A Conversation About Conversational AI at CUs
By Roy Urrico
Remote work, once a desirable option, is now a normal reality for current work environments. Credit unions who recognized this significant shift are looking for new tools and resources, such as conversational artificial intelligence (AI), to help make this transition as successful as possible.
That is, according to Ed McGuiggan, general manager of Dragon Professional and Consumer at Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance Communications, a pioneer in speech recognition and artificial intelligence technologies. He spoke about how credit unions can utilize new technologies, like conversational AI, to lighten workloads and improve efficiencies.
“Conversational AI combines speech recognition, natural language understanding, and text-to-speech capabilities to create products that automate communications and create seamless interactions across channels,” McGuiggan said. He explained this technology empowers workers to streamline everyday tasks, such as documentation, and enhance customer experiences and engagements via personalized recommendations and reduced call times. “This technology is the crux of every Nuance project, including Dragon Professional Anywhere, which is a next-generation, AI-powered, speech recognition solution.”
Remote work during a global COVID-19 response differs immensely from the previous casual “Friday work from home” incentive typical at many pre-pandemic organizations. McGuiggan pointed out, “The current circumstances faced by professionals on a global scale are met with elevated emotions and logistical obstacles. Credit unions, in particular, are faced with having to transition entirely to a remote workforce while still delivering the same personalized client experience their customers are used to in-person.”
McGuiggan noted that according to a PwC customer experience study, 32% of customers will walk away from a brand they love after a single bad experience. He added, “To avoid poor customer experience, while still retaining a customer base, credit unions must equip their employees with the proper mobile tech solutions needed to advise clients thoughtfully and avoid burnout or fatigue.”
McGuiggan suggested that adding cloud-based conversational AI platforms to a company’s toolbox can mitigate the effects of distraction and lessen the impact of unforeseen interruptions that present themselves around the remote work locations of employees.
Another consideration, as per McGuiggan, is a 2016 study completed by Stanford University researchers that found speech dictation three times faster than the speed that typing requires. This capability to move faster boosts productivity, but a dictation solution powered by AI enables a whole new level of output, efficiency, and compliance. “The technology allows professionals to create highly detailed action plans, memorializing client interactions and document disclosures,” McGuiggan said. Additionally, advisers can create custom voice commands that automate repetitive tasks, like adding digitized signatures to a document. “Dictation through conversational AI not only improves efficiency but bolsters compliance as procedures in financial services continue to mount.”
There are advantages of having mobile tech solutions available to employees working from home. “Enabling employees with mobile tech solutions that allow for true remote work flexibility increases overall work productivity and efficiency—which has become even more critical during the pandemic,” McGuiggan maintained.
While there are plenty of added distractions that accompany the new normal, mobile tech solutions help workers navigate those distractions with added flexibility. McGuiggan indicated right now more challenging to distinguish between the "work-life balance" given the constant distractions workers deal with in their homes that are not usually present in a formal office space. “AI-powered tools, like Dragon Professional Anywhere (a cloud-based speech recognition solution), ease employee workloads and enable them to effectively work from anywhere.”
For example, advisers working with clients are able to collaborate on items simply through their voice – no matter where they are. “Credit union professionals can use conversational AI tools like Dragon Professional Anywhere to help scale and deliver the best customer experience — even while remote — by focusing solely on the client, not on cumbersome documentation demands or distractions,” McGuiggan said.
McGuiggan explained Nuance, with its robust product portfolio featuring conversational AI and speech technologies, caters to the unique needs of customers across verticals, include credit unions and other financial institutions, with products such as Dragon Professional Anywhere (made available in the U.S. in August 2020). “This solution enables business professionals and consumers to create high-quality documentation more efficiently, securely, and at scale – boosting productivity and reducing costs.”