For centuries, humankind has been using progressively innovative tools to find the best way to plan, prepare, and move from Point A to Point B.
Let’s start with something from our day-to-day life. Until a century ago, we were relying on crude compasses followed by paper maps to navigate. Navigation has evolved from compasses and globes to AAA TripTiks and interactive online maps. The transition from "Maps to Apps" brought tremendous benefits through the simplest form of virtual advice enabled by interactive maps and cognitive insights based on artificial intelligence derived from travel patterns, social media, and public information.
These new tools enable our ability not only to plan and prepare, but they also guide us during the journey—along with contextual insights—to stay on track and efficiently reach our destination.
While many businesses have been speedy adopters of emerging and disruptive technologies, the FS industry (financial services), which is always keen to reduce cots while enhancing the customer experience, seems to lag behind the rest.
However, surveys suggest that the FS industry is making the move to adopt conversational commerce, virtual advice, AI, and chatbots to improve customer experience and keep up with the pack.
A recent article entitled, “How chatbots and AI might impact the B2C financial services industry,” backed by a survey from Personetics, shows that over three-quarters of FS respondents view chatbots as a viable solution to expedite response to customer queries, and almost half of them already have active initiatives in place. A majority of the respondents see a substantial number of customer conversations handled by bots within three years.
In today's digitized age, our customers look for anytime, anywhere support. Virtual Assistants (VAs) can provide real-time, 24/7 responses at scale without any need for customers to learn a new interface. This makes them a perfect fit to enable digital customer journey with virtual advisory systems.
Here are a few VAs that can go beyond inquiries allowing customer to make transactions:
- Meet Eno from Capital One – a texting intelligent assistant allowing customers to stay on top of their accounts, anytime, anywhere
- Meet USAA's VA -it gets smarter the more you use it. Touch, type, or talk, and the VA will help you find answers to your account queries or transact. You can call from anywhere in the app and be automatically authenticated when you reach a representative
- DBS Virtual Assistant enables customers to bank conversationally from their preferred messaging app
The key is to have cognitive insights and AI-based VAs at the center of your Omnichannel Strategy
The desire to have digitized relationships is not only limited to younger customers. Customers of all ages are considering digitizing a majority of their current relationship in next five years and they show a higher propensity to leave firms lacking digital relationships.
Today's customers also exhibit a higher propensity to use non-traditional tools and automated advisory services. This Capgemini World Wealth Report spotlight section has consistently underscored the importance of digital maturity as customers increasingly embrace disruptive technology and FinTech offerings.
Although customers have a higher chance of staying with their FS firms, the likelihood to purchase additional products is low due to the lack of personalized and holistic advice.
Customers demand more personalized, contextual, and conversational holistic financial life advice across banking, insurance, and investment.
Traditional FS firms hold a trust advantage and strong positions in quality of service compared to non-traditional firms. This recent article on FT.com entitled, "Wealth managers play ‘robo advisers’ at their own game" summarizes the call to action for traditional firms and their "use of disruptive technology to do more."
Leading FS firms have embarked on journey to enable increase in advisor-to-client ratio by seven fold and rest of the FS industry should do more to test the hypothesis through automation, big data, and cognitive insights to empower human advisors to compete..