How can financial services stay human in the era of digital-only banking?

Banks represent decades of trust and expertise, and these are human values which will always be essential to banking. But the personal interaction between a client and their bank is rapidly shifting from physical branches to online spaces. Accordingly, banks have been investing heavily in digital transformations to keep pace. They now need to bridge both digital and human communication scenarios.

If banks can leverage their established expertise and use their digital investments efficiently, they can deliver a customer experience that rivals a branch visit. This is the aspiration!

When we think about how to apply new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), it’s vital to keep this overall aim of improving customer experience. Banks have historically looked at technology as a means to drive efficiency, rather than enhance the customer experience and make it truly personal.

Helping banking customers with self-service is a good starting point to link the core requirement for process efficiency with improving experience at the same time. Customers stranded in the middle of a digital transaction may actually need human help. They are not going to appreciate an attempt at digital efficiency if they can’t get their job done. Further, a blindly automated solution such as virtual assistants with rigid scripted answers will make the experience worse, if the customer really just wants to speak to a person who understands their issue in depth.

As an example, according to Forrester, the majority of chatbot deployments provide poor escalation paths to agents. 60% of chatbot deployments in 2019 will not have effective live-agent safety nets attached to web chat sessions. The challenge is to bring AI and human advice together so that digital is building personal, meaningful relationships, rather than leaving customers isolated.

Viewpoint: Richard Dratva – Chief Strategy Officer, CREALOGIX

Challenger banks and fintechs impress with innovative design and mobile app features, but this isn’t the full story. Established financial institutions have a huge store of trust among customers, and newcomers can’t simply establish this overnight.

While it’s essential to deliver a modern user experience to keep customers loyal, established banks and wealth managers should look at ways to leverage digital channels to reinforce their long-standing reputation and trust. Everything that improves proximity to customers and strengthens relationships will be a good move.

In private banking and wealth management, where advisor expertise is essential to the value proposition, technology should bring customers closer to this value, not distance them from it.

Pure automation is for non-value-adding tasks, not about trying to replace human expertise. Integrated digital channels should give customers access to expertise in a way that reinforces trust and engagement. “Conversational banking” is truly an inspiring concept to aspire to!

Omnichannel must include human communications

Transactions, like paying a bill or transferring money, can fit into a customer’s daily life asynchronously – whenever they want to fit it in. Being able to choose when and where to perform money management tasks is a key component of customer convenience. But a complex financial life event like buying a home typically requires sitting down with a human being and getting advice. Digital solutions that address these scenarios need to bridge the digital-human gap so that the digital and face-to-face communication stages can complement and support the other.

Customers themselves are driving this need for well-designed human interactions as part of an omnichannel banking or wealth management service. We’ve worked with hundreds of financial institutions over the last decade and they’ve consistently told us the same thing – customers want the convenience of the digital channels, but they also want the personal touch that comes with speaking to someone knowledgeable at their bank or wealth manager.

In our opinion, a meaningful conversation is the vehicle to create the hybrid experience customers are looking for. This conversation can begin in digital channels, and resume in digital channels after a face-to-face meeting or call. As well as convenient mobile and online interactions, the customer experiences loyalty-building, personal interactions in the form of real conversations.

When it’s calibrated for human interaction, conversational banking can offer both “high tech” and “high touch”, opening new ways for building relationships between the bank and the customer. Relationships are getting more valuable in an era where customers are getting less attentive, and with a more and more crowded fintech ecosystem competing for that scarce attention.

To be relevant in the digital era, banks must seize the opportunity of becoming long-term financial partners to their customers. If they can evolve with the times, and leverage both their financial expertise and the latest in technology, customers will reward them with their trust and loyalty.

About Unblu

Unblu is a conversational and collaboration solution that empowers financial institutions to make every online conversation meaningful and profitable. By using Unblu, they increase online conversions, deliver better and more efficient customer experiences, and build successful business relationships.

Conversational banking integrations are available with all of the platforms for banking and wealth management offered by CREALOGIX. Talk to us today to set up a demo.