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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.

Consumers are also increasingly open to the idea of conducting complex tasks, such as managing their investments, using robot-advisors instead of in-person advisors. They want autonomy.

The convenience of “anytime, anywhere” banking for customers has underpinned the need for self-service offerings. ATMs, IVRs, self-service kiosks, and online and mobile banking apps have played an important role in cultivating this self-service culture. As these technologies continue to mature, businesses will need to ensure they are continually assessing how robotics technology could be leveraged to enhance their offerings and improve customer experiences.

Robotics can help banks automate routine and repetitive processes ― currently performed by large middle and back office teams ― that don’t need physical human intervention. It can also enable banks to complete these tasks faster and without human error, while helping better orientate customers who do require more complex issues to be resolved effectively with manual intervention. This saves time for both the customer and customer service agent and is all done at a fraction of the cost required to upgrade legacy systems and tightly integrate them with the new digital interfaces.

Low cost robotics process automation technologies can form the glue between the digital front-end and legacy systems, enabling a more seamless and digitised customer experience. Implementation timeframes can be measured in weeks, not years, and robots can be quickly scaled up or down in response to fluctuating demand.

A win-win model

The benefits brought by robotics and automation technologies go far beyond just helping banks cut costs. Robotics will reduce human dependence, eliminate errors, and speed up processing times, leading to better accuracy and reliability and improved customer experience.

While there are certainly things robots cannot do, there is a clear opportunity for banks to use emerging technologies to drive more personal, effective, and cost-efficient customer service. By allocating repetitive, low-value tasks to robots, banks can then allocate staff to higher value activities and roles, and enable the organisation to focus on growth, innovation and how to optimise use of other new technologies.

The more organisations focus on migrating manual transactional activities to self-service channels supported by robotics process automation, the more they will stand to gain in cost-efficiency and improved customer loyalty. The use of robotics and automation technologies will help banks transition to a new digital operating model, and remain competitive against emerging digital competitors and new fintech services.

Stephen Lewis is Australia head of business process services at Cognizant.


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