Get to Know CUNA: What is MRM?

This entry was posted by Thursday, 22 July, 2010
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The MRM Team - L-R Top: Barb Bender, Debbie Michels, Bottom: Sherri Wagner, Tonna Winkers, Connie Acker

I’ll give you a hint – you probably have talked to them on the phone once or twice… 

Tonna Winkers, MRM Manager, recently sat down to answer some questions about what (and who) the CUNA MRM department is and what they do. 

CUNAverse: What is MRM? What does your department do?
Tonna Winkers: The Member Relationship Management (MRM) team handles CUNA customer service orders and questions regarding CUNA products and subscriptions.  These come into MRM in a variety of ways; phones, web, email, fax or mail.  The department is made up of a great team of five, experienced representatives, who work in a call center environment.  We answer the phones from 8:00-4:30 CST, Monday-Friday. 

What is your favorite thing about working in customer service?
One of my favorite things about working in MRM is having the chance to talk to a variety of people in credit union land.  I’m sure everyone’s customer service area would say this, but I think we have the best customers!  Most people don’t realize the bond that a representative can create with customers over the phone.  Even though almost all of our correspondence is done over the phone or through email, we still get to know our customers and become friends.  We have worked with a number of our customers for years. 
What’s the biggest misconception about what MRM does?
I have always thought that the biggest misconception is that because we work in a call center environment, that others think our jobs are monotonous.  While we do the same type of work each day, e.g., answer phones, process orders, etc., each person we talk to and each order we handle is different.  We receive the regular types of calls that you would expect, but we have also received calls for directions from the airport, from credit union members trying to get credit bureau information, and sometimes from people who just want to talk.  Each situation is unique and is handled based on what that caller needs.  Even if we’re not the person, area, or company that can help them, we try to direct them to where they should go to get their answers.

Because we touch almost every area in CUNA, we’ve become known as the “go to area” when someone needs to know an answer and isn’t sure where to go for it.  While we may not know the answer, we usually know the right people that do.  Customer service jobs have a lot more variety than others realize.

What are some lessons learned over the years?
The MRM team has over 115 combined years of CUNA customer service experience.  You can imagine the lessons we’ve learned over the years!!  Here are a few of the lessons that really stick out to the MRM team:

  • Remember to always be patient with customers.  Sometimes they are not sure of what they want, and need you to assist them in getting to the end result.  You have to make sure you’re taking the time to help them get what they need.
  • Be sympathetic to what the caller is going through.  If it’s a problem, be quick to fix it; if a quick fix is not possible, call them back with 24 hours to provide a time frame on when they can expect a resolution or a follow up.
  • How you say something matters just as much, if not more, than what you say.  Your tone can carry more of a message than words.
  • I had a representative keep customer service notes that she had from 1989 that she passed on to me when she retired.  Some of these notes are “Give 100-200%” and “The caller does not always care about how much you know; they want to know how much you care!”

How can CUNA members contact you with questions?
We can be contacted a variety of ways: phone 1-800-356-8010, press 3; or email; or orders can be placed on our website too at  We’d love to hear from you!

3 Responses to “Get to Know CUNA: What is MRM?”

  1. This is an awesome post! I can personally say that the MRM team here in Madison is always willing to help, in any way they can. They are an extremely positive and patient group. Thanks goodness for MRM!

  2. Sherry

    The MRM staff are great! Whenever they direct a call to another area, they provide great detail, so we know where to pick up with a credit union member. (they also have some awesome treats for special occasions) ~


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