Topics such as artificial intelligence and digital banking were under focus in the weeks surrounding IBM Think Summit event, held the last 26th of June here in Milan. Industry leaders and vanguard entrepreneurs made the best of it with talks and interviews, and, of course, Chatbots and integrated customer support software were on the front lines once again.
Banks have to keep at it
It cannot be denied that recent years have shown banks and the financial sector to be aware of the changes occurring in society. To prove it, they have started to develop awareness of the value that innovative technology can have in improving the industry.
However, business leaders claim that the experimentation-only season of the industry is closing, forcing banks to move onto a stage of co-creation in an innovation ecosystem.
"It is necessary that digital innovative initiatives level up and have a systemic impact" said Eugenio Cervetto, executive financial services partner of IBM Global Business Services in Italy.
"I see four very strong trends" he claims.
The first trend is related to artificial and cognitive intelligence, while the second regards customer experience and interactions. The final trends concern the renewal and simplification of the core systems in place in the industry, and the spread of blockchain and DLT that enables open interaction ecosystems between supply chain actors.
Artificial and Cognitive Intelligence
The first trend that is noticed is the development of artificial intelligence for the banking sector. First of all, cognitive and artificial intelligence are pushing not only towards new business models, but also to a change in the cooperation paradigm between client and financial operator.
There are three uses for this technology in the banking sector. Customer engagement and interactions, automation of operations, and compliance.
The first category addresses the need to create a meaningful relationship with the organisation's clients, in which cognitive intelligence can be used to create profiles, offer customisable offers and streamline recommendation proposals to transform them into a more useful tool for the organisation and, most importantly, for the customer.
This category includes vanguard technologies such as chatbots, virtual agents and conversational systems, which are widely employed across many sectors of business because of their highly evident advantages and state of the art benefits.
This field of application for the technology is very promising, by enabling bots to automate repetitive processes that allow real human agents to focus on the more complex actions that clients may require in-depth assistance with, to achieve a higher level of efficiency in the customer experience process. It also improves processing times and provides a way for customers to receive real-time solutions with no wait time - or almost none - greatly increasing their perceived quality of customer service and establishing a more positive view of the organisation.
Finally, the application of this technology in relation to compliance is especially tempting for the banking sector, allowing for improved regulatory measures and the ability to improve fraud detection processes, which make up a significant risk factor for the industry's business, judging by a 2018 study from Crowe Clark Whitehill that discovered fraud costs £110 billion in the UK alone, and a whooping £3.2 trillion globally.
Customer Experience and Interactions
Cervetto continues, "then there is certainly the theme of customer experience and customer interaction: the use of exponential technologies and emotion-creating tools around customer experience is giving rise to relational mechanisms and interactions that are completely different from the past."
In regards to customer interactions, it comes as no surprise that these trends go hand in hand with a new panorama in which customers have adopted digital solutions as part of their everyday life and now expect banks to provide them with the same comfort and accessibility as big tech companies. Although modern interactions with banks are digitally rich, they still have a large margin for growth in the future.
Despite the complexity of costly systems and processes, the spread of open mobile banking and API-based approaches will surely speed innovation up across the sector. Innovation is also visible in KYC (know your customer) solutions and in insurance claims, all of which is made possible thanks to the adoption of artificial intelligence, video-assisted customer interactions and all the possibilities that integrated customer support platforms such as Vivocha offer the industry.
While the systems in place around the banking industry, the controls and the processes that are required for the correct functioning of the business are undeniably complex, it does not mean that innovation is impossible.
Not by a long shot.
In fact, many organisations try to take a step back from innovation because they place focus on the cost that it has for such a complicated industry, however, it only takes looking at the evidence to realise that integrated customer support platforms, like Vivocha, do not incur a cost for the company, but rather an investment in loyalty customer satisfaction.
Besides, the new technologies acting on society have caused a change which is irreversible and the only possible path is to move forward.
Do you want to be on the frontlines of innovation too?