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You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around. – Steve Jobs

There has been an explosion of artificial intelligence applications in financial services as digital transformation continues to change the way members interact with your credit union. This industry-wide innovation is driven by the need to transform outdated transaction technologies, process old and new data, and provide multi-channel touchpoints with members. And while AI has many useful applications to help address these pain points, automation alone is not a fix-all solution.

AI will help to offer personalized and empathetic customer service

According to Accenture, members want trustworthiness, high-quality customer service, and a skilled workforce aware of their needs—the top three customer satisfaction drivers in banking.

While chatbots and AI assistants are all hyped applications, these purely robotic interactions lack the emotional depth required to meet members’ needs as they navigate financial situations that can be complex and emotionally charged. The organizations that reap the rewards of digital transformation successfully do so by using a combination of their employees and AI. By utilizing AI technology to augment employees’ skills, credit unions can create a cohesive environment where humans and machines collaborate to deliver the best results. For example, AI software can provide phone professionals live in-call guidance to help better recognize and respond to a customer’s emotional cues, making them more empathetic while also enhancing their performance and the customer’s satisfaction.

The crux of the matter is simple: there is no substitute for a human interaction. In fact, despite the rise of self-service options, nearly three quarters of members will choose a human over a digital capability when seeking advice or looking to resolve a service issue or complaint, and that percentage is even higher when it relates to sophisticated inquiries. Digital assistants don’t personalize conversations, build trust, demonstrate empathy or deepen emotional connections. And if your members can’t tell what makes your service special, there will be little holding them back from switching providers. This means your professionals are at the heart of your brand’s member-relationship and play a critical role in boosting member satisfaction and long-term brand loyalty.

The importance of being empathetic

Why is empathy so important to your member service practice and your brand? Empathy serves to create an emotional connection between two individuals, and when two people are connected, trust is developed and there is a desire to deepen a relationship. This is especially important in financial services considering 97% of customers believe it is important that a service professional demonstrates a genuine interest in solving their problem and 80% are frustrated when their mood is not acknowledged.

The need for empathy is amplified when you consider the emotional implications of the financial issues members are calling to discuss. Empathy improves the service that credit unions offer, and understanding how to provide exceptional customer service is vital for all credit unions that wish to distinguish themselves from their competitors and achieve long-term business success.

Fighting fraud

Like the consumers they target, fraudsters are becoming more digitally-savvy – and this dynamic is creating new security challenges for financial institutions everywhere.

Fraudsters are now employing sophisticated methods and maching learning technology to commit global fraud at a scale of $43.8 billion this year alone. At the same time, fraud mitigation is costing financial institutions almost $3 for every $1 earned in revenue.

To reverse this alarming trend, credit unions need to fight fire with fire – deploying advanced technology to detect new, ever-evolving fraud patterns and trends.

To empower credit unions in the fight against fraud, COOPER Fraud Analyzer, an advanced data-driven fraud mitigation tool, has launched into pilot testing with four participating credit unions.

COOPER Fraud Analyzer uses advanced rules and decisioning to evaluate transactions based on type, amount, speed and other attributes, and then instantly detect anomalies, such as new account fraud, in-branch teller fraud, and fraudulent check deposits. By quickly identifying questionable activity and reporting it to credit unions, COOPER Fraud Analyzer helps protect account holders and build member trust in their credit union.

Delivering the future of financial services

The impact of frontline emotional intelligence on the bottom line is clear. According to a study done by McKinsey, respondents reported that after a positive experience, more than 85 percent increased their value to the credit union by purchasing more products or investing more of their assets; just as tellingly, more than 70 percent reduced their commitment when things turned sour.

Digital innovation within the financial service industry is inevitable, credit unions must focus on digitally enabling their workforce, not just automating self-service. AI’s place in the enterprise is increasingly significant and useful, but it will never be capable of replacing the value of the human touch. The credit unions that empower their employees to build lasting trusted relationships with their members will be the market leaders for decades to come.

Contact us to learn more about COOPER Fraud Analyzer, our other fraud mitigation solutions and other AI solutions, or visit www.co-opfs.org/cooper.