How financial institutions can navigate between automatisation and trust

04 / 08 / 2020

This is the third blog in a series of three in which we talk about bridging human and digital experiences in finance. These blogs are based on our latest whitepaper. Read also our first blog (Improving the customers’ banking experience) and second blog (AI helps close the gap between traditional banking and fintech companies).

How financial institutions can navigate between automatisation and trust

According to ING research, 61 per cent of European customers are uncomfortable outsourcing investment decisions to automatised smart algorithms. For getting advice, however, most people are open to receiving it from an autonomous algorithm. Some 65 per cent would be interested in getting investment advice from a computer. But, what about the other banking functions? Which banking functions rely on personal advice, and which ones can banks automate? Aurélie Fon, Product Marketing Manager Digital Banking at Worldline, gives the answers in this blog.

The challenge is that preferences around personal contact and automated interaction depend on several factors and vary per target group. There’s not one single correct path to follow. It obviously makes more sense to automate functions such as frequently asked questions and searches than complex problems or issues about which customers are deeply concerned. In the latter case, human empathy – which can never be fully automated – plays a much-needed role.

Speed vs. customisation

In making the choice whether to automise a banking function or not, it’s good to think about the extent in which speed and convenience play a role in meeting the clients’ needs or answering their questions. A chatbot that answers questions 24/7 naturally delivers speed and ease of use, which is perfect for simple questions. But speed isn’t always what the customer is looking for. The survey showed, for example, that 59% of customers found customised advice to be more important than solving a problem as quickly as possible.
The dividing line between speed, ease of use and personalisation isn’t just determined by the type of question the customer has. It also depends on the type of banking customer. The research shows that communication preferences vary by generation. Customers over the age of 50 tend to seek the bank’s help over the telephone (87%), while the younger generation (under age 25) mainly use social media (39%) and mobile apps (27%). And 25-to-34-year-olds prefer email (27%) for communicating with banks.

Touchpoint roadmap

Since preferences vary so widely, it is especially important to understand the communication preferences of existing customers. That means the best advice is to analyse customer data in detail: which channel is preferred at what time and for which questions? Based on these statistical insights, a roadmap can be made with resources and channels to be deployed per contact point, depending on the path in the customer journey. The key question here is: where does technology add value and where are human empathy and tailored advice needed?

Consistency is a prerequisite

In any case, it’s important that all of the channels are connected, whether they are automated or not. Imagine a woman who contacts her bank by telephone to close her business account because her company has gone into bankruptcy. Imagine her feelings if she receives an email the following month offering a discount for business investment. If that happens, any positive experience from the first contact has been negated by the irrelevant email.
Consistency between the channels is an important prerequisite for a seamless customer experience. Ultimately, the goal is a balanced combination of personal and automated contact moments that answer the customer’s needs and wishes as closely as possible.