Can You Build Trust with a Machine?

handshake human robot
By Arnold Tilden, Ed.D.

1 minute

The risk of relying on artificial intelligence

Sponsored by Tilden and Associates

There is an old saying—"All things being equal, people prefer to do business with people they know, like and trust. All things being unequal, people prefer to do business with people they know like and trust.”

Ask salespeople, and they will tell you the key consideration in business development is always trust. The central question in this blog is, can you build trust with a machine?

Two trends of the pandemic years have changed the relationship between credit unions and their members. The first is the pandemic complicating in-person visits to their credit unions.

The second trend is artificial intelligence being used more often to interface between credit unions and their members. Initially, the use of AI was a part of ongoing “innovation.” Then, AI evolved into a rescue tool to maintain service levels with members in the face of pandemic lockdowns and staff reductions.

With a new normal emerging, credit unions face real risks in rebuilding trusting business relationships with existing members.

Three strategic questions related to this will confront credit union leaders in the days ahead. They are:

  1. Who are the members who want and need interpersonal interactions?
  2. How do we build trust when AI is unable to handle complex situations?
  3. What training initiatives are required for existing and new member-facing staff to ensure that trust is reinforced and strengthened?

The simple answer to the question of can you build trust with a machine is: You cannot.

The reality is humans are highly social creatures, and anything that interrupts building interpersonal relationships and the trust they foster can have a negative impact on the credit union. Some people will always feel that artificial intelligence is, well, artificial. Even chatbots will forever be perceived by some as annoying machines pretending to be human.

Pity the CU that that is enamored by AI as a shiny solution and relies on it as an exclusive way to build member relationships. To succeed, indeed flourish, CU leaders need to thoughtfully address the three questions posed above.

Arnold Tilden, Ed.D., is the founder of CUES Supplier member Tilden & Associates.

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