first_imgRecently, I had a conversation with a couple of large credit union CTOs.  I brought up the idea of a credit union using a chat bot and was surprised at the almost violent reaction that ensued.   The credit unions were furious at the concept, which I found fascinating, and decided to look at in more depth.First – What is a Chatbot?According to Wikipedia, a chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.How would a credit union use a chatbot?Imagine a world where the credit union had a chatbot so that when a member asked routine questions – the chatbot responded with real answers simulating the experience of chatting with a human.  The positives would be that members would get consistent information and service 24/7 in an automated fashion.  The chatbot can even be programmed to inject a real human on exception items or when a member is getting frustrated.  Consequently, it is entirely possible that the member would never know whether they were chatting with a human or a chatbot.  In addition, the cost of delivering the member service would be substantially lower and would solve some big hiring, staffing and technology challenges for the credit union.On the flip side, the credit unions I discussed the issue with,felt strongly that this concept flew in the face of “good member service” and of the people aspect of credit unions.  Ultimately it seemed that there was a philosophical issue with the idea that you could automate service using technology.   Fundamentally I think it gets at the broader issue credit unions struggle with – how do you define good member service and deliver it consistently?In order for a chatbot to work and provide good service, it would fundamentally have to be setup in a way that allowed it to handle the gray areas of member service.  For example, not all fee reversals are equal.  A member who is in good standing that had their first overdraft fee in 5 years – might be an easy reversal vs. the one that has had 1 a month for 3 straight months.   Consequently, to setup a chatbot, a credit union would have to muddle through all of the small gray area decisions that its employees are empowered to make small judgements on today.Ironically, I would argue that a credit union should probably do this anyway to be able to provide consistent guidance and advice to its employees around A) defining good service B) defining bad service C) and defining the myriad of use cases that might be good service to one person but not to another.  This is an arduous task – but if successful – the credit union would see a lot more consistency and better service scores. In addition, the credit union could plan options for when the credit union makes a mistake and have a matrix of canned answers for member service or call center representatives. Management’s role in articulating, defining, documenting and creating a playbook for employees would have some very positive impacts on the credit unions brand, service, and membership.  Once that was done by humans – it doesn’t seem a big leap to have a chatbot do the heavy lifting and enable the existing staff to elevate their delivery and focus on the next tier of member enhancing services.Ultimately, a modern fintech startup would probably just start with a chatbot and build their service library along with the success of their business. They wouldn’t have a high cost structure or staffing issues and would look to avoid them on day one. The real challenge in my mind is not whether we will use chatbots but when.Interested in more credit union technology news? Visit our blog at or contact us at [email protected] to discuss your credit union’s technology strategy in more detail. 45SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Kirk Drake Kirk Drake is founder and CEO of Ongoing Operations, LLC, a rapidly growing CUSO that provides complete business continuity and technology solutions. With its recent acquisition of Cloudworks, Ongoing Operations … Web: Detailslast_img