How IVAs Help Credit Unions Meet Customer Service Demands


In recent years, customer service demands for immediacy and personalization have shifted, raising the bar for customer satisfaction standards across industries. Bank and credit union officials are working to meet these needs by turning to AI-powered virtual assistants to evolve customer service in the financial services industry.

The pandemic has reshaped how organizations approach technology adoption to improve customer service. A McKinsey study shows that the heightened digital adoptions during the first eight weeks of the pandemic caused companies to rapidly implement new strategies to keep pace with customer demands. These evolving customer demands are present in the financial sector; however, institutions have been hesitant to adopt because of regulatory factors and the lack of trust in new technologies.

Businesses’ adoption of AI continues to rise, proving the technology’s effectiveness. AI-powered virtual assistants for finance applications help these organizations deliver more personalized and efficient customer banking interactions. This could include tailored payment reminders or customized messages based on the customer’s history with the bank. These customized service features help credit unions improve experiences and build trust with their members.

Intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) are a type of AI-powered tool that delivers personalization, which boosts customer experience and satisfaction without jeopardizing security.

What is an IVA?

As briefly defined above, IVAs are software programs powered by AI, voice-recognition technology, and machine learning (ML) that help businesses engage with customers. IVAs for credit unions can manage a wide range of industry-related questions and transactions, enabling banking officials to personalize and improve service. Below are a few ways these tools improve customer service so financial organizations can meet member demands.

 4 Ways IVAs Improve Customer Service for Credit Unions

  1. Enhanced quality of experiences

Some 66% of customers expect businesses to understand their needs. This expectation speaks to a desire for personalized banking experiences that we touched on above. However, utilizing IVAs also help mitigate typical customer service stressors, including long wait times, constant transfers and other inconveniences.

With an IVA in place, credit union members get their calls answered right away, rather than waiting on hold for a human agent to become available. If further support is required, well-designed IVAs can ask a series of questions that help the technology better understand the caller’s needs, reducing the need for constant transfers. The technology can also transfer members to a human representative if needed, providing the agent with context so the customer doesn’t have to repeat details.

IVAs tied into a company’s document management systems (DMS) and appointment scheduling tools can greet a returning customer, pull up account information, and schedule appointments with minimal effort. This creates a level of familiarity where customers and members feel as though they are valued and not forgotten by their banks. Combining these features streamlines interactions and improves customer service experience, which translates to better quality of service.

  1. Strengthened communication and relationships

Another feature of intelligent assistants that boosts the quality of service is the ability of IVAs to understand the nuances of human communication. Through the use of machine learning and natural language processing, IVAs continue to “learn” with every interaction. IVAs understand what callers are saying and the emotion in their tone when speaking.

The technology can decipher between a happy or frustrated caller, which allows the IVA to take a unique approach when asking questions and providing care. Understanding a customer’s emotion when calling can help identify the issue that needs to be solved and how best to approach it. This level of sophistication allows credit unions to have more empathetic communications with their members. With something as personal and impactful as one’s finances, these levels of personalization can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction and trust, which helps banks build lifelong relationships with their members.

3. Fast resolution with self-service capabilities

As introduced above, IVAs help credit unions manage the call traffic and handle tasks such as checking the balance on their accounts, confirming payment status and issuing transfers. The ability for members to quickly get the answers they need without speaking with a human agent offers a new standard of self-service and efficiency. Further, unlike humans, IVAs don’t need sleep, so it is easy for financial service institutions to resolve commonly asked questions through tools like chatbots, FAQ pages or interactive voice response solutions.

With any or all of these self-service capabilities in place, members have the power to contact customer service representatives anytime, anywhere, allowing credit unions to provide fast and efficient service. Speedy resolution paired with the option for self-service improves satisfaction by meeting members’ needs for immediacy.

The effectiveness of IVAs goes beyond customer satisfaction – they can also save companies money. When IVAs manage simple tasks such as scheduling appointments and making transfers, they increase productivity by offering banks more service capacity to grow teams and improve human agent workloads.

  1. Increased trust, loyalty and retention

Alongside demands that have shifted due to pandemic-related disruptions, customers’ trust in banks has decreased over the past two years. According to research, personalizing banking experiences can remedy these challenges by building trust and loyalty.

Banks and other financial service firms have significant customer data available to aid in maintaining customer trust and creating recurring positive customer experiences. IVAs can use the available data to help understand and act on a specific banking customer’s preference. Tailoring experiences builds trust and rapport with members because they feel prioritized and not just like another number.

These tools arm financial institutions with the ability to foster proactive engagement and meaningful personalization that their members crave. This personalization then spans to increased customer loyalty and retention between credit unions and their communities.

Today, financial institutions recognize the importance that modern technology plays in advancing customer satisfaction. Credit unions can utilize IVAs to help build resiliency, future-proof their businesses, and maintain quality service and experience for their members. Turning to IVAs for banking will help credit unions prioritize the member experience in today’s changing climate and utilize all tools at their disposal to increase satisfaction.

About Patty Watson
Patty Watson is president of cloud collaboration at Intrado. She joined Intrado in January 2020 from TSYS, a global payments company, where she served as chief information officer. In that role, Patty was responsible for driving the vision and strategy for the company’s tech transformation, creating an open ecosystem that powers the next generation of digital innovation in the payment industry. She brings 22 years of experience in the financial services industry and 10 years of service in the U.S. Air Force (achieving the rank of captain), having held a broad range of executive leadership and board positions in technology-based enterprises.

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