Artificial intelligence is a hot topic these days around the loyalty industry, seemingly popping up in every area of conversation.

And bankers are not lost on this subject at all.

In the next stage of artificial intelligence adoption, the Accenture Banking Technology Vision 2017 report reveals, banks will use AI to help understand the intentions and emotions of customers and enable better interactions.

The report includes interviews with technology luminaries and industry experts and results of a survey of more than 600 bankers.

According to the report, more than three-quarters (78 percent) of bankers believe that AI will enable simpler user interfaces that will help banks create a more human-like customer experience. What’s more, nearly 80 percent believe that AI will revolutionize the way banks gather information and interact with customers, and three-quarters (76 percent) believe that, within three years, banks will deploy AI as their primary method for interacting with customers.

“Consumers’ diverse needs and priorities are forcing financial services firms to redefine how they interact with them to determine the best products and services to meet individuals’ needs,” said Alan McIntyre, a senior managing director at Accenture and head of the company’s Banking practice. “AI-enabled tools can help banks identify consumer preferences and empower their workforces to react with insight and emotional intelligence, which is essential for the development of meaningful consumer relationships. The challenge will be how quickly banks can implement these new technologies, many of which are not compatible with their existing IT infrastructure.”

When asked to identify the top three reasons for embedding AI into user interfaces, respondents cited the following: to gain data analysis and insights (60 percent), increase productivity (59 percent) and cost benefit saving (54 percent). At the same time, the bankers acknowledged challenges to implementing AI, citing privacy issues (38 percent), compatibility issues with the current IT structure (36 percent) and the fact that users often prefer human interactions (33 percent).

While nearly nine in 10 bankers (89 percent) said they believe that their customers are satisfied with their bank’s use of personalization, two-thirds (67 percent) claim they struggle to understand their customers’ needs and goals, the report said.

“Bankers believe that participating in ecosystems will provide a variety of benefits−including improved customer satisfaction, increased speed and agility in developing solutions, and access to new customers,” McIntyre said. “However, they will also need to develop a strategy to protect their brand positioning and to deepen their own relationships with customers. More than one-third of the bankers we surveyed believe that participating in ecosystems will also increase their exposure to cyber security threats.” 

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