This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
Today we had our Morning Coffee with Martín Frascaroli, Co-Founder and CEO of Aivo.
Contxto – The days when banking services were standardized and restrictive are in the past. Evolving digital technologies, constant changes in the preferences of the consumers, and increased competition. All of that creates new challenges for banks.
We, consumers, are used to using practical and effective digital plug-ins in every aspect of our lives. We currently communicate with enterprises through a wide range of channels.
Every day, we use all kinds of apps, platforms, and websites on-demand to meditate, exercise, and entertain ourselves. We even keep track of our sleeping schedules on them. That’s why we demand the same flexibility and ease of use when placing our money on a bank or when making a payment.
Consequently, most banks have adopted digitalization as a strategy to face competition in the banking sector and against innovative fintechs. And to preserve customer loyalty.
Nowadays, however, many of the digital solutions are very disappointing as to the way in which banking tasks and experiences are handled. In fact, according to a study by Bain & Company:
“Often bank applications and web pages are not practical, multifunctional or easy to use. Less than half of respondents in the United Kingdom stated that their bank’s website allowed them to do everything they need or found it easy to use. The figure is much lower for bank mobile applications.”
Truth is, when offering a useful experience, it’s not enough to adopt a digitally prioritized approach, but rather to consider many more aspects.
Nowadays, success is all about keeping the center of attention firmly in the consumer and adding value to each interaction. It is necessary to balance the traditional needs of the clients with the added value that new trends and technological innovations can offer to enhance the processes and experiences.
So, what will the bank of the future be like? What are the trends and changes that will determine the way we’ll manage our finances tomorrow?
We’ll be able to conduct voice-activated banking operations
So far, very few banks have applied certain technologies that are already coming on strong in consumer markets, such as voice assistants.
These days, many consumers (25 percent in the US, according to Bain & Company) use plug-ins such as Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant on their smartphones, as well as Alexa or Google Home at home (almost a fifth of them).
Many banks have implemented this technology in their innovation projects, but so far only a few, like Santander UK, Capital One and USAA, are really applying it in the market. This strikes as surprising, since almost 25 percent of consumers in Australia, UK and US say they would be willing to use this type of technology for their future banking operations. There’s no doubt that in just a few years, this trend will be a reality.
Chatbots will become an actual financial advisors and the experiences will be more personalized
Developments in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have allowed increasingly more banks to create chatbots via IA. Through them, it is possible to cut down costs and help more and more tech-savvy consumers.
This has streamlined bilateral communication, in many cases, it has even replaced some channels, like cellphones, email or text messages. Allowing customers to ask questions or request for services using normal language.
Consequently, in recent years, the number of banks that have adopted automated conversational agents has increased. A survey about the industry revealed that “three out of four financial institutions consider chatbot as a lucrative investment opportunity.”
Nowadays, this technology is mainly being used to provide clients with an agile service and help them when they make a transaction since it takes on a variety of tasks such as answering inquiries about balances, bank accounts details, loan questions and more.
This way, customer service managers can have more time to solve more complex problems. Yet, this technology has a greater potential for enhancing its capabilities.
As IA continues to advance, chatbots are being less of a complement to customer service and information. They are becoming actual financial assistants.
By containing the necessary historical data, behavioral predictive software and other intelligent analysis platforms, chatbots will be able to detect customer consumption habits, provide them with personalized financial advice and help them manage and save money.
In Aivo, we are already creating and perfecting these applications for some of our clients in the financial industry, who not only want to improve the experience of their clients, but want to give them greater autonomy to make smarter decisions when it comes to spending their money.
Subsidiaries will assume new functions and provide services in a personalized and digital way
I’m not one to believe that bank branches will someday disappear. Costumers in the banking sector are not yet ready to live without them.
Indeed, according to a recent study conducted by Accenture, easy access to branches is the third most important reason that justifies customer loyalty towards banks. But as more and more banking services are provided through the internet, customers want branches to offer them with an experience that combines the physical and digital in an efficient way, especially, when it comes to attending different age groups.
As we’ve mentioned before, automated banking services counseling is spreading. But it hasn’t, nor will it ever, completely replace human counseling.
Daily transactions and banking operations, such as transfers, deposits and account opening will be carried out more and more often through digital media. As for branches, they will become the place where you can go only to receive counseling on complex issues and to solve problems.
Despite the manifested interest of customers in seeing more automated assistance platforms. One of the most important features a subsidiary should have in the future is the ability to file a complaint (67 percent) or asking for a human advisor to help with complex products, such as mortgages (61 percent).
Many banks have already opened a wide range of subsidiaries. Some of them with ATMs, others with high tech and very interesting digital integrations, and others, with very few or none at all ATMs. We will witness the evolution of branches taking on new functions.
Consumers will define the experience
We make a lot of banking tasks and transactions, from the usual payment of bills to credit card complaints. To solve these very different types of situations, it is necessary to use different management strategies. Plus, not every client is the same and they shouldn’t be treated as such.
Yes, in the next few years, we’ll see how banks continue to adopt digital technologies, making the usual interactions easy and practical, enhancing the service experience related to more complex and higher-risk situations.
Banks will increasingly take advantage of opportunities to implement automated and self-service services. Because the truth is that we don’t want to waste time either.
We will see that banks will encourage us to test digital technologies and self-service systems, but we will also see them improve integrations with other types of customer service, for example, via telephone, messaging, personally, and we will see them develop an increasingly omnichannel approach to banking operations to provide us with more options.
After all, adopting a flexible and agile system is essential when adding value to the customer. Taking advantage of technological innovations is the only way to become a smart and competitive bank of the future.
Martín Frascaroli os Co-Founder and CEO of Aivo—a company specializing in creating customer solutions through Artificial Intelligence.
Translated by Alejandra Rodríguez