Twenty five officers came together and agreed to insure each other’s vehicles. It was formed in San Antonio, Texas, where it currently resides for USAA’s Home Office. By 1928, USAA’s credo was “Service to the Services” and had over 8,000 members among of 38,000 possible service men. Through the twenty’s to early sixty’s, USAA had already opened its services to half a million members offering automobile, homeowners, life and an office in Frankfurt, Germany. In 1964 USAA established a school program to target young females of the age 17 to 22, if they accepted employment, “they had to agree to attend night school to complete their education. “ (History, By the late 1970’s, USAA offered toll-free phone service to their members in the United States, prior business was “done by mail and telegraph”. (History, In 1983, USAA opened its only Federal Savings Bank in San Antonio, Texas. To this day, it is the only brick and mortar with tellers and cash services. Through the 90’s and early 2000’s, USAA was honored by ComputerWorld and InformationWeek for USAA’s information technology programs. In addition, USAA launched for members to “safely & securely transact business online.” (History, In 2007, USAA made it possible for members to deposit checks at home utilizing a scanner to scan images (front & back) of their checks. Following two years later, USAA’s IT team made it possible for iPhone users to deposit checks with their iPhone camera via USAA application. A year later, they launched the application for the iPad to help members access and manage their finances. That same year in 2010, USAA partnered up with UPS Stores, giving members another route to deposit their checks into their accounts. During the same year, USAA opened its first Financial Centers in key locations as well as redesigning their website to provide easier access for members. To this day, USAA has 20 financial centers supporting members with face to face locations and many more to be in the upcoming years.
We can just pick up a phone or email a coworker if we wanted to, but that is not the communication I am trying to argue about. In large corporations, communication can be lost or not communicated very well between departments. USAA is a company with about 20,000 employees, including contractors. “Healthy internal communication is central to the success of any company, whether the organization is a small startup or an established large enterprise.” (Cohn, 2014) There has been a disconnect among the financial centers and home office. The biggest concern financial centers have is from phone representatives, who are contracted, give false or incorrect information to members. When a member comes into a financial center to cash a check, they walk away angry and dissatisfied. Let me give a quick tutorial of a USAA Financial Center. The financial centers are a gateway for members and new to conduct existing and new lines of business in a face to face environment. The majority of the time we are considered by members who have never walked into a financial center, a bank. This is false; we are a center to help members with their financial needs with the exception of tellers and cash drawers. USAA set these up to benefit the members by keeping them out of harm’s way and keep rates and fees at a minimum. In Cohn’s article, he gave several examples on how a company can increase and maintain proper communication within each department. Examples that can be effective are: Group Events, Recurring Meetings, Team Lunches, and Internal Newsletters & Open-door Polices. All are effective, but disconnects among different departments still occur. An effective way to minimize the disconnect of communication within large companies, is bringing back internal memos, or including them in the financial centers. Emails are big part of connecting employees with new changes or information on benefiting the department, but they always get bypassed. I am guilty of bypassing an email, because it did not pertain to me or the department I am in. USAA does send out thousands of emails a day with new changes or stories on employees, or USAA has its Frontline Digest to share stories and what is happening within USAA. Except not all employees read what is displayed in front of them. Memos can helpful if prioritized so that the representative(s) can take the initiative to read it. “The memo also may serve as a reference for employees for the future as a way of maintaining memory clarity. This keeps operations efficient.” (Thibodeaux, 2014) Good communication can be beneficial to the company as well as to the employee. Johnson “The result of a team that works together is high productivity, integrity and responsibility. Employees know their roles on the team and know they are valued”. (Johnson, 2014) USAA promotes team huddles every week with their representatives; it has become second nature for team huddles in all departments throughout the three USAA campuses to go over concerns, questions, or just new information that needs to relayed to the member. As for financial centers, these do take place but fall short on occurrences. New changes and information need to be communicated to the representatives on a daily matter, but only certain information gets relayed to them. Since I started in the financial center, September of 2013, I have not seen or noticed a change in relaying the proper communication to phone representatives about what is handled at a financial center. Giving the incorrect information to a member, leads to a angry dispute, which results into a low sat score. Low sat scores for the financial center means lower raises and possible decline for promotions. This does not affect the phone reps or employees at a campus or home office, but it does affect those that work every day in a financial center. Team meetings can have a designated representative from each department, including contractors, to meet once a month or every quarter to go over what is working and not working. This can have a positive impact when lead with a video or phone conferences to discuss the days agenda by communicating what current and new members of USAA are currently experiencing. According to Cruz (2006), team meetings/huddles can “enhance two-way communication and help build well informed and highly effective teams.” Julian Cruz, who is the Director of Communications of Goodwill in San Antonio, Texas, utilizes team huddles in addition to his internal memos to go over questions or concerns from that days memo. USAA has adopted the concept of team huddles to get employees pumped and ready to provide the best service to the members. Training is needed in today’s corporation, enterprise or in a mom and pops small business. USAA employees