Love my bank.... they're kind, efficient and every year I receive a cute, personalized e-card for my birthday. Do you like yours?
If emotional engagement with customers is increasingly important, if customers reject depersonalization at a visceral level, how can banks and FIs avoid dehumanization as they become more automated, more digitalized, as they increasingly turn to AI to handle the vast amounts of data they collect and collate?
Is it easier said than done? Is it a tautology to expect something to become more personalized as it gets more digitally competent? Words carry meaning beyond their superficial impact. It is significant that the customer, the individual, and his feelings are reduced to a global acronym -CX?
The research behind the BAI sponsored Digital Banking Report edition “Humanizing the Digital Banking Experience” suggests that banks are currently looking at, and intending to invest in, and implement, more and advanced digital CX solutions using AI, such as security biometrics, product recommendations and customer support, in the form of chat-bots, digitalized responses etc. Does the customer really want these? Do these really give the customer what he needs? Would the C not get more X if the frustrations and frictions of digital operations were eliminated for him? Or if the services were more relevant to him as an individual?
Banks are slow to take to AI. It is not just the cost. The report showed in 2017 that on 13% of FIs world-wide had adopted AI solutions and that only a further 27% would possibly “do something about it” in the next 18 months. And the most favoured AI solutions were biometrics and security whilst the more personalised real-time product and sevice recommendations were low priorities.
So the FIs priorities are dicatating how AI is employed and on what areas. The common misconception is that AI interprets every button-press, even a mistaken one, every sally for curiosity, that it reduces every action to an algorithm which, once processed, can never be eliminated. The fear, on the part of both FIs and their customers, is that the introduction of more AI will simply further dehumanize the experience of interacting.
The same research suggests that the biggest drawbacks to applying AI solutions are the time involved and employing the staff with the correct and specialised abilities. Because, when push comes to shove, at the beginning and at the end of the automation process of FI services, of the digitalized experience, there are real human beings, complex individuals with personality traits, foibles, failings, aspirations etc.
AI might process more data than a human team can physically manage but it will only process which data it is programmed to collect and collate. The success of an AI program which is not merely technical but personalized must start with the humans at both ends, those who design what the AI is intended to do and those who receive and interpret the service. That puts the human element right back into AI. AI is a tool, not a computerized dictator.
In the days of the first desktop computers, there used to be a saying, “Rubbish in, rubbish out”, which implied that you can't expect the computer to make sense of what you input if what you input was wrong in the first place. The same applies nowadays, only we are dealing with more complex, faster and more intricate technologies. So the teams who set up AI programs have to be fully human, widely educated and totally aware, tuned in empathetically to their customers.
Technical ability alone is not enough. Marketing ability alone is no good either. The design of an AI program geared to FI customer and which is supposedly seeking that elusive CX, needs input from numerous human sciences, social, psychological and neuro, to get a fuller, rounder picture of the customer and his needs.
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