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How robotics is pushing banking towards a new self-service era

Stephen Lewis | Sept. 9, 2016
Customer service management will be one of the areas of banking most impacted by robotics.

A few years ago, robotics, a branch of artificial intelligence (AI), was seen as an upcoming trend that figured all too often in predictions made by business leaders and was presented as a revolutionary technology that would invade all aspects of our society.

By 2016, not only have these predictions come true for many aspects of our personal lives, but robotics and automation have also entered the business world.

Banks, in particular, are starting to use robotics and automation tools to address new challenges created by their move into the digital age. Customer service management will be one of the most impacted areas of banking due to the evolution of robotics.

Automation is far from being used to its full potential

Roy Morgan revealed recently that the average customer satisfaction ratings for the Big Four banks have dipped to the lowest level since mid-2013, after peaking in mid-2015. Furthermore, recent UBS findings have highlighted more Australians will be turning to start-ups for financial services, instead of banks.

The writing is on the wall ― banks need to address digitisation head-on to ensure they are meeting customers’ expectations in a sustainable manner. Banks are already investing heavily in new digital customer interfaces to present an improved customer experience and offer new products. However, many are struggling to close the gap between the new digital veneer they are creating and legacy processes and systems they have been operating for decades.

Most banks are now providing customers with a multitude of platforms, including mobile, to manage their accounts and transactions. They’re also investing in contactless technologies to empower clients to easily make payments by simply tapping their cards or smartphones, and recently some of them have worked towards partnering with tech giants such as Apple and Google to integrate Apple Pay and Android Pay into their digital offers.

While these are significant advancements towards the aspirational goal of offering fully digitised banking and customer services, banks today still operate with highly manual processes due to the constraints of working with legacy systems. The costs and resources required to upgrade from a legacy system to a new technology platform are often cited as key business challenges.

However, to ensure finance and banking institutions remain competitive amongst the growth in fintech innovations and agile start-ups, they need to either invest in rapid upgrades, or find workarounds that enable legacy systems to be part of ― not a hurdle for ― innovative digital-first business strategies.

Robotics will power a new self-service model

Millennials have high expectations and demands from businesses, and favour a certain level of empowerment when it comes to servicing their needs. They expect more frequent and personalised interactions in line with their experience with “born-digital” organisations such as Uber and Amazon.


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