Human Interface – Fintech with a Personal Touch

 

As more and more banking operations go digital, it’s easy to get caught up in the convenience and forget about the human aspect of doing business. And that human aspect, the connection to community and customer, is what sets credit unions apart from other financial institutions. And that’s why creating human interfaces is so important in this age of digital transformation.

Let’s take a look at what a human interface is and the benefits of having this software in your credit union arsenal.

What is a Human Interface?

“Human interface” is a term you have probably not heard as often as “bots” or “intelligent virtual assistants.” But human interfaces mean that these advanced and emerging technologies are learning to look and talk the way real people naturally look and talk. Here’s a quick video that explains the evolution and importance of human interfaces.

Benefits of a Human Interface

While this technology may seem overwhelming at first, there are many benefits to creating technology that better understands and interacts with humans. It means your credit union can more fully serve its customers, even from the comfort of their own home. Here are some of the top benefits of human interfaces.

Anticipate Customer Needs, Based on Common Search Terms and Collected Data

You may be surprised to find out very few credit union and bank customers use bots and virtual assistants for digital support. Technologies have been enhanced in recent years to become more intuitive and user-friendly. These enhancements mean navigating and using your credit union’s website or app is easy for most of your members.

With these improvements, bots and virtual assistants are now using the data they collect on member usage. This can show you exactly what areas customers need assistance with and allow you and your credit union to cater to those needs. You can also use the data to provide more targeted training to your employees based on customer search trends.

Conversational Use is More Effective

Did you know over 30% of the time, “people say ‘hello’ or some other personal greeting when they start interacting with a bot?” Human interface bots seem more human, so customers treat them that way.

The recreation of that “personal touch” human interfaces can replicate means credit union members feel more comfortable using the service, and they continue to reach out via digital assistant to perform many standard or low-level banking functions. This allows your employees more time to handle more difficult or intricate tasks.

The conversational experience in human interface technologies can also help enhance the user experience. It is easier for people to use a computer if they can talk to it. Think about how much easier it is to learn a new app or feature on your phone or smart device when someone is explaining it to you, versus trying to follow written instructions for use.  

Reliability

Human interface solutions are a 24/7 support staff for your credit union. After business hours or during peak customer traffic, your virtual assistant is always “on” and ready to assist, even if your employees are all already assisting customers.

Security

In the same way that online banking is usually very safe, banking operations being run through a bot or virtual assistant that has a human interface and multi-factor authentication also bolster cybersecurity.

Pandemic Health and Safety

Of course, one of the biggest reasons digital solutions like the human interface are getting so much attention this year is because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Human interface, bots, and virtual assistants fill a very specific void your credit union members are experiencing right now: the need for touchless interfaces and the desire for human-centric service that still “maintains efficiency, security, privacy, and choice,” according to this Forbes article.

Take Your CU Tech to the Next Level

Digital solutions are the best way to differentiate your credit union from the rest and serve your customers using the most up-to-date technology.

From eStatements and eNotices to Web Loan Applications, Online Account Opening, and Trial Balance+, IMS Integration can help you serve your customers better with our elegant, member-facing solutions

Questions? Contact us today!


Digital Lending and Other 2021 Trends

 

Your digital banking solutions are under scrutiny, your member expectations are higher than ever, and your credit union has just come out of one of the toughest years in modern history. Let’s discuss how you’ll get a leg up this year by looking at the top digital and lending trends set to dominate 2021.

Until recently, banking institutions (and credit unions especially) were taking a conservative approach to digital transformation. But COVID-19 showed up and wrecked a lot of plans and protocols in a short amount of time, leaving financial leaders scratching their heads.

However, the new normal is here, and it’s not going anywhere. So what trends should you, as credit union leaders and employees, be pushing in the new year? Let’s break them down.

Digital Lending Solutions

Lending solutions are going to be a hot topic this year. With the amount of financial stress Americans and small businesses have been under since last March, expect to increase small ticket loan offerings. Focusing on low-dollar, short-term, “buy now, pay later” loans – often with zero interest rates – can fill some of the holes left by the 2020 economic downturn.

Lending also needs to go digital. This includes self-service and online options. With or without COVID, Millennials and Gen Z prefer to handle as much of their life and lifestyle as possible through remote channels.

It may seem strange, but these digital darlings are more likely to patronize your credit union if they never have to step foot inside it! This means creating and managing these online offerings as well as increasing machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities.

