In my first blog in this 3-part series, I discussed the advantages of automating mundane, repeatable transaction tasks to free up humans to tackle creative, value-add activities. This blog also arises from a panel discussion I took part in during the recent Future of Digital Banking conference in London.
The panel discussion, “The human vs. the automated: understanding where each adds value,” explored opportunities in automating processes and how they fit alongside changing customer-facing roles in digital banking and financial services.
Automated computer applications can zip through transaction calculations and identify patterns and trends. These strengths make them perfect for tasks such as online and mobile banking and investment services maintenance, data quality and transfer checks, fraud detection and financial settlements. However, they can do much, much more. Automation, working hand in hand with your valuable staff, can elevate customer service to a whole new level. And as you know, today’s competitive world is all about relationship management.
Automation combined with artificial intelligence applications can track customer history and identify behavioral patterns. Through personalization and contextualization, cognitive computing can flesh out who your customers really are, their priorities, where they are in their life journey, and even more importantly, anticipate where they might be heading.
Smart digital channels with automated intelligent systems such as chat bots (virtual service agents) —Siri being the world’s most famous example—can enable and improve the quality of convenient, real-time customer interactions.
So where does the vital need for human interaction fit in? Figuring out complex patterns can be done by machines in the blink of an eye, but making sense of information and deriving “Ahha!” insights, at this point, are what we humans do best. Judging the tone and true purposes of customer communications, responding to queries, and taking the initiative in solving problems to win hearts and minds can only be done by skilled, trained staff. When all is said and done, people still want to talk or communicate with people when it comes to issues that are important to them, and finances are right up there on the pyramid of top concerns.
As part of the strategic move to automation, financial institutions will need to retrain and refocus more of their workforce to successfully handle person-to-person interactions and develop a better sense of customer empathy.
Let me know your thoughts on this subject, and stay tuned for my final financial services automation blog on training the workforce to successfully operate in a digital, customer-centric world.