Banks that aren’t proactive in adopting the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology for customer service risk losing those customers. That’s because many online-only banks and others are investing in automated assistants that improve customer interactions by predicting why customers are contacting the bank and resolving the issue quickly, according to Servion Global Solutions.
“Our philosophy is that a customer has a reason for making contact with his bank and over a period of time, as the interaction history builds up, the bank should be able to predict why the customer is calling, regardless of the channel being used,” says Ashish Koul, Servion senior vice president and general manager. “Instead of letting the customer go into [interactive voice response] mumbo jumbo of pressing 1 for this and pressing 2 for that … you have a virtual assistant, which is intelligent, powered by analytics and can either solve the problem or connect the customer to the most qualified human when that interaction requires it.”
Servion predicts AI will support 95 percent of customer interactions with banks by 2025. The company’s ServIntuit platform provides the context of previous customer interactions across channels to make the virtual assistant more intelligent, the company says. Servion works with three of the world’s top banks. One banking client’s customer satisfaction rating jumped from 77 percent to 86 percent after integrating Servion’s platform.
Koul tells Paybefore that AI is “the next big thing” because it reduces the use of the most expensive customer service option—human interaction. But a customer service platform that can learn and assist with a growing number of customer inquiries and issues can reserve the most complex issues for human customer service. “We’ve seen banks and others come forward very aggressively on adopting these AI platforms and making it a part of their digital agenda.”
More than half of FIs (55 percent) plan to increase spending on customer experience initiatives in 2017, trailing only cybersecurity (57 percent) and information technology (56 percent), according to an annual banking survey by CSI, a provider of financial technology solutions.
AI-powered chat bots are gaining momentum in financial services and payments. Last year Bank of America announced a bot, or virtual assistant, to help customers with their banking, and London-based fintech startup Cleo launched a virtual money assistant on Facebook Messenger. On the payments side, Mastercard announced a bot running on various messaging platforms, enabling consumers to converse with merchants, shop and make purchases using Masterpass. Also, Facebook Messenger announced a chat bot capability enabling consumers to make payments within Messenger threads.
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