For years, industry experts have been forecasting the massive impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the financial service sector and, with a surge in technological advances seemingly overnight, that prediction is coming true in more ways every day. AI has already increased efficiency for many banks and credit unions, and it offers the opportunity to introduce more personalized services across a variety of channels to enhance customer experience. Customers who have received an automated alert for suspicious account activity, interacted with voice-prompted automated customer service over the phone, or sought customer service help from a chatbot online have only experienced the tip of the AI iceberg. With the possibilities R & D labs are nearly ready to roll out, the prospects are exciting. But the importance of balancing technology with human interaction shouldn’t be overlooked when diving into the AI-driven future.
AI Tech for Banks and Credit Unions
AI in the financial industry has already reduced the cost of customer service and, for the most part, has done it while making banking more convenient. It has automated everything from tracking account balances to underwriting credit decisions. What’s more, tech development companies are continuing to improve existing AI programs as well as come up with new ones. Here are a few examples of cutting-edge AI that is helping financial institutions cut the cost of doing business while expanding services and improving customer experience:
- Banking Via Voice Assistance—When customers call the helpline at many banks and credit unions, they’re initially routed through an automated system that allows them to access account information, get info on branch location and hours, or other basic data before they’re given the option of talking to a live CSR. However, customers with more than a basic question don’t love this type of automation–they just want to get to a live rep quickly. An immediate solution is to give customers the option to speak with a live representative sooner in the automated greeting, but a solution that frees up human employees while not frustrating customers may be on the horizon. Developers are aiming to create a system much like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, but for banks or credit unions, following customers’ spoken instructions to perform tasks like transferring funds and processing other requests. The goal is to provide a smoother experience that addresses more complex issues and requests, one that leaves customers feeling satisfied enough that they don’t feel the need to speak to a live rep. Ultimately, people still want to be able to interact with a human, and financial institutions should consider that carefully as they implement AI solutions on all levels.
- Beefing Up Security—AI for banking assistance makes taking care of business quick and easy but conducting banking online and with smartphones can be risky without some serious cybersecurity. It was a logical move, then, to use AI to address that problem, and we’re talking about more than basic algorithm programs that detect unusual account activity. Companies like Darktrace, Shape Security, and Vectra offer solutions that guard against high-tech cyber-attacks, protect customer accounts from being hijacked, and prevent malware attacks. Some systems inform customers of security breaches, but often the branch is the only one aware of a thwarted attack. However, every time an AI system detects and prevents a potential breach, customers should be notified. When banks and credit unions miss this step, they’re also missing an opportunity to strengthen customers’ trust in their institution.
- Help With Services and Spending Habits—Personalized banking has come a long way from the early days when it basically meant branch managers knew customers on a first-name basis. With the help of AI, financial institutions can offer customers a truly personal experience, tailored to individual needs, spending habits, and long-term financial goals. When all systems are properly interacting–including human employees with AI–customers will have more options for accessing real-time support and advice on the best products and services, insight on budget and spending habits, expense tracking, and more–all based on their personal financial histories. What’s more, financial institutions that weave digital and human interactions together, offering quick and easy access to both, will hit a homerun with customers.
- Streamlining Compliance—Regulatory and compliance issues are one of the top stumbling blocks financial institutions continue to contend with. They exist to protect consumers, so they are necessary. But they slow down processes and hinder banks and credit unions from competing on an even field with fintechs. Developers are looking to change all that using existing AI-based software that mines and stores data as a starting point. The plan is to enhance the programs to wipe personal and identifying info from the data as it’s collected.
Planning for AI Implementation
While all the advances that AI has already brought and will certainly bring, we shouldn’t forget that implementation doesn’t involve simply putting these new systems to work, then sitting back to enjoy the ride. There’s always been speculation that artificial intelligence will eventually replace human employees altogether. While that’s unlikely to happen in the financial industry in the near future, it is certain that AI will take on some jobs but that will result in creating new jobs that require human employees to collaborate with AI. That, in turn, will require retraining bank and credit union employees to work with AI systems to complete projects, solve problems, and carry out everyday tasks.
Connecting With Customers
As valuable as AI can be for the financial industry, it doesn’t have two of the most important elements of excellent customer service: empathy and emotional intelligence. There will always be a need for human employees to bring those pieces of the puzzle to the table. In the new banking landscape, financial institutions will need to carefully balance the human workforce with AI solutions to provide customers with quality service and products quickly and efficiently–and do it with that vital human touch. Avannis is the answer to helping your financial institution achieve that balance and connect with customers. Our customized surveys and suite of advanced online tools can provide the feedback and input vital for keeping in touch with customer needs. Contact us today to schedule a demo and find out more about how Avannis can help you make the most of AI for your customers.