Meet The Member Experience Finalists For The 2021 Innovation Series

The user-friendly digital tools presented by this year’s solutions provide inventive ways for credit unions to offer a smart, interactive member experience.

 
 

Welcome to the fourth annual Innovation Series presented by CreditUnions.com. Every year, this series showcases how creative companies are helping to transform the credit union industry.

Read about the Member Experience category finalists by clicking on the links below.

This year, CreditUnions.com is spotlighting innovations in three categories — Mobile, Lending, and Member Experience — with entrants that represent a diverse group of longtime suppliers and startups, each with a compelling story to share about how credit unions can take service and technology to the next level.

The staff at CreditUnions.com looks forward to hosting the Innovation Series every year because we give the industry the power to choose our winners. Do your part today by reading about the finalists below. Then, watch the webinar and vote on your favorite.

MEMBER EXPERIENCE: ABE.AI

Rob Guilfoyle, Co-founder & CEO, Abe.ai

Please describe your innovation.

Rob Guilfoyle: Abe.ai is an artificial intelligence company that builds virtual assistant products and infrastructure for the finance industry. Financial institutions of every size — from small credit unions to the largest banks — use our software to create AI-powered, human-like experiences that scale support and engagement among their users.

FIs use either our pre-trained Virtual Financial Assistant (VFA) to get to market quickly with a retail banking focused experience or our platform tools to create fully customized AI experiences.

Our solutions allow FIs to deliver a consistent virtual assistant experience across a variety of channels including web, mobile app, SMS and multiple smart speakers and devices.

What opportunities or challenges does your innovation address?

RG: Mobile banking apps, in their original forms, simply mimicked the tools FIs offered online, with the major benefit being essentially customer support on the go. While virtual assistants have the greatest immediate impact or ROI in the augmenting of this customer service function and associated cost reductions, their greatest potential lies beyond it.

According to PwC’s 2020 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, more than two-thirds of full-time employed U.S. adult employees seek financial guidance at key decision points or when they’re already in crisis. This creates a huge gap and opportunity to proactively provide contextual insights and guidance that are personalized and deliver real value — on a regular basis.

While the next generation of mobile banking apps move toward insights and financial wellness, harnessing the power of virtual assistants and natural conversation to deliver them — and the ability for the user to interact and ask questions — will likely determine the winners and losers.

Even for FIs that do not plan to offer insights in the near term, the same benefits of virtual assistants and the ease of natural conversations is a perfect fit for current budgeting tools. Although a Bankrate survey highlighted that 34% of 18- to 34-year-olds have at least one budgeting app on their mobile devices, the usage and impact on behavior are questionable.

Tracking spending on its own is simply not enough to shape behavior for the long-term. A virtual assistant with thoughtful nudges, interactive capabilities, and transaction execution occupies the valuable space between a user simply tracking spending and a user engaging a financial planner or advisor. As credit unions fight the big four banks for the next generation of members, guided budgeting and personalized relationships can ensure they win.

How does your innovation increase member value for client credit unions?

RG: As the VFA resolves service requests and deflects them from the live agent support center, the credit union’s cost-to-serve per member decreases. This is especially true for the cost of after-hours support requests as the VFA operates 24/7, when some credit unions either offer no support or pay higher live agent costs. The accuracy and resolution rate of the VFA increases with the volume of requests handled as our data scientists continually fine-tune the AI models.

In addition to cost reductions, our advanced AI and natural, human-like conversations create an unparalleled user experience through our VFA. The ability to ask questions and complete tasks using natural conversation, 24/7, is like having a personal banker in the member’s pocket.

Exceptional user experience is highly correlated to increased revenue per member, saved revenue from lower member churn, and cross-sell and up-sell opportunities — all increasing member value.

What differentiates your innovation from competitors?

RG: Our advanced natural language understanding technology makes next generation conversational AI and VFAs possible. Older chatbots use a rules-based approach and rigid conversational flow, but our ability to have non-linear dialogue — like changing an amount or account in a payment without starting over — is what sets this next generation of AI apart.

Although some competitors have come into the market also using this advanced AI approach in the past two or three years, Abe.ai has gained tremendous experience over the past six years with numerous credit union customers.

We also have deep integrations with well-known digital banking providers such as Alkami and Q2, allowing authenticated transactional capabilities, including transfers and bill pay. In addition, our formal reseller partnerships allow credit unions on the Alkami or Q2 platforms to add our service directly to their digital banking platform contracts.

In addition to our advanced technology, our product offering goes beyond transactional retail banking and support. We offer the option of advanced financial insights software — through our parent company Envestnet | Yodlee — in a package with our VFA to drive financial wellness and compete with the top banks in the United States investing heavily in that area.