There are many advantages of digital lending:

  • Optimized User Experience – digital lending programs put the power back in your customers’ hands.
  • Increased Efficiency – digital lending also streamlines the lending process and creates shorter turnaround times.
  • Digital Channels Mean More Analytics – when all of your lending information is stored and handled digitally, it gives you the opportunity to analyze all that data and create intelligent, tailored banking solutions for your members.

Small Business Relationships

Another focus area in the banking industry this year will be recapturing small businesses. Credit unions already set themselves up for success in this area last year by participating in PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans. The program helped many small businesses keep their doors open during this trying time. It also created an avenue for small-to-midsized banks and credit unions to lend to businesses that were ineligible for other big bank-sponsored programs.

‘Financial Health’ Focus

Financial health is going to be a heavily leveraged topic in 2021 as well because the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all how badly financial unpreparedness can cripple our lives and economy.

Credit unions are in a great position to tackle this topic, however. Bigger banks tend not to offer comprehensive or tailored financial wellness and education resources. Credit unions have been doing that for decades already.

To take advantage of this trend, banks and credit unions will take advantage of virtue-signaling efforts to craft customer-facing messages that are more socially conscious.

These empathy-based messages will also cater to the direction of the changing White House administration.

Start Your Digital Lending Journey with Web Loan Applications

IMS Integration can help you create a seamless transition to digital lending and other online services:

  • Infuzion: This powerful tool was developed to streamline complex functions without spending hours developing scripts.
  • Web Loan Applications: Loans are critical to your credit union’s success. Enhance your member experience by implementing our online loan applications system, which tightly integrates with KeyStone core.

If you want to explore our offerings further, or you have questions about our solutions, contact us today.


2020 In Review for Credit Unions

 

The pandemic and other disasters caused a lot of uncertainty for your members and employees this year. As 2020 comes to a close, it’s important for leaders to review what they’ve learned so they can prepare for 2021. 

Here are the top insights credit unions have learned this year:

Members Need Digital Experiences

When the world locked down and started working remotely, members flocked to your credit union’s digital services. What was once seen as conveniences became needs, but your members still craved customization and personalization through your digital services and remote communication styles. They demanded improved digital experiences

In addition to increased phone volume and, potentially, the unveiling of video chatting at your credit union, your members increased the use of your website and mobile app. Website accessibility became even more valuable to serve more of your members.

As we’ve said before, “The digital member experience needs to be as close as possible to an all-encompassing, no limits, one-on-one discussion about the many products and programs your credit union offers.”

You may have seen a need to improve your software and digital infrastructure throughout this season. But those improvements don’t end with 2020. It’s imperative that credit unions continue to optimize the digital experience for their members on an ongoing basis. 

Related resources from our sister company, Information Management Solutions:

Cybersecurity is Increasingly Important

Credit unions across the nation, among other businesses, are finding that cybersecurity is critical for the well-being of their business and to keep their members’ data secure. 

We’ve known for a while that cybercriminals don’t discriminate who they attack and that not all cyber threats have malicious intent, but this year has made it even harder for smaller credit unions to keep up with the security demands placed on them, especially when transitioning to WFH environments. 

We previously summed this up as “Cybersecurity in 2020 is even more important than it was in past years because financial institutions can’t afford to be breached or hacked during these uncertain times.”

At the end of this year, one thing is clear: if your credit union hasn’t already, it’s time to strengthen your cybersecurity initiatives. 

Related resources from our sister company, Information Management Solutions:

Members Require a Better Experience

Your members want more. Their needs are always changing. As younger generations join credit unions and as time moves forward, member expectations change. This is especially true for 2020 as members’ needs changed practically overnight.

This year, credit unions helped their members use self-service options and embrace digital services. Your employees quickly felt the loss of that in-person community that is created within a normal credit union environment – and everyone on your team knew that many members felt the same loss.  

Customer service became less about benefits and more about personalizing the customer experience, even while working remotely. As we prepare for and head into 2021, it’s important to continue improving the member experience across the board. 

Related resources from our sister company, Information Management Solutions: 

Prepare for 2021

At the end of the day, your credit union is constantly working on ways to better serve your members. Members continue to be the most important focus for a credit union’s efforts, from the leadership team to each member service representative. For this reason, all of these insights that credit union leaders have learned over the year are important to take into 2021. 

