By Ravi Sundararajan, COO, Gupshup
The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of U.S. financial institutions by several years. Traditional financial institutions, particularly leading U.S. credit unions, are crafting technology-first, customer-centric innovation strategies to future-proof their businesses. In the experience economy, these institutions understand the need to deliver a consistently superior experience to their customers across touchpoints.
Consumers have welcomed this digital thrust by banks and credit unions. Gen Z and millennials look for instant gratification – they want an ‘Insta-banking’ experience – anywhere, across any channel. They expect financial service providers to be present in all aspects of their financial journey, understand their requirements precisely, and offer a seamless experience.
In response, credit unions that typically differentiate themselves by offering better local and custom community engagement services are trying to connect with customers intuitively and intelligently – via personalized, interactive, and always-on engagement. But, doing this at scale – with millions of consumers in real time – is a challenge; this is where conversational engagement technologies, such as AI-enabled chatbots, come into the picture.
AI-enabled chatbots can create a human-like, authentic conversational experience for customers while engaging them at the same time. The key is to develop device-agnostic experiences for a truly omnichannel world. Most customers prefer to engage via unstructured micro-conversations for their financial needs. Using intelligent chatbots, several credit unions are crafting richer, far more engaging conversational experiences for their customers. By enabling intuitive two-way interactions with customers in real time on their preferred channels, credit unions can bridge the gap between their need for convenience and personalized service while offering an uncomplicated and trustful relationship.
Making conversational engagement solutions the first line of defense is good business sense. With conversational AI-powered automation, credit unions can free up critical resources for more strategic, higher-value tasks and improve overall productivity. For example, diverting traffic from call centers, email agents, and live chat support to conversational AI-powered chatbots/voice bots can help credit unions save costs while continuing to serve customers efficiently.
Here are three ways that credit unions can transform their businesses and consistently dial up customer delight:
Making banking smarter and more personal
Industry experts believe 40% of questions managed by a bank call center are routine queries. Credit unions can solve customer queries faster and more efficiently through conversational AI-powered chatbots, including voice bots. Frequently asked questions can be automatically collated (and regularly updated) and made available to customers instantly, along with smart recommendations. Complex or nuanced customer requests can be deflected to customer service representatives within seconds – from within the same chat session – for a seamless experience.
Moreover, a conversational AI solution can serve as a personal banking assistant for customers. Through conversational banking, credit unions can track and monitor user activity on their platforms and provide smart, actionable financial advice and insights for informed decisions.
Boosting customer loyalty and increasing customer conversions
Conversational AI solutions can help traditional banks and financial institutions get accurate customer feedback by keeping the loop consistent and real-time. According to a study by Uberall, 80% of Americans who have engaged and interacted with chatbots report a positive customer experience. Chatbots demonstrate the potential to enhance user experience and customer loyalty. This results in increased sales conversion rates and lower operational costs.
Keeping up with new-age FinTech firms
CUInsight predicts that by 2029 a technology firm could be the world’s largest bank. A Bain & Company report suggests that 73% of Americans would consider banking with a tech firm. The trend is clear. Credit unions need to empower customers to discover products and services independently and to complete their purchase journeys from within their favorite channels via chat.
For instance, customers can begin their interaction with the credit union on their website and then transition easily to a WhatsApp or Facebook chatbot with the help of conversational AI. By leveraging an omnichannel chatbot, credit unions can reach their customers where they are and achieve higher customer conversion rates and greater sales productivity.
Why the future of banking is conversational
A survey by Accenture found that 79% of bankers believe that AI will soon be working alongside humans as a co-worker, collaborator, and trusted advisor. Conversational AI is becoming a growth catalyst. Many credit unions are already taking advantage of chatbots to streamline operations, automate customer support, and provide a more convenient customer experience. As these organizations increase revenue and reduce operational costs with the help of chatbots, we expect many more credit unions to jump onto the conversational banking wave and remain competitive.
Ultimately, banks and credit unions that leverage conversational AI solutions drive superior customer engagement and can resolve customer queries faster. They can introduce services quickly across multiple channels, boost support team efficiencies, and optimize costs – contributing to faster, sustainable growth and profitability – without taking their eyes off the customer experience goal.
Ravi Sundararajan is COO of Gupshup, the leading conversational engagement platform, powering over 9 billion messages monthly. Tens of thousands of large and small businesses across industry verticals use Gupshup to build conversational experiences across marketing, sales and support.