At CU 2.0, we look at a lot of different fintechs. It’s our “thing,” so to speak. Often, this means that we’re looking at organizations that aren’t household names—startups, bespoke solutions, newer CUSOs, and companies that are testing the credit union waters.
It’s rare that we take a deeper dive into larger technology companies. Information about them is already readily available, their value propositions are well documented, and, ultimately, most of them don’t care
about credit unions.
To most multinational technology providers, credit unions are an afterthought to the broader “financial services” industry. And to be clear, working with highly regulated not-for-profits doesn’t have quite the upside as working with less demanding, higher profit banks.
Yet, here we are, writing about Nuance
—or Nuance Communications, Inc.
—now a Microsoft company. Let’s dig in.
What Kind of Company Is Nuance (to Credit Unions)?
Depending on the industry and who’s speaking, Nuance could be described in any number of ways. At their core, they’re a multinational communications company that specializes in speech recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) software.
For credit unions, one might describe them differently. They provide “a robust, omnichannel experience that increases self-service and conversions, reduces cost, and protects brands.” That’s still quite a mouthful, so we’ll unpack it a bit.
The omnichannel part of Nuance is something we love. In addition to virtual assistants and live agent tools, they also offer SMS (text) to the contact center to allow members to engage and escalate easily; Nuance meets members where they are. Even in asynchronous conversations—those that don’t occur live, at the speed of speech—Nuance allows credit unions and members to hold conversations spanning multiple days and service channels without missing a beat or having to repeat previous conversations.
As for increasing self-service and conversions, that claim depends on what your credit union already has in place. However, as LiveSurvey’s recent case study showed
, driving members toward self-service channels is a critical factor in both reducing call center costs and volume and
in improving overall member satisfaction.
Finally, when it comes to brand protection, we’ll just say this:
Nuance could just as well call themselves a governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) company. Their biometrics fraud prevention, compliance-oriented messaging and communications, and other inbuilt protections are designed to meet the most stringent international standards for security, privacy, and compliance. For enterprise clients, no less. It’s mind boggling.
Why Are We Discussing Nuance?
Nuance serves many industries and are now owned by Microsoft. Their AI, especially in voice recognition and other communications (i.e. conversational AI, voice-to-text, etc.) is world-leading.
Their product suite, organizational maturity, and technology sophistication compares favorably against other AI communications providers in the credit union space, to put it mildly.
We find it promising that they are actively
pursuing credit union relationships.
Usually, fintech solutions that work well with credit unions are smaller. They’re startups, CUSOs, and mid-size tech companies testing their products in the credit union industry. Often, they have a good culture fit with promising technology; often, they have a good technology fit, but they’re not fully prepared to support credit unions’ nuanced needs.
Nuance is rare:
They have the resources to dedicate attention specifically to credit union needs, but they also have technology that comes second to none.
Their solutions are now live with dozens of credit unions, so the experience is there, too.
Hopefully by now the reasons for our intrigue (and excitement) is clear.
What Does Nuance Actually Do for Credit Unions?
The simple but vague answer is that Nuance allows credit unions to scale their communications and member service indefinitely.
But the downside of discussing a tech company like Nuance is that the above question is actually difficult to answer. Not because there’s a lot of technobabble and hand-waving involved, but simply because the volume of their solutions is overwhelming.
For example, their contact center AI solutions do a lot
. They reduce call center volumes through self-service options. They increase security and cut member ID authentication times by nearly a minute and a half. They empower agents/representatives with coaching, recommendations, and more.
Nuance also lets credit unions keep in touch with members across multiple communications channels. They provide conversational AI (chatbot) assistance. They let credit unions contact members proactively to resolve issues.
In short, it’s hard to distill. But, for simplicity’s sake, we recommend taking a look at how their Gatekeeper
solution improves contact center efficiency:
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