Like you serve your members, our team at IMS Integration is here to serve you. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your credit union.


It’s Time to Optimize Your Digital Member Experience

Historically, credit unions have been regarded as slow to innovate when it comes to new technology. But 2020 is no ordinary year, and credit unions are recognizing the power of this rapid change and its value as we move towards an ever-evolving and heavily digital future. It’s time to optimize your digital member experience.

Digital Member Experience Is More than Fast Processing Times

This year has exponentially enhanced the ability of every industry to churn out large-scale digital solutions to compete with stay-at-home orders and social distancing policies. But the unintended result of this is an overwhelming preference, from customers and bank members, to have these services optimized and available in the future, no matter how long this pandemic lasts.

But digital solutions aren’t as easy to implement as a plexiglass partition or extra customer service associates. The easier the digital solution is for the customer to use, the more difficult and intricate the behind-the-scenes setup can be for IT and third-party software engineers.

Here are some tips and solutions for improving the digital member experience.

Enhance Chat Abilities with Video

Video chatting is now commonplace, for people of all ages. Young children are on Zoom for virtual classroom time, and elderly credit union members are hopping on Telehealth calls with their doctors. Why not incorporate video appointments in your credit union’s offerings?

Integrating a video chat option through your online banking website and app can bring back that personal, one-on-one customer service that has been slowly fading as we continue to practice safe social distancing.

It’s also a great way to introduce your already-tech-savvy members with your newest “upgrades” – you can use the video call to not only answer customer questions but to also keep them in the loop on the latest changes to the digital member experience.

Increase Customization in the Digital Member Experience

No matter how much you digitize, there will always be members who prefer that personal touch. This approach is something credit unions all over the country are most known for – their commitment to take care of and be an essential part of the communities they serve.

That same “perfect fit” feel can largely be replicated online if your credit union offers solutions that can be tailored either to your members’ preferences or manipulated by your members themselves.

Custom web development allows you to tell developers exactly what your credit union’s digital member experience should be, with web solutions ranging from online member applications to integration with third-party tools.

Ease of Use Is a Difficult, But Crucial Feature

Many customers, regardless of where they do their banking, are always looking for insights, shortcuts, and transparency. Increasing transaction visibility and speed are things many people are coming to expect – think of the one-click payment options on retail sites like Amazon.

The digital member experience needs to be as close as possible to an all-encompassing, no limits, one-on-one discussion about the many products and programs your credit union offers. One way you can do this is by recreating as many lending and other credit unions forms online.

IMSI Has A Variety of Software Solutions For You

At IMS Integration, we can create tailored software solutions for your credit union. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.


Ensuring Accessibility on Your Credit Union’s Website

Litigation is still developing around what should be considered ADA compliant on a website. Testing those developments in the credit union industry is complex, and many credit unions don’t take the time to truly focus on all the areas of ADA compliance on their websites. The litigation around these standards isn’t solid as the DOJ has not set new regulations, so some companies may find themselves at the center of a lawsuit when they don’t provide properly accessible website features.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) established a set of guidelines for accessibility known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. These guidelines determine three different levels of conformance, from A (the lowest) to AAA (the highest). The WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines promote four principles. 

A website must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust:

  • Perceivable: Users must be able to perceive website elements. Text alternatives for non-text content, alternatives for video and audio content, captions, and more.
  • Operable: Make all “functionality” on a website available via keyboard (for example, some website users cannot use a traditional computer mouse).
  • Understandable: Language on a website should be noted in the HTML so assistive technologies can translate.
  • Robust: All content must be robust to be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents, like assistive technologies. For example, markup languages should have proper nesting, start and end tags, no duplicate attributes. In short, HTML and CSS should be clean and tidy.

These are still voluntary technical standards as the Department of Justice has not officially established new regulations. 

Since your branch employees can still be the primary point of contact, you’ll want to ensure that your website remains a solid resource that can serve all customers. 

Part of being a more accessible credit union is finding the right partner to create an accessible experience on your website for all members. We don’t specifically test your website for ADA compliance, but we can improve the elements of your website so you can better reach and support your customers. 

For example, our online self-service forms offer a fully integrated, customizable solution that incorporates your credit union’s brand and image. This fast, secure interface also provides a streamlined user experience that will help to keep your members happy. In addition, we offer custom web development to service any of your unique needs. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, don’t hesitate to get in touch.