The Robot Paradox: Using Conversational AI to Make Banking Personal Again

Before smartphones, apps, and Apple Pay, personal banking was, well, personal. You’d drive to your nearest branch, visit a teller or personal banker, and complete transactions or get advice…in person.

Then came digital. According to a recent survey by Citi, 91 percent of mobile banking users prefer using their app over going to a physical branch, and 68 percent of millennials who use mobile banking predict their smartphone will replace their physical wallet in the near future. While banks have succeeded in meeting the demand for digital services, somewhere along the way, the personalized approach got lost.

Despite the increasing preference for digital services, customers still want—and expect—their bank to seamlessly predict and fulfill their requirements in the same way that their Netflix account does. These expectations are not unrealistic—with over two thirds of all consumer monetary transactions occurring digitally, our banks should be able to predict what we want and need.

Customer Expectations for personal banking
Customer Expectation Autonomous vs. Agentive
Customers expect their bank to seamlessly predict and fulfill their requirements in the same way that their Netflix account does.

 

Finance organizations pioneered the use of data analytics to inform business decisions and increase profitability and they have more robust data about customers than any social media site or search engine. Somehow, however, they have been unable to use that information to efficiently anticipate our future financial needs…until now.

To compete for the business of millennials and digital natives, banks are revisiting personal banking and using their data to gain a deeper understanding of customer behavior so they can deliver excellent customer experiences across all channels—whether that be digital or in-branch.

How can conversational AI deliver personal banking experiences?

Banks can integrate AI into digital services in the form of chatbots or virtual financial advisors that understand what the user is trying to say, as well as the context in which they are saying it. Fintech innovators like Finn AI have built scalable conversational AI technology that banks can white label and deploy to customers easily.

This technology can be leveraged to combine historical interactions with current customer data to proactively provide personalized support, offers, or information like never before. When powered by AI, virtual financial advisors can support more complex interactions than a regular banking application as they can emulate human-to-human conversations.

A financial advisor in your pocket

A virtual financial advisor with AI can learn customer behaviors by analyzing past interactions. It will use this data to provide budget planning advice and tips to help customers manage their finances more efficiently.

Imagine having an expert financial advisor at your fingertips at all times! Thanks to AI, customers at ATB Financial already have. Likewise, BMO launched BMO Bolt™ a virtual assistant to engage with their customers via natural language conversations, directly within Facebook Messenger.

Customers at these innovative banks can chat with their virtual financial assistants to bank whenever and wherever works best for them. Beyond a Q&A chatbot, these AI-powered assistants can offer sophisticated personal financial management tools 
tailored to fit the needs of each individual customer.

Discussing debt with a bot can feel safer, less shameful, and allow the user to be completely honest.

 

AI can be more human than humans in some scenarios

Researchers discovered that, in some scenarios, people are more honest when dealing with non-human entities.  People can feel uncomfortable discussing personal finance—particularly debt—with other people and may even hide some details, such as how much they really owe, from a human financial advisor. Discussing debt with a bot can feel safer, less shameful, and allow the user to be completely honest so that the bank can give them advice that will suit their needs best.

 

According to Accenture, banks that invest in AI and human-machine collaboration could boost their revenue by 34 percent by 2022.

 

Personal banking with AI makes good business sense

It’s not only the customers that benefit from more personal service with conversational AI. Adopting AI to enhance customer experience can deliver solid business results. According to Accenture, banks that invest in AI and human-machine collaboration at the same rate as top-performing businesses could boost their revenue by 34 percent and their employment by 14 percent by 2022.

As AI and cognitive systems become more advanced, chatbots will become smarter over time giving banks the opportunity to facilitate deeper, more meaningful customer relationships and build brand differentiation, higher loyalty, and retention.

Thinking about your AI strategy? Watch this on-demand webinar to learn more: Overpromised & Underdelivered: Common Misconceptions About Conversational AI for Banking

For more details, download Artificial Intelligence in Banking or contact Finn AI.
Pam Seale
Pam Seale is currently the head of global marketing and communications strategies at Finn AI. Pam connects technology change makers with audiences eager for news about innovations that will influence and reshape their daily lives. When she isn’t at her day job, Pam is active in the arts, culture, and music communities of her native Vancouver, B.C.