Credit unions and retail banks are facing uncertainty in how to respond to customers efficiently in a time of a global health pandemic. Given the current move to service customers through digital means whenever possible, one of the trends we think is worth revisiting is voice technology for credit unions.
While smart speaker adoption is growing at a rate slower than previously anticipated, the Credit Union Times makes a good case for why voice technology, along with other AI-powered tools, offer major benefits for credit unions and their customers. Those who have implemented voice capabilities help their members multi-task, enabling them to check balances, transfer money between accounts or ask to speak with a representative via a digital assistant or smart home audio device. Still others anticipate rolling out additional options such as bill pay or appointment scheduling by voice.
Meanwhile, previous research, including 2019 data from Accenture and others, implores credit unions and banks to include voice banking, AI assistants and technology that drives always-on banking as part of their technology roadmap. Here’s why.
Voice is an Easy Way for Credit Unions to Enable Always-On Banking
Like shopping on Amazon, or streaming Netflix at any hour, customers expect their financial institutions to be available anytime of the day.
“The bar is being raised to the point where being competitive will mean not only having the right products and services but being able to recognize the exact point in time when they are needed,” Accenture notes in its Banking Technology Vision 2019. The research finds that nearly nine in ten banking executives (87%) agree that an always-on capability is crucial to future competitive advantage.
Voice technology, in addition to being an integral part of an omnichannel strategy, makes it even easier for customers to connect when it’s convenient for them.
Online Search is Moving to Voice
To best connect with customers in the moment of need, credit unions need to be always-on and readily available in the channels their customers and potential customers are looking. Comscore predicts that half of all online searches will be made through voice by 2020, while Gartner predicts that by 2020 30% of online searches will be made on devices without a screen, including Alexa and Google Home.
Banking Customers Show Demand for Voice Interactions
While the breadth of voice-enabled transactions is in varying stages across the industry, customers are already getting comfortable with the technology. Nearly one-quarter of retail banking customers today prefer to use a voice assistant instead of visiting a physical location, according to Capgemini, which predicts this figure will jump to two out of five in three years.
As credit unions scale up the capabilities in voice, experts note that a successful strategy goes beyond simply implementing the new technology and needs to be part of a wider transformation to more personalized interactions that drive high-value member experiences. This includes seamlessly integrating into members’ everyday lives and being able to track and measure experiences that inform key decision making.