HOW TECHNOLOGY HELPS BANKS BE MORE HUMAN

AviKedmi, Head of Customer Success at LivePerson

We all like to think of ourselves as savvy shoppers. We know how to source a bargain and would never put up with shoddy customer service or substandard deals. While this may be true when shopping around for utilities or comparing the cost of everyday items, there’s one area where UK customers’ fidelity is baffling: the realm of retail banking. Most consumers have stuck with the same bank for at least a decade because switching is often considered too onerous.

Over the last 19 months, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has undertaken an in-depth review of the UK banking industry and concluded that the current state of affairs is failing customers because ‘competitive pressures are weak, so banks do not need to work hard enough on price or quality of service’. The final report, to be published before 12 August, is expected to include recommendations to the FCA on how to proceed with enforced regulations by 2018, including an open API that allows customers to compare services by different providers.

Thus, reform is coming to the entire banking sector. According to the CMA, this can only be achieved by leveraging digital technology ‘to empower customers to compare and switch accounts’, force banks to cap overdraft fees, and provide automatic alerts to customers slipping into the red — ‘by in-app message, SMS, or another channel’.

In a country where the number of mobile banking users is set to grow from 17.8 million to 32.6 million by 2020*, it is imperative to embrace digital channels so customers can bank 24/7, monitor their transactions, and connect with customer services. With digital or mobile-only challenger banks, such as Mondo and Atom Bank, designed around the needs of millennials making their way into the market, UK High Street banks need to up their games digitally to make sure they are providing the very best service to customers — or risk losing them for good.

Gerd Leonhard, a thought leader on digital transformation and CEO of the Futures Agency, recently discussed how ‘most telcos have become merely infrastructure providers, and banks have become money providers but not brands’. He continued to highlight a very real danger: losing a new generation of consumers ‘who are focused on experiences and not just efficiency’. The millennial generation hasn’t established relationships or trust with financial institutions. While this disconnect is a very real threat to some, it can be turned into an opportunity to create meaningful relationships digitally.

Banks that understand this and go on to invest in innovative technologies as well as their customer care teams today will be part of this new wave of innovation and disruption. At the World Economic Forum this year, financial leaders all agreed that banking was facing its ‘Uber moment’. The ones that stand still today will be disrupted and sidelined tomorrow.

Innovative technologies, like chatbots, increasingly play a part in retail banking. Financial institutions are well positioned to differentiate their services by leveraging these personal assistants for simple tasks, while customer care professionals concentrate on personalising each interaction and creating real, meaningful connections with customers.

What customers want from their banks is no different to what they expect from any retailer: efficiency, speed, security of transactions, and a personalised service. Engaging in real-time customer service and communicating directly with consumers digitally, through mobile messaging for example, is crucial to any bank that wants to maintain long-term, happy customers who stay for all the right reasons.

Biography:

LivePerson is the leader in intelligent engagement solutions, allowing companies to create meaningful online connections with their customers. Avi’s responsibilities include defining the product vision and strategy.

Prior to joining LivePerson, Avi was the Founder & CEO of Amadesa. Founded in 2005 and later acquired by LivePerson in 2012, Amadesa developed a unique set of algorithms to predict website visitorsbehavior.

Avi holds an MBA from the Kellogg-Recanati International Executive program at Tel Aviv University, and graduated cum laude in Computer Science from the Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya.

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