New digital member service makes it easier to contact PAM
Starting this spring, PAM members can contact the union through the new digital member service. Hannele Pohjanpalo-Sampio and Mari Torkko, who headed the project, don’t promise that the service will feature a “virtual official” helping members, but otherwise it will be significantly easier to stay in touch with the union.
“Using the new service will be easier and more secure than the old system,” says Hannele Pohjanpalo-Sampio, communications producer.
Members can use their online banking codes or mobile authentication to log into the new service. The old service, which is still in use, uses the membership number as a login. Members who lost the number have had to contact PAM personally, which has taken up resources in the current service channels.
The new service has been built on a platform that enables many more useful functions.
“For example, the new fee calculator will make paying membership fees easier. Payment is accepted through online bank transfer and Mobilepay,” explains Pohjanpalo-Sampio.
Digital services centralised on the new platform
The intention is that all digital communication between PAM and its members will be conducted through the new service.
“This will make our services faster and easier for everyone,” explains Mari Torkko, IT specialist.
“Overflowing email inboxes are a real problem these days. The new digital platform means that members don’t have to send us messages through their personal email. Instead, they’ll be able to view all messages they receive, follow as the messages they send are received and processed and reply to messages from PAM inside the service. This will keep relevant messages in a single chain, and the members will have their messages answered faster. Another factor making the process faster is that the official receiving the message will be able to identify the member contacting them immediately,” she continues.
The plan is to develop the service so that members will be able to track the status of their request when they have contacted the Union with an employment issue. Another goal is that PAM’s letters to members will be primarily read through the service, which will greatly reduce the amount of physical mail.
New functions will be adopted as soon as the necessary technical solutions are made and time can be allocated for the adoption process.
“We have suggested that members could submit requests for booking a time with an official and view the information of their shop steward. This requires a new data structure for the backup systems, but it’s one of our goals,” says Torkko.
Still waiting for a “virtual official”
Let’s jump forward a few decades. What will PAM’s member service channels look like in 2060, after 40 more years of technological development?
“Maybe in the future we will have a service where a member just has to think of contacting PAM and the connection will be made. Like a built-in service channel for everyone?” Pohjanpalo-Sampio enthuses.
“Yes! Maybe the service advisor will materialise on your desk as a hologram to talk through your issues,” Torkko continues.
“Virtual doctor’s visits are already available, so we’ve been thinking of a ‘virtual union official’ service. That could very well be in our future,” Pohjanpalo-Sampio muses.
Finland is a sparsely populated country with long distances. Torkko and Pohjanpalo-Sampio are imagining a future where members wouldn’t have to trudge for hours to get to the Union office. Instead of a phone call or email, they would be able to meet with Union officials face-to-face, but virtually.
“When you meet face-to-face, people tend to give each other more information, it’s easier to understand one another, and misunderstandings are rarer,” lists Torkko.
Working on the project has been especially rewarding for both Torkko and Pohjanpalo-Sampio.
“It’s really gratifying to get to solve problems and develop new ways of working,” they say. “We have a whole barrel of ideas and the development will continue until everyone is satisfied with the service.”