Chatbots – A Gimmick? Or Can They Add Real Value For Your Members?

By Amy McCaughey

Go on almost any financial institution’s website, and you are likely to encounter some sort of chatbot. As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more and more ingrained in our lives, it is a good time to take a step back and ask ourselves, is AI really useful?

A chatbot is a form of AI that talks with people, provides information, and performs tasks based off of that information. The best example of AI that many people use every day is Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. While sometimes Alexa can be a real help, most users have also found the opposite.

You: “Alexa, play Cake by the Ocean”

Alexa: “Adding cake to your shopping list”

However, the key to AI is that as you use it more, it gets better. The more you use Alexa and Siri, the better they get at many of the tasks you ask of them.

Chatbots are similar and are AI assistants for website users. The main difference between a chatbot at Alexa, is that you are in control of how a chatbot is being utilized on your website and ensure that your member experience does not suffer. A terrific strategy for chatbots is to limit the number of tasks it is capable of to just those where a chatbot can do an even better job helping your members than a human could.

Chatbots do several things really well:

  • Help you find information
  • Answer simple questions
  • Startup conversations based on your specified interests
  • Talk with you & recall pages on the sites you have visited
  • Make suggestions
  • Be there for members 24/7

These characteristics make chatbots terrific options for guiding a member throw a process on your website, answering frequently asked questions, or recommending a product/service for a member ask he/she answers a series of questions.

While AI is a constantly expanding field, and there are many new and exciting ways for your Credit Union to utilize AI, chatbots are a terrific place to start. Building or purchasing a chatbot for your Credit Union’s website can help improve members’ digital experiences and close a potential customer service gap.