This package means not only are the pre-integrated insights delivered via conversational flows built by our design experts but they also are in a channel where members can engage with those insights and take action on them, ensuring long-term financial wellness.

Watch the member experience finalists for the 2021 Innovation Series talk about their solutions. Register today. Voting opens after the webinar.

 REGISTER ToDAY

MEMBER EXPERIENCE: GREENPATH EGAIN

Rick Bialobrzeski, Executive Vice President, GreenPath Financial Wellness

Please describe your innovation.

Rick Bialobrzeski: The Virtual Financial Coach uses eGain’s advanced artificial intelligence technology to deliver GreenPath’s trusted and empathetic financial guidance. It’s a secure digital tool that offers personalized financial advice to members 24/7 on any smartphone or computer.

Using easy-to-understand language through an interactive, chat-based exchange, the Coach delivers expert advice that leverages GreenPath’s 60 years of financial counseling experience.

Action plans are tailored to each user’s financial goals, priorities, and interests. Bite-sized action steps focus on quick wins and avoid overwhelming users. The Virtual Financial Coach interacts much like a human coach, providing motivational nudges to encourage and celebrate progress.

As appropriate, the Coach can also offer opportunities for members to connect directly with a GreenPath expert for one-on-one assistance with credit, housing, or debt management issues. The Coach is turnkey. Credit unions can begin using it without any system integration, report design, or member support.

What opportunities or challenges does your innovation address?

RB: Credit union members need financial advice. A growing number need help with day-to-day issues such as improving credit, reducing debt, improving cash flow, or buying a home. This is a win-win opportunity for credit unions. However, complexity, compliance, and cost are significant barriers to providing personalized financial guidance.

The Virtual Financial Coach is cost-effective, scalable, and always compliant.

The typical credit decline process feels blunt and insulting. Credit unions can turn this around and make it a positive experience by providing actionable and timely advice with a link to the Coach in their credit decline communication. Converting credit declines to approvals is clearly a win-win for the institution and the member.

How does your innovation increase member value for client credit unions?

RB: Providing members with unbiased advice from a trusted non-profit can reduce stress and make a meaningful difference in their financial lives. A recent J.D. Power study found that 58% of people want digital advice from their financial institution but only 12% receive that advice.

Many members who need guidance will never pick up the phone and reach out to ask for assistance. The Coach can help reduce the stigma associated with seeking financial advice through discreet self-service. Members can anonymously engage with the Coach 24/7, stop engaging at any time, and pick up where they left off later.

Members appreciate financial advice that helps them pay down debt, increase credit scores, buy a home, and build wealth. The Coach enables members to anonymously access advice 24/7 and then connect with a live GreenPath expert later if desired.

What differentiates your innovation from competitors?

RB: The Virtual Financial Coach is a unique tool.

It’s the first of its kind to deliver personalized financial advice and action plans tailored to each user’s financial goals, priorities, and interests, leveraging the power of AI and digital engagement technologies. Moreover, users will be able to select their preferred coaching persona from several options. Subject matter addressed by the Coach continues to grow and evolve, continually adding new ways to assist members and add value.

Implementation is easy — the time to deployment can be as little as a couple of hours. Credit unions simply provide us with their logo for branding, determine where and how they want to engage members, post a link we provide, and then promote.

Watch the member experience finalists for the 2021 Innovation Series talk about their solutions. Register today. Voting opens after the webinar.

REGISTER TODAY

MEMBER EXPERIENCE: INTERFACE

Srinivas Njay, Founder & CEO, Interface

Please describe your innovation.

Srinivas Njay: Interface is a market-leading AI assistant provider. One of our flagship products is the AI Call center, where an Alexa- or Siri-like assistant is set up on a credit union’s call center to automate 60% of the calls in 60 days.

The AI Call Center enhances member experiences by enabling credit unions to provide personalized member support 24/7. It also drives member engagement by providing financial insights and generates revenues for credit unions through upselling and cross-selling. Overall, the AI Call Center transforms a credit union’s call center from a cost center to a revenue center.

What opportunities or challenges does your innovation address?

SN: In the light of the pandemic, one of the top challenges credit unions face is increased call center volume. This has led to increased wait times, increased call abandonment rates, longer average handling times, and low first-time resolutions — all part of a poor member experience.

Interface’s AI Call Center helps credit unions solve all the issues related to member support and further helps credit unions transform their call center from a cost center to a revenue center.

Our AI Call Center empowers credit unions to automate responses to a large volume of incoming calls and instantly respond to member inquiries 24/7. This solution acts as the first line of defense and handles most of the members’ calls, thus reducing the volume of calls arriving at the financial institution’s call center.

