Article

Uplevel Member Service with Conversational AI and Machine Agents in Your Contact Center

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Andrew Casson Photo
Vice President
Content Guru

4 minutes

When member requests get more complicated, artificial intelligence shines.

Every credit union knows that artificial intelligence has long been used to detect fraudulent credit card transactions and score credit risk. A relatively new use is in customer experience—or member experience to credit unions.  

Within member experience is a new AI application—conversational machine agents. Sometimes referred to as conversational AI or intelligent chatbots, this article explains:

  • What conversational machine agents are and how they differ from chatbots
  • How they benefit credit union employees and members
  • Why it is crucial to use a cloud contact center with embedded conversational machine agents

Conversational Machine Agents and Chatbots Both Communicate Like a Human

A chatbot simulates human conversation. However, unlike conversational machine agents which are powered by AI, chatbot interactions operate by a rules-based computer program; thus, they follow a pre-determined interaction flow.

Much like an auto-attendant that directs members to press a number to learn opening hours, a chatbot is great for a high volume of straightforward requests. However, member requests usually stretch beyond the simple. And this is where conversational machine agents shine.

Conversational Machine Agents Can Resolve a Broad Range of Member Issues

The AI powering a conversational machine agent allows it to:

  • Comprehend intent from speech or written text
  • Discern language nuance and sentiment
  • Respond like a person does in actual conversation

Conversational machine agents are also omnichannel and allow humans to interact with any digital device like they do with other people.

To eliminate the need to follow pre-defined chatbot conversations, conversational AI takes advantage of various kinds of artificial intelligence including natural language processing and machine learning. Because of proprietary algorithms, the system gets trained.

As a conversational machine agent hears more questions, as well as more answers, it becomes better, smarter and more accurate over time. This is known as training.

Now free from chatbots’ constraints, a conversational machine agent delivers a more dynamic, free-flowing conversational member experience.

Further, as conversational machine agents get used, they eventually improve to where a member can’t tell the difference between service from a machine and service from a human.

Conversational machine agents can improve productivity, save money and make members happier. While boosting operational efficiency and driving down costs, conversational machine agents bring convenience. Since they enable credit unions to easily resolve many types of queries and issues, they reduce the need for interaction with employees and still give members fast answers.

Consider this: Say the average credit union contact center agent annually earns $40,000, or $3,300 monthly. Let’s also say you have eight contact center employees and need to expand.

A single conversational machine agent saves credit unions 20 hours of human time each month. Instead of another agent at $3,300 per month, you could add a conversational machine agent for $150 per month, enabling the eight employees to work more efficiently.

Benefits go beyond saving labor time and money. With conversational machine agents, your credit union can grow. In a personal way, you can engage with an unlimited number of members, as well as scale up with demand spikes.

In addition, credit unions can personalize interactions and create proactive ones—to create differentiated and modern member experiences.

Not All Conversational Machine Agents are the Same

Credit unions have options for deploying conversational machine agents in the cloud contact center. They are to:

  1. Integrate a standalone software as a service app or tool with your cloud contact center
  2. Build and train a conversational machine agent using an artificial intelligence provider and then integrate it into your customer experience infrastructure
  3. Use a cloud contact center that embeds AI for in-built conversational machine agent functionality.

The first approach means data silos and another vendor to manage. With the disadvantages of a standalone app, the second one requires specialized skill and a big budget.

This leaves the last approach, which is the best way to go.

Choose a cloud contact center that embeds AI for built-in conversational machine agent functionality. By using a cloud contact center with built-in conversational machine agents, credit unions get some crucial benefits. First, it comes pre-trained in financial service and credit union language. This allows credit unions to have instantly productive conversational machine agents without lengthy initial model training.

In addition, reporting is more accurate and actionable in real time. Unlike the data silos in separate SaaS apps, a cloud contact center with in-built conversational machine agents keeps all interaction data is kept in a centralized place.

This way, there is a true 360-degree view of a member’s activity. There’s also up-to-date reporting across all channels at the same time, which is key to nimble operations.

Save on integration and AI vendor fees with an embedded AI provider. Savings drop to the bottom line because there is no upfront integration work. Nor are there integrations to maintain.

Why? The cloud contact center handles it.

Finally, there is another important reason—access to preferred, high-volume AI provider rates.

Since the cloud contact center vendor embeds selected AI providers to run conversational machine agents, the cloud contact center gets special negotiated pricing. This low pricing is passed along to the credit union member.

Sum it all up, and a cloud contact center with embedded AI for in-built conversational machine agent functionality is a good choice for credit unions that want operation efficiency and a better member experience.

Andrew Casson is a longtime network engineer and telecommunications and contact center architect. He’s currently a VP for CUESolutions provider Content Guru, Campbell, California, maker of the highly-acclaimed storm®, an all-in-one contact center-as-a-service solution with industry-leading functionality, performance, reliability and flexibility. Learn how your credit union can grow happy members with conversational machine agents here.

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