A few years ago, I celebrated a milestone birthday by getting 12 stitches in my forehead. Not exactly the fun celebration I had in mind.
It was my birthday, and a few friends invited me out for a leisurely walk. Unbeknownst to me, the walk was a ruse. As my friends and I laughed and sauntered around the neighbourhood, a large surprise gathering assembled at a lounge nearby. (Remember those days?)
The company was so good – and the distraction so effective – that I walked right into a very unforgiving post, gashing my forehead. In the ER, as I waited to be seen, my earlier enthusiasm flickered out and embarrassment took hold.
How could I be so careless? I hoped, at the very least, I would see a doctor who was kind, knowledgeable, and fast, and would keep a straight face as I told my tale of calamity. Luckily, I was seen by a wonderful doctor who patched me up and sent me on my way, without further harm done to my forehead and pride.
Why am I sharing this story, and what does it have to do with the banking industry? Much like they would trust a doctor with their physical health, customers trust their bank with their financial health. Going to the bank, just like going to the doctor, can be painful. Customers want to do business with a bank that – like my ER doctor on that fateful day – is fast, attentive, empathetic and trustworthy.
The “bank of the future” will be like a “financial physician,” a trusted advisor that customers rely on in their moment of need. These banks will be faster and more agile than my younger (clumsier) self, and nothing will shake them.
In today’s competitive digital landscape, AI and automation can help you create that human touch, allowing you to build trust and deliver a winning customer experience as a point of differentiation.
Show empathy and build trust
Customer loyalty is hard won and easily lost. As PricewaterhouseCoopers writes in Retail Banking 2020 – Evolution or Revolution?, “Technology is making it easier for customers to switch banks, making relationships much less sticky.”
Forrester predicts that “leading banks will use technology and far deeper customer insight to insert financial services at the customer’s moment of need, often at the expense of brand visibility.” Additionally, with high-profile data breaches dominating the headlines, creating confidence is more important than ever.
To win trust and differentiate from digital upstarts – and other touchpoints that offer embedded financial services – banks must become trusted advisors.
Be rapid, relevant and responsive
In Deloitte’s estimation, “today’s competitive advantage doesn’t come from being big, but from being fast and nimble.” This is where digital upstarts have a leg up on traditional banks. Building upon Deloitte’s prediction, speed must be applied to the right areas – otherwise, it’s meaningless.
Speed shouldn’t come at the expense of relevancy
What if my ER doctor was quick to hand me a set of crutches and usher me out the door? I would seriously question whether they knew what they were doing. Similarly, what if a newly retired banking customer wanted to downsize their home but was offered a special interest rate on their first mortgage?
To secure their place in the digitally focused future, banks must create a new status quo: a customer-centric business model that prioritises fast, attentive, relevant service.
Look beyond transactions
If a typical banking interaction is 50 per cent paperwork and 50 per cent discussion, that leaves a lot of room for improvement. What if it was 10 per cent paperwork and 90 per cent discussion?
Let’s say I was applying for a loan or new financial services. The teller may notice that I have two school-aged children and offer me a college savings plan. Similarly, my ER doctor may detect high blood pressure when checking my vitals – the schooled-aged children may explain that – and suggest a follow-up visit in her private practice.
The same way a good doctor looks beyond an injury or a set of symptoms, banks must use data-driven insights to look beyond individual transactions.
Relevant, timely offers build trust and endear customers to their banks as partners in their financial health. With predictive, data-driven insights at their fingertips, banking employees will no longer be seen as paper-pushers, but as trusted advisors.
The data advantage
By using AI and automation, banks can automate mundane processes, augment the human potential of their workforce, and deliver a tailored customer experience.
With less manual work to contend with, banks can focus on the kind of work that requires a human touch.
Additionally, AI and automation can help you quickly find and remediate risky data, allowing your organisation to remain compliant, stay ahead of LIBOR and other regulations, and protect customers’ personally identifiable information (PII), naturally elevating your organisation to “trusted advisor” status.
By combining the speed and precision of AI with the empathy of humans, banks can automate what doesn’t add value and focus on what does.
In an industry where multi-step manual processes are the norm, that kind of attentiveness is a breath of fresh air.
Scott Mackey is a founder and SVP of Market Strategy at Adlib. Scott has more than 20 years of experience in content management and digital transformation including contract analytics, data capture, content management and file analytics. He regularly engages industry analysts, Adlib’s customers and partners to analyse and assess trends in the content, data and automation space, and stays up to speed on industry best practices by attending and being a featured speaker at global industry events.