go through a long 6-12 training process before engaging with a member or working in back office. The long training helps them navigate through the systems to achieve USAA’s mission. There is always on-going training that USAA offers through internal software for continuing education for licenses as well as training to another position within the company. Employees at home office or in the other campuses are training for a certain service to a member, Financial Center employees are trained to all lines of business; service and acquisitions. As a financial center rep, we do not conduct the same transactions every day, which leads to forgetting a process to finish a simple loan application. The difference between phone and financial center reps is that the phone reps take call after call with little or no break, with the exception of regular 15 minute breaks and lunches. A financial center rep is limited to 4 offices (9-11 employees in a financial center) to conduct service and/or acquisitions. We all take turns to sit in an office to help a member, but the majority of transactions taken place is basic banking and insurance. Adding a refresher course can benefit the member and the employee, faster in and out times for the member and ready to help the next member without waiting for someone to help or handing the member off to another rep. USAA currently sends representatives to their home office to up-skill new training when available. Usually a class is held twice a year for financial center up-skills. This has to change, waiting on training can affect a member, meaning the only way to get assistance at a face to face environment is to place them in a video booth to conduct the business. Most members want to meet with an actual person they can shake hands with. If we cannot provide the service they came in for, that can lead to a low sat score. USAA needs to increase the amount of classes held a year for financial center up-skills to get the representative ready for the everyday face to face servicing. By doing this, satisfaction scores can be increased leaving the member with a smile and a possible referral to a new member. When it comes to travel, any corporation has to be mindful on what they spend for their employees for training. Another way to save on costs is sending a designated trainer to the financial center and refreshes employees to fine tune on what is needed. If costs are the matter on the agenda, then external training is the way to go. A true benefit of internal training is that it “has the potential to positively impact employee learning and development.” (Heathfield, 2014) To be successful in social media and internet, you” got to have a good old-fashioned customer-oriented business.” (Ray, 2012) USAA uses social media to get members connected on what is happening right now within the company. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are just a few to be named where USAA reaches out to the members with job fairs, workshops on how to manage your finances and updates to In addition to helping members, representatives use the social media to connect with its members by reading their comments and concerns. How can I help the member if they are displeased with our service or how can I make it better for the member if they already happy with the product USAA offers. The members may not know that we are working as a team when they leave a positive or negative comment on one of the social media websites. In the financial centers we work together in our team meetings through web-ex. It is a site where we can conduct phone conferences with the ability to view PowerPoint’s so that each representative are on the same page during the meeting. This is just one of the many channels USAA uses to communicate with their own. Another innovation USAA is introducing is robots into meetings and training classrooms. Telepresence Program, a “new technology to help employees communicate across the enterprise, from regional offices to remote workers.” (Enterprise News, The robots can help remove barriers for remote workers to participate and not be a bystander, introducing these to financial centers can make reps feel included and as a whole.
USAA protects its values with through Code of Business Ethics and Conduct. “That reputation is built on a legacy of unwavering commitment to ethical behavior as we serve our members and interact with employees, communities, government entities and other companies.”(, 2014) Joe Robles, ex-CEO, is committed to integrity and believes it is “driven not only by good business sense and the law, but also by our desire to do the right thing.” (Robles, 2014) Employees have access to the Code of Ethics with a few key strokes, allowing us to use for reference when conducting business with members or employees. The Code of Business Ethics is used in every line of business USAA conducts, from opening a bank account to investigating claims and so forth. USAA has a mission to be the provider of choice for our military community. If we cannot be ethical in every move we make, we cannot provide exceptional service. To provide the service that is needed starts with communication within the enterprise to communicating what is right to the member. Our members are what make USAA one the highest ranking companies to work for as to do business with. Being able to continue supplying, providing guidance and training to new and existing members, shows USAA’s members that it is committed to the Mission. “USAA will continue to innovate across all channels – social, mobile, online and more.” (Meehan, 2010)
Annonymous. (2014). Innovation Interface. USAA Connect Online. Retreived from
Cohn, Chuck. (2014). Strategies to Stregthen Communication Within Your Company. Forbes Online. Retrieved from
Cruz, Julian. (Unknown). The Purpose & Value of Team Huddles. Quality Texas. Retrieved from http://www.texas-quality .org
Heathfield, Susan M.(2014). Tap the Power of Internal Training. Retrieved from
Johnson, Rose. (2014). What are the Benefits of Effective Communication in the Workplace? Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from http://small
Meehan, Meghan. (2010). Forrester features USAA as Social Media Innovator. Bazaar Voice Blog. Retrieved from
Ray, Augie.(2012). Five Secrets of USAA’s Success in Social Media. Experience: The Blog. Retrieved htpp://
Robles, Joe.(2014). Code of Business Ethics and Conduct [Letter from Joe]. Retrieved from
Thibodeaux, Wand. (2014). The Significance of Business Memos. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from
USAA.(2014). USAA Mission Statement. Retrieved from
USAA.(2014). Corporate Overview [History]. Retrieved from

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