Banking has always been about relationships, but now customers are more likely to reach for their mobile than head to their local branch. Does this mean it’s inevitable that the personal touch will disappear from banking?
We don’t think so. We believe the personal touch is central to all banking channels. The rise of digital and mobile banking, chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) is not a reason to give up on rewarding customer relationships. On the contrary, when the bank employees are empowered with the right data these technologies become the backbone of sales and customer retention.
Just because technology drives efficiency, it doesn’t mean it has to be impersonal. An AI-driven end-to-end customer journey leads to a seamless, engaging and frustration-free experience. By capturing customer needs and owning personalised insights, banks are ideally placed to master the art of understanding customers and tailoring offers around their needs, emotions and preferences.
Let’s look at one such customer journey. It started with a chance encounter with an AI-powered chatbot, but led to a branch visit, a cross-sell, reduced churn, a deeper customer relationship and enhanced employee experience.
Maybe married life was changing him already, but Sean wasn’t as engaged in the football match as much as usual, his team was already close to winning with three goals. From his seat in the noisy stadium, he passed the time by checking to see if his new joint bank account was up and running. It was; but he also noticed something else. He'd received a mortgage offer. This is something Sean’s actually interested in. And, it’s an excellent rate.
Sean decides to use the chatbot rather than trying to call the bank from the football stadium. After updating the details of his new job and salary, he makes an appointment at a branch of his choice and with an adviser he’s met once before. That was easy.
Sean had already set a goal for himself to save for the mortgage down payment by using the personal finance management tools of the application. He didn’t have to tell his bank he was in the market for a mortgage. The AI figured it out, plus he’d also set up a joint account, triggering the mortgage offer.
At the branch, the facial recognition system identifies Sean in the lobby. On his dashboard, the greeter can see that Sean has a mortgage appointment. He also has a complete overview of all his accounts and transactions.
That means he can make Sean feel welcome with a personalised greeting, congratulating him on his recent marriage and a new job. While Sean’s waiting for his appointment, the greeter takes the opportunity to validate the AI-identified compliance and know your customer (KYC) updates.
Sean’s adviser has all the information he needs in customer-relationship management. He can see Sean’s savings, relationships and upcoming life event predictions. He’s even integrated it with LinkedIn and discovered they went to the same university – that’s a great icebreaker for their conversation and helps to deepen the relationship.
Everything’s in place for Sean’s mortgage offer based on his chatbot conversation and interaction with the greeter at the bank – all he has to do is digitally sign. He’s impressed with how quick and easy it is.
The bank adviser spots that he has a happy and engaged customer standing before him, so he decides to bring up something he noticed in the financial health check he undertook in preparation for the meeting. Sean’s credit card use has reduced significantly. When Sean admits he has a better offer from another provider, his adviser – now operating in ‘Universal Banker’ mode – suggests competitive cash back and, with Sean’s agreement, immediately activates the offer.
Sean’s had an satisfying customer experience. An AI-generated offer convinced him to visit a bank branch. During that visit, the team sold him a mortgage product and retained his credit card business through more AI-generated offers, presented at just the right time.
Facial recognition technology and AI identified compliance and KYC updates, which saved time. They also allowed Sean’s fully prepared adviser to focus on building an added-value relationship, rather than spending time updating financial information. With a holistic view of the customer, the branch team transformed the customer experience with friendly, relevant and rewarding conversations.
Throughout the process, VeriPark's AI-infused scheduling and surfacing of relevant data gave a seamless experience across multiple channels. With one end-to-end interface, the bank provided consistent and integrated offerings, regardless of the channel Sean used. Breaking down channel barriers also transformed the employee experience; no more switching between screens or frustrating duplications and lots more genuine relationship building.
New technology might mean fewer human interactions in banking – but it also enables your branch and contact center teams to capitalise on those interactions they do come across.
Wim Geukens is the managing director at VeriPark Europe
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