Today, it’s the digital customer’s world—banks just happen to live in it.
Twenty percent of bank customers are now digital-only users in the world, according to an Accenture report on the banking sector.
Seventy-three percent admit they’d be more excited about a new offering from Apple, Google or Amazon than from their own Financial Services Provider (FSP).
Thirty-five percent of millennials don’t even believe they’ll need a bank five years from now.
In a new age of intelligent, connected capabilities, consumers expect nothing short of a sophisticated banking experience that meets their evolving needs.
They desire a deep level of personalization and anticipatory engagement.
They want contextual, multi-touch experiences that span the entire organization.
They demand an unprecedented level of quality, agility and speed.
For financial service providers (FSPs), this means being open, agile and integrated enough to support the future of the customer experience.
Without question, this means making a banking strategy around artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).
The Explosion of AI for Financial Services
It’s easy to see why top analyst firms expect AI to reshape the CX more than any other technology over the next five years.
Collectively, global leaders like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Baidu have spent over USD 8 billion on dedicated AI investments (Amazon alone spends USD 228 million per year to run Alexa and other related machine learning initiatives).
We’re seeing incredible AI breakthroughs across every sector, especially in financial services.
In fact, most financial executives agree that AI will become the “primary” channel through which FSPs and customers interact within the next three years.
Consider Capital One: last year, the brand became the world’s first financial services company to launch customer account access on Amazon’s Alexa platform.
Customers can now use the AI device to check their balances, pay bills and engage in a host of other voice-based interactions.
This year, the provider also rolled out the industry’s first gender-neutral AI banking system named Eno.
The solution is an intelligent integration of back-end infrastructure, customer-facing channels and conversational nuances.
Without question, AI is helping FSPs meet next-gen customer needs; however, the technology also offers inherent organizational benefits.
Consider, for example, the possibility of using robo-advisors to ensure compliance and regulation.
It’s expected that financial institutions will soon be able to use robo-advisors to create trading algorithms that are always in alignment with Department of Labor rules, guaranteeing compliance regardless of market conditions or client circumstances.
How Financial Services Providers can use VR
Virtual reality has become critical for FSPs to engage with customers, so much so that VR is now just as preferred as social media within FSPs’ omnichannel strategies.
Overall, Goldman Sachs believes the AR/VR market will be worth USD 80 billion by 2025.
So, what does VR look like within the financial services industry? Consider Citigroup, which released a video last year displaying the power of VR for investment trading.
Although the company hasn’t officially rolled out a VR solution, the video serves as an example of how traders can use VR workstations (or mobile devices) to share visualizations of potential trades with investors.
VR can similarly be used for cash flow forecasting, which 80 percent of treasurers and CFOs rank as “high or of critical importance.”
Overall, the greatest use cases for VR can be found in wealth management; specifically, for the rising generation of millennial bankers.
A 2016 Harris poll, for instance, found that 80 percent of millennials are not invested in the stock market, and 34 percent don’t know how.
VR can enable FSPs to uniquely attract and engage these younger clients.
For example, VR headsets can be used to immerse millennials into a simulated world that enables them to gain a more contextual understanding of savings best practices and/or complex investment portfolios through data visualization.
How to Make AI and VR work for You
The benefits of AI and VR are seemingly endless: faster actions/decision making, lowered costs, improved outcomes, product and service innovation…the list goes on.
It’s critical that FSPs embrace AI and VR to transform customer journeys, innovate product portfolios, and broaden services to create an ecosystem that continually adds value.
This, of course, requires a certain level of organizational awareness, expertise and tech sophistication.