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The Next Normal in Banking: How to Reimagine Customer Experience Profitably

Everyone wants to get back to business as usual, and perhaps none more so than those in financial services and healthcare — two industries that shape our everyday experiences.

From a macro perspective, while banks were already evolving how they offered their products and services prior to COVID-19, the pandemic has consequently accelerated consumer adoption to mobile and online banking. A recent study from PwC points to record low interest rates pressuring revenue margins within traditional banking models — as well as client-driven shifts to remote and mobile-first platforms — that are requiring institutions to reimagine the customer experience journey to retain client loyalty and trust.

A survey from Optum suggests AI initiatives top health leaders’ list of imperatives, due in large part to an accelerated need to manage costs and heightened consumer expectations under the pandemic. Much like telehealth for managed care, online banking, digital transactions, and the decline of cash for financial institutions have quickly replaced the necessity for visiting bank branches in person. So how can you maintain client loyalty and reinforce the bank’s brand as a trusted financial institution?

Adoption of Online Banking Through Digital Channels

According to recent analysis from McKinsey: “The stressed economic environment has left consumers with a greater need for financial advice, while the remote working phenomenon has created a new openness to receiving this advice remotely.”

While branches are indeed reopening gradually, adoption of online banking through digital channels is only starting to stick. In fact, one EY study finds only 16% of respondents stated the way they bank will change over the longer term because of the pandemic. Banking institutions need to continue to invest in reinforcing a positive digital customer experience by offering extended support and flexibility in order to edge out the competition.

So How Can Banks Deliver Reimagined, Engaging Experiences for Their Customers Profitably?

While efficiencies can be gained by leveraging AI and machine learning strategies throughout an institution, the most significant cost-saving opportunities can be found in the front office by reducing the brick-and-mortar storefronts and distribution staff through automation.

The most mature customer experience AI solutions focus around chatbots and virtual assistants — for example Erica® from Bank of America, which processes consumer voice commands or texts for common transactions like “give me my account balance,” “transfer money,” or “schedule me a meeting with a human representative.” Natural language processing (NLP) enables the bank to identify and provide responses to common questions. More advanced assistants provide more personal advice, based on profiles or even a client’s sentiment.

Frontrunners in AI are Focusing On Revenue Opportunities and Initiatives for Improving the Customer Experience

With so many products promoting AI solutions, leading banks and other financial institutions are focusing their investments on AI strategies as part of their business plans — attaching them to specific use cases and finding efficiencies where they can leverage existing operational investments.

Despite all the advancements in AI, and the application of AI technology, there remains a psychological hurdle for consumers. They still want that human-to-human interaction when looking for advice and guidance, particularly when it comes to their financial investments.

In fact, one study actually found that consumers are more comfortable undergoing AI-assisted surgery than using AI-assisted financial guidance! Knowing how and when to promote self-service convenience and identify the high-potential clients to advise is where tools like Tableau CRM and Salesforce Financial Services Cloud are most valuable.

Using AI and Predictive Analytics to Deliver On Customer Experience

Going forward, how will you prioritize the book of business, know which clients you should be connecting with and attend to, for what purposes — and when?

By leveraging AI and predictive analytics, leading banks are providing positive digital customer experiences where appropriate, such as reminders of recurring payments, or whether or not a payment is scheduled after their due date. They are also able to automate targeted customer offers or recommendations on new products, cards, and services based on account information. They can lower their risk portfolio with AI-powered fraud detection. And with speech recognition, they can streamline app-based transactions, and use NLP to review customer chat logs to enhance the quality of customer interactions.

Employing Intelligent Call Deflection Strategies

This year has presented a unique challenge for customer service agents who are faced with their own new remote working environment and increased call volumes. Contact centers can improve customer success and first-call resolutions all while reducing costs with intelligent call deflection strategies — using alternative service channels (e.g., chatbots, virtual assistants), self-service strategies (e.g., AI-powered voice recognition, NLP), and next best action recommendations via predictive analytics technology.

Hitting Reset On “Normal”

Banks not only have a financial obligation but also a fiduciary responsibility to support their customers through difficult times. But how can you ensure this next “normal” will endure for your employees and customers? Institutions that invest today in creating more personalized, intuitive, and seamless experiences will build brand loyalty now, and ensure adaptability, profitability, and business resilience for the future.

Learn how Atrium helps financial institutions deliver scalable, engaging customer experiences.