As the digital space rapidly evolves, can credit unions access technology providers to fortify the journey forward?
In the premiere episode of the Digital Banking podcast, host and Tyfone’s VP of Sales and Marketing Josh DeTar welcomes Mitch Rosenbaum and Lisa Mixon from the Credit Union of Colorado.
As the credit union’s Director of Project Management, Lisa has enjoyed learning everything about the industry over the last 10 years, especially the parts where she gets to connect with people and hear about their sides of the business.
While her role is to assure everyone’s voice is heard and communication is clear across teams, Mitch, on the other hand, helps the credit union create messaging — and ensures they deliver on it.
Though new to the credit union business, Mitch’s background in engineering psychology and marketing is useful as the Credit Union of Colorado aims to meet the developments of technology to create smoother digital banking experiences through artificial intelligence (AI).
In this discussion about credit unions in the digital space, Lisa and Mitch provide insight into their process of pivoting their online experience, which Mitch says is partly, “measurement and understanding what our members are doing on those systems and where their pain points are.”
Plus, they explain what it’s like to maintain company culture remotely (and during a pandemic), the middleware that will allow them to implement new technologies, the four phases of sophistication of AI and much more.
⚡In a post-pandemic world, credit unions have the chance to highlight how they differ from impersonal big banks — but because valuing members has long been a staple of credit unions, Lisa says it’s exciting to “see that we were prepared and we didn’t have to change. We didn’t have to pivot, we didn’t have to shift; we could just accelerate.”
⚡AI extends far beyond chatbots, but it certainly is a developing market. The four phases of AI’s sophistication includes knowledge bases and providing insight, but are there providers that can enable credit unions to adopt every layer of these technologies? Not yet — that’s where middleware comes in.
⚡To determine the value of technologically-advanced solutions, credit unions prioritize an improved customer experience rather than a return on investment. Instead, Mitch says they invest in measuring member interest and whether new ideas are financially viable for members.
Why their credit union keeps shining — before and after COVID-19
“The whole reason we’re able to continue to grow is because of our driven focus on doing what’s right for the member. We echo that through our culture and through our staff [by] making sure the staff we have are equipped and empowered to serve the member. Just realizing that that’s our whole purpose, I believe, has given us opportunities to grow and expand over the years.”
The development of AI and chatbots in digital banking
“We’re seeing a lot more of our members reach out to us via other channels other than the branch. Since that has been such a great experience for our members, [I expect] they will stay there and continue to reach out to us through those channels. So, part of what we need to do is determine how we can scale better to provide that level of service to a larger group of memberships. A big piece of that is looking at things like chatbots and artificial intelligence to help direct people to their own answers and making things more self-service.”
Middleware to the rescue! Otherwise, implementing AI is a challenge
“In order to deliver the true value, you really have to connect to the data. And to connect to the data, at this point, you have to connect to our core, which isn’t necessarily the easiest. We are working to try to mitigate that with our middleware. We don’t have middleware yet — we’re working on implementing it — but [we’re] trying to look at [if we can] have the technology that sits in the middle to where we can plug and play a little bit more, and hopefully, that would help. But at the end of the day, we have a desire to have the same level of service, whether you’re going to the IVR or you’re going to the chatbot or you’re coming to us in person.”
Adopting a ticketing system to address member pain points
“We’ve implemented Zendesk, in collaboration with Tyfone, and it has been phenomenally successful. Just yesterday, we were looking at our loan payment tool, and we were able to look back through a history of tickets and report on those tickets to find how many members are having this same type of issue. We were able to quantify where that pain point was, and in this case, it was specific to a certain version of Safari — we would have spent weeks chasing that down if we didn’t have a ticketing system in place that was recording all of that information. It gives us the data to solve our problems on a much more organic level. It’s not that structured data that you get from your core; it’s member experience data.”
Opportunities for credit unions in the digital space
“I do think we will see a more consultative approach, and the people involved in credit unions will become less transactional. As digital banking systems get better, chatbots get better and people’s phones get better at automating their own lives, it’s going to free us up — where the value is going to be is that consultative conversation with our members, so we need to be able to train and provide the right information to our staff so they can have valuable conversations.”
Maintaining company culture remotely
“Some of the technologies we had in place pre-COVID have helped with teams … For the staff, each leader is taking it upon themselves to have their daily stand-ups or a weekly huddle, depending on what it is, and the branches [are] able to be a little bit more in person. We have an all-employee call we were doing at the beginning once a week [to] cascade information or just keep staff in the loop of what was happening … I think the biggest thing we’ve done is just to make sure we’re aware that we don’t want to lose our culture, so we’re intentional.”