5 ways banks can use AI to better serve their customers

19 November 2020 Consultancy.uk

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence – or AI – and deeper AI techniques including machine learning and deep learning are touted to transform the banking industry. An overview of five ways how banks can use the technologies for a better customer experience. 

What is AI? In simple terms, it’s a machine able to independently do things that normally would require the assistance of a human. Understanding language, for example. Today’s AIs are not only able to understand you, but they know what you’re probably going to say next.

The banking sector is embracing AI technology. The clearest way AI or machine learning is manifesting is by “AI bankers” deciding what you need – based on what you’ve needed before. Machine learning works for “mistakes,” too; each time you don’t do what the AI expected, it learns from that experience and tabulates it into the next interaction. 

5 ways banks can use AI to better serve their customers

There is a wealth of additional info on exactly which banks are offering what specific AI or automated services, but overall, here are the five most cited use cases for how artificial intelligence and machine learning are being used specifically to improve services for customers.

Chatbots

Some may have a negative association with the word “chatbot,” but that’s likely because they’re thinking of the old voice recognition technology used by large organisations, which almost never understood what was said. An AI-powered chatbot, is a radical step forward and offers real time answers. It’s sometimes hard to remember it’s a machine interacting with you as today’s AI tech is just so… “conversational.”

As noted above, every time you interact, the AI remembers and learns. So, don’t be surprised when you start getting banking suggestions from your bank’s chatbot.

Safe banking via telephone

Older systems relied on wave-length audio cues, meaning it was really a toss-up as to whether the machine understood that you wanted “three,” or “twenty-three.” Now that AI is actually understanding you, customers can feel safe that when you call your bank, it’s not guessing at your identity, or not mishearing a PIN number. 

Mobile banking

Some – especially in Asia and parts of Europe – have gone completely digital and almost never step foot in an actual brick-and-mortar bank. But almost all of us are starting to access accounts or pay bills via a bank’s app or website. AI is collecting, comparing, confirming and creating new “memories” of you and your account as your use a website or app.

Loans

If you’ve ever applied for a loan, you might remember it as an unpleasant process. People naturally worry that they may not be “putting their best foot forward” as they plead their case. It’s a relief for many that AI machines are beginning to process requests for loans, credit card applications and even mortgages. Knowing that the AI is only looking at the facts and can’t have a “bad hair day” is reassuring. 

AI isn’t making all the final decisions, but it’s making strong recommendations that are almost certainly more accurate – not to mention faster – than what a human loan officer can render. 

Managing your money or investments

There will likely soon come a time when almost no one will take the word of some “stock guru over the algorithms of an AI. Why try to beat a system that can monitor the markets in near real-time and make predictions that are guaranteed to improve the longer you use it?

New technology always takes some time to get used to, learn how to use and trust. Especially when it comes to hard-earned money. The year 2020 may have pushed some into accepting the future as in many places, banks either reduced hours or shut their doors for extended periods. Millions of Brits are already using mobile banking, and numbers from China dwarf those. 

There are privacy concerns; at least from older customers. Most research indicates, however, that close to 70 percent of millennials are fine with allowing smart machines to scan their data in exchange for fast, efficient and 24/7 customer service. Over 40 percent of non-millennials say they accept AI banking and – naturally – those numbers will grow as people become accustomed to it. Some banks are even beginning to offer voice-activated trading, allowing you to respond quickly, should you, for example see a story in a newspaper or on TV that triggers an inspiration to “buy.”

Perhaps the only people who should truly fear AI or machine learning in the banking sector are bankers and bank employees. One ominous prediction has AI eating up well over a million banking industry jobs by 2030.


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