In mid-June in Boca Raton, finance professionals, fintech experts and tech futurists gathered to talk about the future of banking. The Digital Banking Conference, hosted by American Banker, was a three-day event that focused largely on the emerging role of artificial intelligence (AI). I was glad to be there with my colleagues Rab Govil, CEO; Michael Bedard, Managing Director; and Andrew Roth, Senior Sales Engineer, for some real insights regarding opportunities in the banking industry.
This event featured multiple demos of leading technologies. Rab and Andrew took the stage and did a well-received demo of our AI-enabled solution suite. It’s a true banking customer relationship solution from product and pricing through offer management and includes the necessary disclosures, customer fulfillment, and communications all in one intuitive platform. You can watch the demo recording here.
There were also a host of speakers from the highest ranks of banking, technology and even politics. The focus for everyone was the same:
- How can technology help us become more customer-focused?
- How will the rapid evolution in AI change the way we do business?
Here are takeaways from the sessions and conversations I had.
Using Technology to Become More Customer-Focused
“It’s all about the customer experience,” Michael said when I asked him to sum up our time at the conference. “It’s about how everything works together to make the customers feel connected and to increase engagement and loyalty.”
Banks have to create meaningful insights and turn that into real value for their customers, and a key point from Digital Banking was that technology–particularly AI–can be used to boost the customer experience.
By anticipating their needs, and offering them actual personalized advice, support and rewards, banks can create a genuinely cohesive financial ecosystem for customers. Through this personalized experience, customers will see that they can rely on one institution for products including checking accounts, business accounts, credit cards, and loans.
Michelle Moore from Wells Fargo noted that you have to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology when thinking about customer engagement in the digital channel. She eloquently spoke about three concepts in thinking about the approach banks need to take in online banking:
- Create fans for life – think about Apple and how they create an ecosystem that motivates and captivates customers
- Make it easy and fast – Amazon was the example with one-click ordering and suggestions based on what you’re shopping for
- Beauty has power – She spoke about the fashion brand Zara and its use of “immersive visuals” and “sleek design”
The Limits of Rapidly-Evolving AI and the Importance of People
Generative AI helps financial services marketing teams create personalized marketing communications. The technology analyzes large datasets of customer data and profiles, recognizes patterns, and dynamically generates content tailored to individual preferences and needs. Customers receive more targeted offerings that align with their unique financial goals and preferences. The results? Improved customer engagement, increased trust, and enhanced brand loyalty.
Of course, this also has some drawbacks.
As said above, AI uses patterninference and culls data from millions of interactions to “understand” a customer’s issues. It doesn’t actually “know” that a family has two kids in college and that their mortgage payments increased. It doesn’t understand life events or daily challenges. It’s just about pattern detection and logical inference.
That’s why the usage of AI has to be closely monitored. Banks want to avoid giving customers a hyper-targeted feeling, and need to keep people involved in the customer relationship. One of the ways to address this (and a discussion topic at the conference) involves “channel shifting.” Channel shifting is a combination of technology and human-interaction. Here’s how it works: customers begin a journey in one channel (AI chatbot, for example), but then switch over to a banking representative. As one of the conference speakers said, up to 4 in 5 customers engage in channel shifting during customer service interactions. Experts recommend that an AI program has to support and augment people, not replace them altogether.
Overall, this enjoyable, well-run conference pointed the way toward a smarter future and more digital customer experiences. The speakers were all excited about the possibility of AI, but in a way that helps us solidify our relationships with customers. We know that this tech has so much to offer, and we’re excited to offer it ourselves – you can watch it in our event demo. By paying attention to the customer, we can improve digital operations for everyone.