In this article we will cover the importance of having a chat feature on your credit union website. We also want to take it a step further and talk about chatbots. As every credit union knows, the way members communicate with their financial institution has quickly changed over the years. There are less members that physically walk in to a branch. Instead, members prefer to do everything online. Not only that, but members do not communicate with the credit union like they used to. With the younger demographic growing, it’s not surprising to see that everything needs to be done on a mobile device. Many younger members do not even own a computer. They can do almost everything on their phones and their phones are never more than 3 feet away from them. They prefer to text instead of call and they prefer to search and shop online instead of physically going in to a store. Is your credit union set up to meet the needs of this valuable demographic?

One thing that we have seen work really well is a chat feature on a website. This is nothing new and website chat has been around for a while but not every institution is using it to its full potential. Many institutions have a chat feature that a staff member responds to during business hours and many times it is not responded to promptly because that staff member is busy with other tasks. A lot of times, members need something quickly outside of business hours or need a simple answer to a FAQ outside of operating hours. They cannot call because the branch is closed. What if there was an automated method to staff a chat feature on your website without having to have an individual always standing by. This is where chatbots come in. Chatbots were created to essentially operate a chat feature automatically based on preset responses and answers to FAQs. Of course the chatbot cannot do the work of a teller but it can answer simple questions and possibly route the member to the appropriate section of the website. Chatbots aren’t just for outside of business hours. Chatbots can hold a conversation with a member and route them to the correct department so that there is no need for an operator. If the member needs information about their account they would be transferred to a teller, if they need information about a loan they are routed to the loan officer and so on. Chatbots are also a great way to push marketing material when someone visits your website. Automated messaging and answers can be set up to push a certain product or service.

If your credit union is not utilizing a chat feature on your current website, it may be a good idea to look in to implementing this useful and cost effective tool. Most websites come prebuilt with a chat feature and sometimes even chatbots. If your website provider does not provide this option, you can sign up with one of the many online options that fit your organization. There will be some initial set up and testing but for the most part this is something that can be set up once and used with very little maintenance. All providers have very easy to use platforms. This is a type of customer facing experience that your members will appreciate, especially the younger demographic.