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How AI will impact customer experience in the banking sector

Adrian M. Reodique | April 3, 2017
Most respondents from Accenture's survey believe that banks will use AI as their primary method of interacting with customers in the next three years.

AI brain

Banks will step up the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in future to understand the intentions and emotions of their customers so as to enable a better interaction.

This is according to Accenture's Banking Technology Vision 2017 report, which is based on the analysis of an advisory board of more than 24 individuals, interviews with technology and industry experts, and survey of more than 600 bankers.

Majority of the polled bankers (78 percent) think AI will enable simple user interfaces that can help them create a more human-like customer experience. Another 79 percent believe AI will revolutionise the information gathering and customer interaction of banks.

As such, 76 percent of the respondents think banks will deploy AI as their primary method to interact with customers within the next three years. In particular, banks will embed AI into user interfaces to gain data analysis and insights (60 percent), increase productivity (59 percent), and achieve cost benefit savings (54 percent).

However, bankers who want to implement AI are concerned about privacy issues (38 percent), compatibility issues with the current IT structure (36 percent), and the preference of customers to human interactions (33 percent).

The report also found that even though the volume of human contact in the banking industry will decrease, the quality and importance of human contact will increase. More than a third (34 percent) of the bankers expressed plans to use a detailed understanding of human behaviour to guide new customer experiences.

In the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, the future for banks is still a blank in many ways, said Steve Pemberton, Accenture's Head of Banking in APAC.

"Major aspects of the future are waiting to be mapped out. Bankers understand industry challenges - security, fraud, privacy, digital ethics, emerging technologies like blockchain - much better than regulators," he explained in a press release.

"First movers can move faster than regulators (and even pull regulators along) to pioneer uncharted banking terrain and influence customer behaviour by providing services to customers that provide what their customers need and want with innovative new services that partner with other businesses. Bankers can and should help shape the new standards, processes, practices and cross industry partnerships that will underpin innovative models," Pemberton asserted.

Most of the polled APAC bankers (78 percent) think they have a duty to be proactive in writing rules. "Smart bankers are aware of this need to shape the regulatory environment because as this report indicates, technologies such as AI are going to be come real in the next five to ten years. The banks that stay in front of this, are the ones best poised to succeed," Pemberton concluded. 


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