This, in turn, reduces the call waiting time and abandonment rate to 0. The AI Call Center ensures the efficiency of the call center operations and the quality of member experience is elevated. This increased efficiency also enables the credit union staff to spend more time providing sound financial advice to members in need and help them achieve financial wellness. Overall, it helps a credit union elevate member experiences from digital to AI-first.

How does your innovation increase member value for client credit unions?

SN: With the AI Call Center, members get questions instantly answered at any time of the day — completely eliminating wait times and making the call center experience hassle-free for members.

Responses from Interface’s AI Call Center are highly personalized, accurate, and comparable to the quality of support members receive from high-performing staff in any credit union. This ensures that members receive the best experience in every call.

The AI Call Center enables credit unions to have efficient call center operations by bringing call abandonment rates and call wait times to zero, improving first-time resolution instances, and drastically reducing the average handling time of calls. It frees up the bandwidth of the support staff and enables them to focus on high-touch member service. It also allows credit unions to have around-the-clock operations that ensure 24/7 member support.

What differentiates your innovation from competitors?

SN: Interface provides more than 60 out-of-the-box solutions for credit unions to help members achieve financial wellness. We’re a pioneer in this space due to the founding team hailing from a credit union family and having an in-depth understanding of the space.

Interface processes millions of credit union-specific conversations every day, enabling the system to achieve over 90% accuracy in understanding hundreds of pre-built, banking-specific workflows from the first day on.

Conversations with Interface’s AI Call Center are natural and similar to interactions with human call center staff as it is equipped with neural voice. The system can also be set up to support more than 119 different languages ensuring credit unions can cater to various demographics.

A significant breakthrough Interface has achieved is zero-shot learning. Equipped with this, our systems are able to answer questions that have not been encountered in the past. This helps credit unions to immediately train the AI to cater to unforeseen business interruptions or accommodate swift launches. This also enables them to automate infrequent or long-tail questions from members and ensure higher automation that enhances the call center’s overall efficiency.

Our highly matured white-glove professional services are loved by our customers and are available at no cost to set up, maintain, support, and provide ongoing training to improve AI knowledge, resulting in increased automation and enhanced member experiences.

Our system achieves beyond human-level natural language understanding. It beats every other system’s understanding capability in the industry and we encourage people to try our AI Call Center firsthand by visiting our website at interface.ai.

Watch the member experience finalists for the 2021 Innovation Series talk about their solutions. Register today. Voting opens after the webinar.

REGISTER ToDAY

MEMBER EXPERIENCE: LEMONADELXP

John Findlay, CEO, LemonadeLXP

Please describe your innovation.

John Findlay: LemonadeLXP is a learning experience and digital adoption platform for financial institutions. It's the only platform that combines an addictive learning experience for training on-site and remote staff, with a digital adoption platform that allows for the rapid deployment of technology walkthroughs to support front-line staff and help members migrate to digital channels.

What opportunities or challenges does your innovation address?

JF: With the pandemic and the new administration in Washington, the business climate is changing quickly. To keep pace, credit unions need ways to quickly roll out effective training. Built specifically for financial institutions, LemonadeLXP uses serious games, technology walkthroughs, role-play scenarios, and social learning to provide engaging and effective training for front-line staff.

On average, credit unions have seen 35% of traditional transactions migrate to digital during the pandemic. The sudden influx of members using digital channels has created heavy contact center call volumes and a stressful environment for front-line staff.

To help staff and members migrate to digital, credit unions can use LemonadeLXP's digital adoption platform to quickly author a branded, searchable, WCAG AA-compliant online hub with technology walkthroughs, app simulations, and videos — without the need for developer help.

How does your innovation increase member value for client credit unions?

JF: LemonadeLXP increases member value in a few ways. By more effectively training front-line staff, LemonadeLXP ensures employees are able to help members on a broader range of financial matters rather than having to pass members off to other colleagues.

Also, LemonadeLXP’s digital adoption platform provides members with a risk-free environment in which to explore and learn how to use digital channels to complete transactions. Contact center reps can also use it to assist members who need help using digital products. It reduces talk times, de-stresses conversations, and ultimately improves member experiences.

What differentiates your innovation from competitors?

JF: No other platform combines learning experience and digital adoption tools into one solution — and both components have distinct advantages.

The learning experience platform’s rapid authoring tools are unmatched. Credit unions use them to create effective training that employees love, in a snap. LemonadeLXP’s digital adoption platform is the fastest way to create technology walkthroughs and an online hub for members to access them.

The rapid authoring tools make it fast and easy to change your walkthroughs when your tech updates. There is no faster, more intuitive digital adoption platform on the planet.

Watch the member experience finalists for the 2021 Innovation Series talk about their solutions. Register today. Voting opens after the webinar.

REGISTER ToDAY

All interviews have been edited and condensed.

Learn about other 2021 Innovation Series finalists: