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YMCA Retirement Fund

The YMCA Retirement Fund was able to partner with Salesforce to digitally transform and helped the organization focus on their mission
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YMCA Retirement Fund: Positioned for Growth with Holistic Participant Views

The YMCA Retirement Fund is among the top 250 pension plans in the US, serving nearly 120,000 current and former staff members of YMCAs across the United States and managing over $7 billion in holdings. They provide financial services and education to individual plan participants, no matter what stage of employment or retirement they may be in.

Bullish Growth with Bear-like Tools

With 300%+ growth since the 1990’s, the organization has a lot of moving parts — from managing individual accounts and a contact center to keeping track of the hundreds of daily interactions with each plan participant. “As the size of our participant base increased, interacting with customers utilizing a rudimentary in-house CRM became less than optimal,” says Elliott Buchholz, Chief Information Officer. When responding to customer calls and emails, customer service representatives had to toggle between multiple screens to both access participant data and record the contact event, slowing the contact center’s ability to respond to requests efficiently.

A technology veteran with decades of experience, Elliott Buchholz knew the organization needed a change. Buchholz envisioned a system that would provide a full view of each plan participant, including personal information, employment data, periods of service, account balances, pension data and history of all touch points with the YMCA Retirement Fund.

A Secure Future with the Cloud and Salesforce

“We weren’t doing anything in the cloud, and hadn’t intended to do anything in the cloud. We felt that we were in a better position to keep our customer data safe, and I was pretty biased towards a competitor product that would be installed and run locally, never doubting that this would be our choice of solution. Salesforce was only included in the selection process at the request of our Customer Service leadership team to provide an alternative to compare features with. However, with Salesforce, we found that we were able to envision exactly how it would make the Retirement Fund more efficient from day one,” says Buchholz. Further research provided him with peace of mind on the security of the Salesforce multi-tenant architecture. “I spoke with larger financial organizations that were using Salesforce, and was able to assuage my concerns about data security. I can honestly say that I have never been happier to be more wrong about my predilection towards a product selection.”

Designed to Service Those That Serve

The YMCA Retirement Fund began with implementation of the Salesforce Service Cloud for its contact center. As a seasoned technology leader, Buchholz had been through several implementations and was expecting more of a heavy lift. “In my experience throughout my career of implementing IT systems, this has been one of the easiest with the shortest learning curve of anything we have put in place,” says Buchholz. Upon rollout of the Service Cloud, the contact center was able to quickly and easily navigate a plan participant’s record and history to deliver personalized service and responses to each participant. Customer Service Representatives could see all inquiries and cases related to a participant before they engaged, resulting in increased efficiency. “Within the contact record, they have everything they need to service the caller: identifying information to confirm their identity, what phase of participation they are in, what accounts they have, why they’ve contacted us in the past. And, the contact record is connected to the case record, where they document all aspects of the particular touch point,” says Buchholz. “Now we have everything we need in one place.” The YMCA Retirement Fund actively tracks service level of its customer touch points. Implementing Salesforce ultimately played a significant role in improving the overall service level provided to participants, leading to them being named a Top Contact Center by Benchmark Portal, a leader in customer service call center benchmarking, for the past three years.

Promising Returns through Participant Engagement with Pardot

Alongside Salesforce and the Service Cloud, the YMCA Retirement Fund replaced their legacy mass-email service with Pardot, providing the Marketing team with full marketing automation capabilities. While the YMCA Retirement Fund does not engage in traditional marketing, they have seen returns with participants becoming better educated about the benefit provided to them by leveraging segmentation, targeted campaigns and customized content. “We send an email series to plan participants that will automatically follow-up if the recipient doesn’t take action in a certain period of time.” says Buchholz. The YMCA Retirement Fund has also been able to implement engagement plans, providing automated communication paths to those participants that meet specified criteria. Says Buchholz, “We find it incredibly easy to use and maintain. Our Marketing Team is thrilled with Pardot’s capabilities and ability to effectively segment marketing campaigns.”

Up and to the Right with Salesforce

Looking ahead, the YMCA Retirement Fund is actively growing their use of Salesforce. They have selected and implemented third party applications that integrate Human Resources Information Systems, document imaging and electronic approvals, and even event planning. “As part of our education activities,” Buchholz noted, “we have a team that travels the country providing seminars, conferences and one-on-one meetings. The third-part tool handles the scheduling and reservations, ultimately tying this data directly into the contact record so that customer service representatives have up-to-date knowledge of any sessions a participant has attended.”

In addition, the YMCA Retirement Fund is looking to the future to provide plan participants with the next-level of service through the consideration of implementing Einstein and chatbots.

The overall experience with Salesforce has been transformative, and helped the organization focus on their mission of serving their plan participants. “Ultimately, we run a customer service organization.

We’re there to service our people, not learn new systems. With Salesforce,” says Buchholz, “it’s been easy to accomplish getting onboard, going live and not needing a manual.”