Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Reinventing the banking customer service experience with contextual AI

5 min read

By Elisha Harrington

Emerging technologies in AI are deployed to provide bank customers a seamless and speedy customer service experience. Not only will these solutions help increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, but they make it easier for employees to offer upselling and cross-selling opportunities at just the right time.

I recently called my financial institution to correct what I thought would be a simple issue: a duplicate fee on my credit card bill. After an hour of battling a horrible self-service voice interface and explaining my situation to not one, but two customer service agents, I finally had the issue resolved. But wait—they had one more question for me. Would I be interested in opening a savings account? Seriously? After all that? 

All of us have a few customer service horror stories we could share from all types of companies; but financial service institutions (FSIs) should be especially concerned about negative customer service interactions. A 2019 Bain & Company study found that retail banks are quietly leaking customers, largely because they lag the digital experience offered by fintechs and single-line FSIs.  

What do today’s customers want?  

The same Bain & Company study found that consumers are highly interested in “one-stop shops,” meaning a banking solution where they can find personal credit, manage their finances, run a small business, and access “ecosystems of related services.” Simply put, they want simple, holistic, and streamlined interactions with their bank, the first time and every time.  

The banks that will succeed in meeting their customers’ needs will be those who act fast to build seamless, connected, and end-to-end digital experiences. Not only will these solutions help increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, but they make it easier for employees to offer upselling and cross-selling opportunities at just the right time.   

But how?  

Luckily for today’s FSIs, technology is on their side. There are many emerging technologies that make it possible to create personalised, proactive, and contextual experiences for every customer. And the key is harnessing the vast amounts of structured and unstructured customer data at your disposal.  

Utilise natural language understanding 

Natural language understanding (NLU) is a branch of contextual artificial intelligence (AI) that allows computer software to understand written or spoken customer requests. The “natural” in the name refers to the fact that customers can speak conversationally and the software can understand them.  

When NLU is used effectively, it can improve the customer experience in a couple key ways. First, rather than being limited by “press 1 for your credit limit or 2 for a customer service agent,” customers can begin their conversation with an NLU virtual agent, then be seamlessly transferred to a human agent when a higher level of service is required. Second, in many cases, a virtual agent can resolve issues completely, freeing up agents to spend their time providing focused assistance to customers with more complex problems.  

Find contextual indicators  

NLU and AI can also help bankers identify contextual information that might predict a customer is thinking about leaving the bank. When these behavioural triggers surface, bankers can proactively reach out to customers with targeted retention strategies.  

These same contextual indicators can be used to identify customers who may be receptive to upselling or cross-selling based on recent behaviours. Then, using the wealth of customer data available, banks can approach customers with personalised offers.  

Implementing contextual AI with ServiceNow  

ServiceNow’s Now Platform includes a predictive intelligence function that gives process owners at financial institutions the toolkit they need to build machine learning models based on the outcomes their business needs and value they want to extract out of the data — whether that’s resolving customer service inquiries, retaining customers, or increasing profits through upselling and cross-selling opportunities. 

With ServiceNow’s Financial Services Operations, banks can provide the quality assurance and service excellence to keep their customers happy by using intelligent workflow to provide services that are fast and reliable.  

To learn more about ServiceNow's business model, products and services https://www.servicenow.com/solutions/industry/financial-services.html


Elisha Harrington is the innovation evangelist, chief innovation office of ServiceNow, an American software company that provides a cloud computing platform to help companies manage digital workflows for enterprise operations. The content of this sponsored article belongs to the writer and her organisation and does not reflect the opinion of the publisher.

Keywords: AI, Data, Financial Technology, Customer Service, Cloud Technology
Institution: ServiceNow
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