Credit unions today have to do more than offer great products and services to win the hearts, minds, and business of today’s most demanding consumers.
They also have to integrate all they offer into a seamless experience that provides it all right here and right now, regardless of geography, time, and device.
Here, Alfredo Rizzo, vice president/CX Architects for Avtex, explains more about those service imperatives and how the right technology can deliver them from credit unions across the size spectrum.
Rizzo has been in his current role for the past four years. He says his team is responsible for consulting on and designing solutions that improve member experience in areas that include contact centers, conversational AI, knowledge management, analytics, and “everything involving how members interact with credit unions.”
Rizzo has been with Avtex for 18 years and his company has been working with credit unions for two decades, with a client list that includes approximately 215 cooperatives ranging from $100 million to $25 billion in assets.
“Member service has shifted from a company-defined experience to a member-defined experience. We’re being compared to the best experience they’ve had and not just with financial institutions.”
What are the three major technology trends that credit unions need to keep up with the experiential demands of their members?
Alfredo Rizzo: If I had to pick three trends, the first would be the move to the cloud for all components of member experience. Innovation is happening in the cloud; it’s no longer happening on premise-based legacy systems, and it’s important to have access to innovation so we can be at the forefront of member experience trends.
The second is conversational AI. When done well, that is an intuitive way for members to self-serve through a bot that can carry on a banking “conversation.” Bots can be both digital — offered on web and mobile — and voice. Optimally, the same functionality is available on both, with that added benefit of the right graphical/visual elements on digital bots.
Lastly, biometrics and related voice fraud prevention technologies are changing the way that we authenticate members, removing the knowledge-based authentication of the past 30 years and moving to a new experience that is both effortless and more secure. Biometrics has become ubiquitous in mobile banking platforms; it now needs to make its way into other member experience venues like the contact center, online banking, and the branch.
What role does effective use of the cloud play in improving member service? What challenges does it help credit unions address?
AR: The cloud is absolutely critical in delivering a modern member experience. If we focus on contact centers, for example, Gartner stopped covering premise contact center technology around three years ago — it only covers CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) now.
In a true cloud platform, innovation happens continuously, with new features delivered weekly, without the need for maintaining hardware and software, telco circuits, performing costly upgrades, or having to provide ongoing support. Additionally, cloud-native technologies provide the easiest access for the credit unions’ employees, many of whom have shifted to a work-from-home or hybrid model.
How can innovative use of data analytics and automation improve a credit union’s service delivery? What challenges does it help credit unions address?
AR: Data analytics is essential in understanding member journeys, including gaps in those journeys. For example, in a conversational AI solution, data analytics can provide insights into member self-service top-use cases as well as point out gaps in what members are looking for but not finding in the bot — and perhaps transferring into the contact center — which allows the bot to be improved.
Meanwhile, automation — specifically robotic desktop automation (RDA) and robotic process automation (RPA) — accelerates processes while removing and reducing errors, leading to both a better employee and member experience.
For example, member service reps often have to deal with multiple non-connected applications for a single member service request (like loan origination). In that scenario, RDA offers a way to take a 90-second process of copying/pasting information and clicking buttons in different apps to a 20-second process that is error-free.
How do digital experiences that leverage consumer-centric apps contribute to member experience success? What challenges does it help credit unions address?
AR: Members want credit unions to be where they are. As an example, I was just in Brazil and interacted with several of my father’s financial institutions over WhatsApp (which is by far the most used consumer-centric app in Brazil).
This is an encrypted, secure channel that can be routed into the contact center just like web chats, text messages, and calls. It’s easily searchable, so a consumer can find any business that has a presence on WhatsApp. As millennials and Gen Z members take on a larger share of membership, it will be important to offer both great self-service (think bots) and live assistance on members’ channels of choice — be that Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, or whatever comes next.
Member service has shifted from a company-defined experience to a member-defined experience. We’re being compared to the best experience they’ve had and not just with financial institutions.
Please describe the SmartApps solution from Avtex and how this innovative technology can address the opportunities to improve member service.
AR: SmartApps were built to solve credit union member experience needs and problems. SmartApps are a suite of applications that range from self-service to fraud prevention and analytics to MSR productivity.
Avtex also has leveraged cloud AI technologies to create Smart Bot, a voice and digital bot that leverages our existing core connectors to provide both knowledge and transactional support to members on multiple channels. And because Smart Bot is tightly integrated with the cloud contact center platform, we believe it will help credit unions deflect the ever-increasing volume of member interactions at a significantly lower cost than conversational AI solutions that are currently in the market.
Please describe the Avtex contact center solutions and how they help credit unions turn challenges into opportunities.
AR: Avtex is the largest global partner for Genesys, who in turn is the highest-ranked contact center solution in the Gartner CCaaS Magic Quadrant. We believe the Genesys platform offers the most modern and complete canvas on which we can build a modern omnichannel member experience. Avtex then brings two decades of experience building credit union contact centers ranging from 10 to more than 1,000 MSRs, using a multitude of core systems, online banking systems, telco providers, and other key technology components.
We are now helping our credit union clients make the move to the cloud, building on the MX successes we’ve achieved together and delivering new MX solutions that members want, such as conversational AI and biometrics.
What is the competitive differentiator between Avtex solutions and your competitors?
AR: Our mission at Avtex is to fuel exceptional member/customer experiences. At our core, we are an experience company, and we use the best technology platforms and experts to build that optimal experience for our clients and their members.
We provide a full suite of services that includes MX consulting, maturity assessments and planning, digital transformation consulting, digital experience solutions, modern omnichannel contact centers, and SmartApps built specifically to optimize credit unions’ self-service and contact centers.
It’s that intersection of our passion for fueling exceptional experiences and our focus on credit unions that differentiates us from our competitors.
How can credit unions find out more about Avtex?
AR: Visit our website to learn more about who we are and what we do. There, you can also contact Avtex to chat about your needs and learn about our member experience strategies and solutions: www.avtex.com/contact. Or call 1-800-323-3639.