Welcoming Credit Unions and Banks to the Digital Age with Conversational AI

By Bill Schwaab, VP of North America, Boost.ai

Credit unions and banks have ramped up their digital product offerings in recent years, partially due to Covid-19 and partially due to consumers seeking more convenient methods of engagement with financial institutions. Now, instead of having to stand in line at the bank, customers can sign up for credit cards and mortgages with applications on their phones. While this has tremendously increased the level of convenience for many transaction types, those same customers may encounter difficulty, and a familiar, sinking feeling, when encountering a glitch related to their digital financial profiles.

The fact is, member serving institutions offering the ability to complete simple and complex transactions of all shapes and sizes must also offer digital solutions that provide the same support experience customers are accustomed to receiving at their local branch.  The ideal, and readily available, solution to this gap in service comes in the form of next-generation virtual agents. These chatbots, powered by AI platforms that are truly conversational, bring credit unions and banks into the digital age of customer support faster and more effectively than any other tool currently on the market.

Even before the pandemic, consumers sought products that provided digital-first avenues of engagement, spurring a digital transformation that hasn’t slowed across member serving organizations in all verticals. Covid continues to have an impact on operations in member-serving financial institutions, with banks and credit unions encountering a higher volume and wider breadth of interactions than ever before, and many consumers finding completing transactions online to simply be the easier option.

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When applied in the banking and credit union space, conversational AI (CAI) can handle customer interactions in the same manner as a live support agent. Queries and account management completed through interaction with a virtual agent should be just as easy for members, if not moreso, than the traditional phone call or face-to-face conversation. CAI can also support the needs of internal employees, and is at the point in its development where partnerships with the right organizations produce highly capable chatbots that deliver aid wherever necessary.

In thinking about the next wave of changes in the customer support experience, credit unions and banks need to focus on the digital edge. For example, if a credit union hopes to implement a chatbot to assist their support staff, they must ensure that it is truly conversational. Programs that aren’t able to answer inquiries that come from a scope of topics, or answer those queries with information deeper than a surface-level response aren’t actually aiding the customer experience at all.

Chatbots can be deployed in as niche or as broad a service situation banks or credit unions require. While they best aid the end-to-end customer experience, in both employee-employee or employee-member contexts, CAI programs learn and identify the points along those respective journeys where users are in need of the most help. Reaching this next generation of customer or employee experience helps cut costs, improves the overall experience for all members, and allows for a higher quality of service.

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Virtual agents driven by AI, like those offered by boost.ai,  are able to integrate with various platforms already being operated by financial institutions. As these institutions continue to develop their digital customer experience, all should consider implementing some form of Conversational AI. These virtual agents are primed to be a scalable and quickly deployable way to improve support services on a quick and long-term basis.

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