In the next stage of artificial intelligence adoption, banks will use AI to help understand the intentions and emotions of customers and enable better interactions, according to a new survey of over 600 bankers, from Accenture.
In turn, the report suggested that in three years artificial intelligence (AI) will be the main way banks interact with their customers. 76% of those surveyed felt that within three years banks will deploy AI as their primary method for interacting with customers.
More than three-quarters (78%) of bankers believed that AI will enable simpler user interfaces that will help banks create a more human-like customer experience. In addition, four out of five respondents felt that AI will revolutionise the way banks gather information and interact with customers.
“Consumers’ diverse needs and priorities are forcing financial services firms to redefine how they interact with them to determine the best products and services to meet individuals’ needs,” said Alan McIntyre, a senior managing director at Accenture and head of the company’s Banking practice.
“AI-enabled tools can help banks identify consumer preferences and empower their workforces to react with insight and emotional intelligence, which is essential for the development of meaningful consumer relationships. The challenge will be how quickly banks can implement these new technologies, many of which are not compatible with their existing IT infrastructure.”
In traditional banks, basic transactions continue to migrate from physical to digital channels, leading to major changes as banks redesign their branch networks and enhance their digital footprint.
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Four out of five bankers surveyed expected AI to accelerate technology adoption throughout the organisation, providing their employees with the tools and resources to better serve consumers.
When asked to identify the top three reasons for embedding AI into user interfaces, respondents most often cited “to gain data analysis and insights” (60%), “increase productivity” (59%) and “cost benefit savings” (54%).
At the same time, the bankers acknowledged challenges to implementing AI, citing privacy issues (38%), compatibility issues with the current IT structure (36%) and the fact that users often prefer human interactions (33%).
The quality of customer experience lies in the ability to adapt for unique customer behaviours. The report found that while human contact is diminishing in terms of volume, the quality and importance of human touch points will increase.
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For instance, one-third (34%) of the bankers surveyed said they plan to use a detailed understanding of human behaviour to guide new customer experiences. And while nearly nine in 10 bankers (89%) said they believe that their customers are satisfied with their bank’s use of personalisation, two-thirds (67%) claim they struggle to understand their customers’ needs and goals.
“Bankers believe that participating in ecosystems will provide a variety of benefits — including improved customer satisfaction, increased speed and agility in developing solutions, and access to new customers,” McIntyre said. “However, they will also need to develop a strategy to protect their brand positioning and to deepen their own relationships with customers. More than one-third of the bankers we surveyed believe that participating in ecosystems will also increase their exposure to cyber security threats.”