“From 2010 to 2020 the amount of data created, captured, copied and consumed in the world increased from 1.2 trillion gigabytes to 59 trillion gigabytes,” according to a Smartstream whitepaper.

“A 2020 Statista prediction indicated that data creation globally was likely to grow to more than 180 zettabytes by 2025. Yet, for all this abundance of data, the financial services industry remains surprisingly information poor.”

Four in five senior banking executives agree that unlocking value from AI will distinguish financial services winners from losers, according to a report from The Economist. “But firms are treading carefully, balancing business benefits against regulatory complexity and the need to maintain customers’ trust. Most banks (62%) agree that the complexity and risks associated with handling personal data for AI projects often outweigh the benefits to customer experience.”

Financial services firms have been using basic AI for targeted marketing and other basic uses for a few years. But to better serve customers and intelligently use the massive amount of data they collect, financial services firms are turning to AI for an increasing amount of uses. 

Below are four examples of how financial services firms are using AI to take CX to the next level:

1. Improved Sentiment Analysis

Turkey-based DenizBank turned to speech analytics to better understand customer sentiments and needs during the pandemic. With agents going remote, the solution and related technology were critical in helping improve customer service, said Altug Merhap, senior vice president of DenizBank. 

The AI-based speech analytics program enabled the bank to achieve an accuracy score of 95% for customer inquiries, meaning bank employees could more accurately understand the root causes of problems, resulting in quicker responses to customer needs, Merhap added. The analytics solution helped more effectively identify what was needed, enabling agents to take prompt action to move the customer journey forward. “As the pace of change accelerates, we continue to work on maximizing agent performance and creating satisfied customers,” Merhap said.

Related Article: 4 Ways to Boost Hype-Personalization for Financial Services

2. Quality Assurance

Banks are leveraging AI for the quality assurance (QA) process and review in the contact center, said Bill Staikos, senior vice president, evangelist and head of community engagement at Medallia, though he noted the efforts aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Typically, financial services contact centers review only 2% to 4% of all calls each day.

The more advanced financial services contact centers automate the QA listening and review process, so that all calls are analyzed and rated in real time, Staikos said. “This has benefits for the customer, the agent and the business overall. The agent supervisor can use this information for in-the-moment coaching; platforms also deliver QA insights to the agent directly so they can make changes in real time as well. The consumer benefits because the quality of the calls improve over time.” 

The financial institution benefits as well, Staikos said. “Because individuals are not reviewing the calls, these teams can be repurposed within the organization. Given all calls are analyzed and scored by the AI, corporate risk is reduced as the AI can be trained to listen for agent rudeness, fraudulent behavior or other customer-detracting behavior.

3. Improved Response Times

Research by Mitto, an omnichannel communications solutions provider, found that one-third of respondents with a negative bank experience would rather make a trip to the dentist than interact with their financial institution, said Andrea Giacomini, Mitto CEO.

Learning Opportunities

The speed of contact center responses is sometimes overlooked. Delays in receiving authentication codes by email or phone, sometimes caused by an invalid one being received, will cause 41% of consumers to consider abandoning their pursuit, Giacomini added. “The ability to immediately deliver a two-factor authentication is crucial.” Nearly half of all consumers prefer SMS for these quick interactions compared to phone calls or emails, according to Giacomini. This number increases to 70% for Generation Z and millennials. 

Implementing an AI-powered routing system will enable banks to maximize delivery speeds through a proactive and adaptable network, Giacomini said. “This system can understand the priority of the message type to ensure time-sensitive information is being delivered promptly to the recipient.”

Related Article: 4 Ways AI, Analytics and Machine Learning Are Improving Customer Service and Support

4. Improved Identity Protection

A Cisco study pointed out that 61% of customers said they won’t do business with an organization if they do not trust how it handles their data, which is a critical concern for financial institution customers, said Patricia Thaine, Private AI co-founder and CEO.

“As encryption has become standard, a critical remaining weak link is the risk of data being exposed from a malicious employee, an outside hacker, or when data is decrypted for analysis such as when addressing a customer support ticket,” Thaine said. Removing a customer’s personally identifiable information (PII), also known as de-identification is often an option that’s considered for keeping data secure and private — creating even more precise data access control.

An ideal de-identification solution leverages both advances in edge machine learning and re-identification risk scores — complex skill sets based on expertise that are unreasonable to expect from the average developer, according to Thaine. “Rule-based systems are inadequate to securely de-identify sensitive data, such as faces, license plate numbers or personally identifiable text within unstructured data sources. When expertly built with artificial intelligence, data can be de-identified with over 99% accuracy, so the likelihood of a user’s information being compromised is dramatically reduced, while its value for data-driven decision-making is maintained.”

Final Thoughts: Financial Institutions Are Pushing to Expand AI

Financial services firms will continue to expand their use of AI technology as they become more comfortable with it and as they see the success that their competitors are having with it.

“The decision for financial institutions to adopt AI will be accelerated by technological advancement, increased user acceptance and shifting regulatory frameworks,” an Insider Intelligence eMarketer article says. “FIs are being pushed to increase their IT and AI budgets to meet higher digital standards. Younger consumers prefer digital banking channels, with a massive 78% of millennials never going to a branch if they can help it.”