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Guest Blog: How AI is helping members of One Family

Blog post

Photograph of One Family CEO, Jim Islam
Written by
Jim Islam
25th April 2024
A photograph of One Family CEO, Jim Islam, sat down looking directly at the camera.

Hear from CEO Jim Islam on how Co-operatives UK partner member One Family is embracing the positive potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to benefit its members. 

AI is a hot topic right now and everyone has a view, writes One Family CEO, Jim Islam

According to a recent ONS Report 32% said that they felt that AI will benefit them. Meanwhile 28% of adults thought that AI brings greater risks than benefits and 36% said that they did not think AI could have a positive impact on their lives.

These perspectives aren’t helped by frightening news headlines that suggest a weaponisation of AI to “supercharge disinformation" or “terrifying” deep fake films that could wipe out the film industry or disrupt democracy. There’s certainly a sense of moral panic surrounding AI. But there are legitimate uses of AI for business that enable companies to support their customers’ needs, whilst also making things easier for their teams. 

At OneFamily, we’ve been using tried and tested technology for some time, as part of our modernisation programme, to support the engine-room of our business as we grow. It’s proven to be an essential suite of tools that is enabling us to deliver on our purpose to create and protect value for our members.

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So, we use speech analytics to review the calls that we receive to understand better where our customers could do with a little more support from our communications with them. This has led to improved web pages that provide a better experience for our customers, a rethink of our email notifications and simplified processes. We’ve always recorded our calls, but having those calls transformed into text means we can now search for trends and closely analyse what’s really happening to identify the improvements that we can make. That simply can’t be done with thousands of hours of audio recordings.

We’ve embraced digital technology to support our younger adult customers on the maturity of their child trust funds, by employing an app to guide them through the identification process. We recognised that this generation would be more comfortable with using their phones to supply their documents, rather than having to go through the traditionally cumbersome process of providing certified copies of everything.  The app we use is secure and convenient, putting the customer rather than the process first. 

Similarly, younger customers like using our chatbot – it’s quick and efficient and gives them the information that they need instantly. As a service provider it’s useful because we can use it to spot trends in customers’ requests, which we can learn from to provide ongoing improvements to customer queries. In time, we see our chatbot potentially offering customers a richer experience as we start to explore the capabilities of generative AI.

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We’re also using AI in our Knowledge Management System, which is a tool that our teams use to find what they need from our process and procedures guides.  Being able to quickly find the information they need means a better service for our customers. It also helps us to spot gaps in knowledge so we can improve the training of our colleagues.

AI will bring a big change to the way that businesses operate, there’s no doubt about that.  And with big change there’s naturally going to be some fears – but there are also going to be some fantastic opportunities for those that really embrace the future.

Of course, as a responsible organisation, our approach will be cautious - we want the AI we use to be safe, proven technology. And we will always ensure the right checks and balances are in place – that’s sensible business practice.

But, in embracing the positive potential of AI and employing it in an innovative way we can really see the benefits that it will bring to our members and the support it will provide the business as it grows.

One Family is a mutual society offering child trust funds, ISAs, lifetime ISAs, junior ISAs, tax-exempt savings plans and over 50s life cover and is a partner member of Co-operatives UK. 

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