Using intelligent automation in banking to transform the customer journey


Banks are fighting a lonely battle.

There’s uncertainty about rates, regulators, and the global economy – and that’s just to begin with. Amidst all this turmoil, there’s one thing that’s certain – customers hold the key to the future. And their demands or expectations are constantly on the rise.

With the low-hanging fruit of digital transformation used one too many times in the post COVID era, banks are expected to deliver distinctive experiences at scale to their customers. Sample this – out of 50 largest global banks, three out of four now pledge themselves to some form of customer experience transformation.

What’s the need for great customer experience?

A great customer experience or CX doesn’t exist for the feel-good factor. It is directly related to delivering measurable business results. For instance,

  • when compared to their competitors, banks with higher customer satisfaction grow deposits 85% more quickly.
  • 50% of customers would buy a product from their bank through a personalized offer.
  • 49% of customers say instant support is vital in building loyalty.

It’s a given that any bank or financial institution that offers a supreme level of customer experience will –

  • Easily retain old customers and attract new customers
  • Become the single provider for multiple banking requirements
  • Eventually, persuade customers to purchase bigger ticket products/services
  • Find that their services are being talked about by customers, thereby gaining word-of-mouth publicity

How can intelligent automation pave the way for successful customer experiences across banks?

Banking tech has become a $500 billion industry. This growth can be attributed to incredible solutions such as an award-winning virtual financial assistant Erica.

The virtual assistant surpassed 1 billion interactions with Bank of America clients. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), it was officially launched in 2018 and has since helped nearly 32 million clients with their everyday financial needs.

Here are some noteworthy milestones since its launch:

  • More than 98% of customers receive the answers they need.
  • Customers viewed 37 million proactive insights helpful for scrutinizing finances
  • Over 4 million notifications about reward eligibility helped customers enroll in program
  • In the first half of 2023, it will connect clients to financial specialists when they have questions about new products and services

Digital transformation initiatives like Erica lets traditional banks reimagine the banking experience by reducing friction and eliminating what’s often labeled as a cumbersome process. It allows them to offer a more personalized customer experience at various touchpoints by seamlessly integrating everything into a single platform.

We’ve already seen the use of tech, including RPA (Robotic Process Automation) in banking. The next step is to embrace deep tech including intelligent automation across various processes as in the long term, these will dictate the direction the entire BFSI industry will take.

For example, IBM has an integrated solution that is built using IBM Cloud® Paks. Cloud Paks are AI-powered software for hybrid cloud that can help banks fully implement intelligent workflows to accelerate digital transformation. These IBM Cloud Paks tap into the power of IBM Watson® to apply AI to business components such as Trade Finance.

That said, let’s take a quick look at how banks can leverage intelligent automation to enhance customer journeys:

  • Forecasting – Data science is increasingly being used by banks to evaluate and forecast client needs. Data science is a new field in the banking business that uses mathematical algorithms to find patterns and forecast trends.
  • Monitoring Customer Feedback – Machine learning algorithms and techniques enable you to analyze customer experiences, creating a foundation to improve the effectiveness of service strategies and product offerings.
  • Seamless Lending Operations – Intelligent automation can quickly retrieve relevant data from both structured and unstructured loan documents then automate entry of this data into the loan processing and account opening systems thereby accelerating the commercial lending lifecycle.
  • Payment Investigations and Repair – Intelligent automation can be used to alert or send responses after detecting missing or incorrect account numbers. Similar discrepancies across payment processing issues can be easily detected by smart banking tech to send automated responses. This helps in settling claims of non-receipt of funds by beneficiaries.

Calling it a day

The banks have been in the rough seas for a long time. Some of the significant challenges faced by them include negative interest rates, new and foreign competitors, changed customer behavior, increased transparency, and increasing regulation. Therefore, accelerating digital transformation in banking is indispensable for the industry’s survival and growth. Ultimately, banks need to focus on the fact that customer experience is about improving customers’ lives and creating value. And intelligent automation tech is the way forward.

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