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Banking on Digital Transformation

Banking on Digital Transformation

Banking on Digital Transformation

How financial services can use tools like Conversational AI and Agent Assist AI.

Financial institutions are in the midst of a significant digital transformation, moving to provide a seamless, omnichannel customer experience (CX), enabled by solutions that can also provide excellent employee experiences (EXs). This transformation is being made possible by new, advanced artificial intelligence (AI)-driven technologies like Conversational AI and Agent Assist AI.

At the same time, financial institutions are faced with significant headwinds, even as customer expectations have never been higher.

Customers demand self-service options and want the freedom and flexibility to pick and choose.

On a macro level, uncertainty is driven by a rapidly-changing interest rate environment and the unfortunate news about the failure of a small number of regional banks. On a micro level, these institutions are under pressure from rising costs, staffing shortages, and regulatory burdens.

So, in seeking to understand these issues, and to find out how financial services businesses can benefit from digital transformation, we asked ourselves several questions.

Q. What are the key customer and employee experience trends, challenges, but also opportunities facing financial services firms and their drivers?

Customers today expect a personalized, convenient retail-like experience in any service they use - both online and in-person - including financial services.

Customers demand self-service options and want the freedom and flexibility to pick and choose. As such, an agent or enterprise user is required to have the knowledge to deliver a successful voice, SMS, or chat session to meet customer expectations. These interactions can be challenging to provide and typically require long onboarding timeframes to deliver consistently across all agents and platforms.

Many financial services firms have or are undergoing digital transformations that utilize AI to meet this challenge and support their customers 24/7. These institutions understand the value of personalization and digital-first communications as the solution to delivering the best experience for customers and employees.

Q. How can Conversational AI help financial services, and for which departments and functions?

Banks and financial institutions can leverage Conversational AI to transform the call center, enhance customer service, improve technical support, automate workflows, and streamline employee communications.

Having modern natural language processing (NLP), Generative AI, and machine learning (ML) capabilities, Conversational AI chatbots can ensure personalized and consistent experiences by imitating human-like interactions across multiple channels.

Together with shortening calls and sessions, Conversational AI can also significantly improve agent productivity...

These AI strategies and features can be used to improve customer engagement and build CX strategies to drive customer retention and acquisition. AI-powered solutions can also help in preventing and detecting fraud attempts by empowering customers with personalized and timely notifications.

Scalability is another benefit associated with Conversational AI-enabled communication platforms, as these platforms can easily address multiple queries at the same time, across any communication channel.

Together with shortening calls and sessions, Conversational AI can also significantly improve agent productivity and allow these skilled agents to focus on more complicated interactions.

These conversational banking solutions are also integrated within digital channels, including the largest, authenticated online and mobile banking providers in North America. The solutions are available for deployment on public websites and during authenticated online banking sessions as well.

Conversational AI solutions can, and should, be a component of a larger digital customer service (DCS) platform, which offers the customer a single source for their communications with their financial institution, including secure file transfer, email, voice, video, and co-browsing features.

This complete feature set provides a self-serve Conversational AI channel that is fully integrated into the DCS platform to hand over a conversation to human agents when needed.

Q. What benefits does Conversational AI offer in these roles?

Conversational AI-enabled chatbots can help reduce operating expense (OpEx), improve efficiency, and resolve customer inquiries faster. As virtual assistants and chatbots can handle mundane, routine tasks and self-service inquiries, agents can focus on driving superior customer engagements.

From staffing shortages, high customer expectations, and to a potential recession, these solutions are delivering personalized CXs while reducing costs for organizations with the help of AI.

Q. Has ChatGPT-4 bolstered Conversational AI, and if so, how specifically for financial services?

ChatGPT-4 thrust conversational AI into the spotlight, and as one of the fastest-growing apps in history, it simply cannot be ignored. While ChatGPT-4 is an excellent tool, it is not yet perfect, and in our arena, that means delivering a seamless, secure, and accurate experience.

For example, Generative AI can create content that goes well beyond what any human can create alone. And it can often deliver it in a human-like way. The challenge though is that it lacks human touch and is sometimes biased without the full context that is often required with complex workflows necessary in banking relationships.

Q. What are the challenges in enabling and using Conversational AI and what are the solutions?

There are always development and execution hurdles when it comes to applying AI and training untrained models in different scenarios. Also, building a Conversational AI-enabled model involves a combination of ML, large language models, NLP, speech-to-text, text-to-speech, and other AI techniques.

Additionally, there are significant challenges that can’t be overlooked — first and foremost — and these are ensuring security, compliance, and privacy.

Being one of the most highly regulated sectors, financial institutions need to keep up with ever-changing regulations and industry standards. Conversational AI-enabled platforms should maintain industry-leading privacy and security practices and must attest to compliance through formal certifications and audits to prevent any security-related risk or crisis.

Suppliers have created and deployed AI services that fit their processes and align with their high-security standards, including HITRUST certification. Regardless of if they offer their own organic AI capabilities or are utilizing those from high-quality AI partners as part of a library of bots. With a security-first mindset, these vendors host the software, maintain the servers, and oversee the databases and code.

...there are significant challenges that can’t be overlooked...and these are ensuring security, compliance, and privacy.

Q. What, if any, legal/regulatory/privacy requirements exist with deploying and using this technology in the U.S. and Canada?

Leading suppliers’ products are actually designed with highly regulated industries in mind, specifically financial services including banks, credit unions, insurance, commercial banks, and wealth management firms. The top companies have considerable track records in serving this industry and are aware of what it takes to protect and encrypt sensitive data.

For that reason, these companies took the time and made the investment to have their processes SOC 2 and HITRUST r2-certified. Some of the most comprehensive security protocols are in place to ensure alignment with these certifications.

Most critically, the top solutions are designed with compliance in mind, so all messaging and voice conversations, and other communications are recorded by default. And these recordkeeping timelines can be tailored to the demands of the customer.

In fact, these leading suppliers use customer data to train the model for that specific customer, they do not combine customer data into a single model. The result of this practice is an AI model that is specific to the clients’ business and their customers.

...financial services firms should prioritize transitioning...to an AI-driven cloud-based modern communications platform.

Q. What are your recommendations to financial services firms, and in particular for their contact centers?

We’re living in a hyper-connected digital world, and consumers today crave a unified experience across all channels. Banks, credit unions, and financial services firms must realize that multiple vendors, dated technology, and a non-integrated communication approach can impact their EX.

To enhance contact center operations and agent performance, financial services firms should prioritize transitioning from on-premise legacy technology communications systems to an AI-driven cloud-based modern communications platform. In this highly regulated industry, it is also important to consider a vendor that is committed to following best practices for privacy, security, and compliance.

By enabling a frictionless experience across distributed and hybrid teams, across branch locations, remote, and corporate offices, and for customers, these firms can reduce OpEx, reduce liabilities, and optimize resources. All leading to enhanced CX and EX along with building trust.

With integrated full messaging and collaboration tools and intelligent digital assistants (IDAs), omnichannel communication platforms are designed to offer AI-enabled, hyper-personalized services to fulfill conversational banking needs, and beyond.

Patrick Reetz

Patrick Reetz

As Chief Product and Marketing Officer at LinkLive, Patrick Reetz is responsible for leading teams in designing, building, and optimizing solutions across physical and digital channels in efforts to deliver meaningful results for LinkLive’s customers and shareholders. Patrick executes LinkLive’s vision and helps drive growth through collaboration and an innovative approach.

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