Throughout 2021 many banks and credit unions implemented AI and virtual agents for the first time, and many more plan to follow suit this year. While sometimes slow to adopt new technology like this, financial institutions needed to be more rigorous in their approach to problem-solving in a socially-distanced world. While AI started to permeate member-serving businesses even before COVID, its use in the financial sector is reorienting the digital trajectory of the industry as a whole. AI has allowed financial institutions to remain competitive and provide high-quality customer experiences throughout the disruption of the last two years. It is clear more than ever that member bases will continue to seek the digital-first experiences they’ve come to enjoy. This year, as AI becomes more commonplace in financial applications, expect the following trends to take shape.
Increased Delivery of Personalized Digital Experiences
A more online customer base necessitates more personalized digital-first service experiences. Members already encounter this kind of personalization in other verticals, like e-commerce, and it is safe to assume they’ll continue to demand them from banks and credit unions. Financial institutions planning to invest resources to deliver targeted digital experiences should also take into account that personalization is an ongoing process of iteration and testing. Having a set of KPIs and other means of evaluation will better inform what changes to make as programs ramp up.
Growing Cybersecurity Implementation
With global tensions and economic uncertainty at recent highs, to say that many financial institutions will further explore artificially intelligent cybersecurity measures is perhaps an understatement. Banks and credit unions should plan to implement some sort of cybersecurity program to protect themselves from attacks and monitor vulnerabilities. Artificial intelligence is already used at a larger scale to identify these risks, but keeping track of any points of intrusion better protects banking infrastructure and ensures fewer disruptions for members.
Determining the Human Balance
The next generation of virtual agents are much more capable than their predecessors. As they grow and learn throughout 2022, financial institutions will optimize the balance between AI operation and human training. The training and maintenance of AI programs both conversational and non-conversational is a powerful tool for banks from both an employee satisfaction and service perspective. It was long believed that AI would replace workforces, when actually empowering employees with AI augmentation makes them better at their jobs, and increases productivity.
CAI Finds its Voice
Voice-enabled platforms are already prevalent in daily life, and it won’t be long before they’re handling more sophisticated banking transactions. Chatbot programs are already optimizing natural language generation, which lays the foundation for better, more capable voice assistants. Throughout the year, it will be increasingly easy to automate both text-based and voice interactions from the same interface. What voice enablement looks like is members using voice assistants to transfer money to known contacts within their bank accounts, or to find answers to questions on increasingly complex account services.
More Effective Use of Data
After significant investment in AI in 2021, this year could see a breakdown of the data silos that are rampant throughout the financial services industry. With a great deal of time to collect data, banks and credit unions may very well find better ways of leveraging that data to better serve members. With artificial intelligence, banks can more acutely act on unanalyzed data, especially if AI is incorporated across different workstreams.
Banks and credit unions should plan to remain digitally responsive well beyond the pandemic’s fadeout. Pursuing new means of data analysis, and customer service with AI is certainly integral to long-term viability. However, more than that, financial anxiety only seems to increase month-over-month the last few years. The fact is, continuing to evolve digital transformation is what builds better banks. Iteration with artificial intelligence allows financial institutions to roll out improved experiences, which will continue to develop throughout 2022.