news.cuna.org/articles/123197-5-ways-credit-unions-can-elevate-their-contact-centers
2023-10-Rini-Fredette

5 ways credit unions can elevate their contact centers

Take advantage of tech to enhance contact center experiences.

October 23, 2023

In today’s fast-paced world, consumers expect swift, seamless solutions – and patience is in shorter supply in those waiting for answers. The good news is credit unions can leverage innovation to enhance contact center efficiency and member experiences.

Here are five game-changers in the field of contact centers:

  1. Speech analytics—Although not new, speech analytics technology is continually improving to provide a clearer picture of contact center operations. By empowering credit unions to assess the quality of every call more comprehensively, credit unions can identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement, which can contribute to better member experiences. For example, speech analytics can uncover insights into call drivers, allowing credit unions to better understand what motivates members’ calls. These insights can go beyond the surface to provide invaluable data on service patterns and member needs.
  2. Intelligent IVR systems—Interactive voice response (IVR) systems are central to modern contact centers, as robust routing capabilities are required to accurately and promptly direct members to the right contact. Take self-service to a new level with conversational IVR, which, when enabled and powered by artificial intelligence (AI), can function as a "virtual agent," naturally assisting members with questions.
  3. Chat technology—As more consumers seek digital and self-service options, chat technology has emerged as a valuable tool for credit unions, particularly when faced with understaffed branches and contact centers. Chat boosts efficiency by enabling agents to assist multiple members simultaneously. Offering a chat option also allows credit unions to provide communication choices for members. Chat is a channel that might appeal more to certain members — like those in the Gen Z and millennial cohorts, many of whom would prefer to engage with a credit union via chat rather than a phone call. Chat technology is here to stay as credit unions increasingly invest in AI-powered chat and chatbots.
  4. Formalized agent training—Contact center agents play a crucial role in member interactions. As IVR and self-service handle more routine queries, agents are increasingly responsible for resolving complex issues and technology troubles. In this changing landscape, establishing formal training programs is essential to maintain consistency and provide support for agents. Prioritizing tools and training can improve the agent experience, in turn positively impacting member experiences. Practical, tech-enabled training and simulations can be especially effective in helping to reduce agent turnover and improve service quality.
  5. Contact center partnerships—Integrating advanced technologies can be a necessary challenge for meeting members' evolving expectations. For some credit unions, collaborating with the right partner for contact center services and support can help them remain on the leading edge of innovation.

When assessing potential partners, credit unions should consider the following factors:

  • Scalability:Evaluate potential partners based on geographic coverage and capacity to accommodate call surges during business interruptions like extreme weather. Maintaining 24/7, 365 service availability requires elasticity at scale.
  • Fraud prevention:Examine providers’ fraud identification capabilities, including the integration of innovations, such as AI and machine learning, for identifying patterns proactively and staying ahead of evolving fraud tactics.
  • Innovation:Consider providers’ ongoing investment plans, ensuring they are committed to innovation and providing cutting-edge tools and technology.

By embracing tech-enabled innovations and collaborating with a trustworthy partner, credit unions can provide exceptional and efficient member experiences while safeguarding the integrity of contact center operations.

Rini Fredette has served as senior vice president of contact center services and solutions at PSCU since February 2017. She provides the overall leadership, vision, and direction for the company’s contact center operations and strategy. Leveraging innovative technology, industry data, and feedback from PSCU’s annual client survey, Fredette has led a dramatic transformation of the company’s contact center.