The finance industry has seen many changes in the past years thanks to technological advancement, new business models, and economic shifts. 2023’s flavor of change will be defined by the rising inflation we’ve experienced throughout most of 2022.
As the world prepares for a likely recession this year, the banking and finance industry will focus on digital solutions to help them weather the economic downturn and provide quality services to their customers. Despite the less-than-favorable forecast, we have no reason to believe innovation will slow down. In fact, it may just be the opposite.
We will go over a few technologies that show great potential to meet the needs of banks and financial institutions as well as help them better cater to their client base:
As banks are greatly invested in cultivating strong, even lifelong, relationships with their private and commercial clients, it makes sense to align their products and services with the users’ preferences and lifestyles.
The key to omnichannel banking (as well as its primary challenge) is offering an unprecedented level of accessibility to users without sacrificing quality. The idea is to offer the same range of support whether a customer is physically present at a branch, on the phone, or in front of their computer. Furthermore, the user should be able to switch channels without having to restart from square one.
On the topic of accessibility, an example would be the range of options users have when they want to request a bank statement:
- Visit a branch and gain the info from the clerk;
- Call or even send an SMS message and ask for the statement, then receive it via email;
- Log into their account via the internet on their computer to access the information;
- Do the same via the bank’s mobile app.
The benefits of omnichannel banking shine with more complex operations, however. Applying for a loan, for example, implies a multi-step process – filling in forms, browsing options, requesting additional data and support, signing the contract, receiving the funds, and so on. With an omnichannel approach, the user can take each step on any of the available channels. They may want to provide data over the internet, ask questions via the phone, sign in person, and manage repayment on the mobile app.
The technical challenge is in providing the options but also centralizing requests & data, so users are not locked to a single channel. Building such a solution implies mobile app development, web development, cloud solutions, and a business model to leverage them to their fullest potential.
Besides improving user experience and retention, this technology also enables banks to create robust data processing workflows, gathering information from all channels, analyzing it, and churning actionable data.
Automated Fraud Detection
As financial services became more accessible, fraud cases became more common and harder to detect. After all, online banking brought a new level of anonymity to transactions and transfers due to the lack of face-to-face contact and the sheer magnitude of exchange occurring at every moment.
Finding anomalies and determining the risk of fraudulent actions requires overseeing large quantities of data, cross-checking, and inferring the cause behind the unusual activity. In short, it’s long and repetitive work, and having people handle the task is suboptimal due to the large number of transfers and the risk of human error.
Luckily, anti-fraud tech has also progressed. Specifically, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has seen great effectiveness in taking over anti-fraud processes. After being trained with a clearly defined set of rules, these digital robots can perform data analysis much faster than people can. Using RPA, banks need less human involvement, as the process of spotting and examining anomalous activity is digitally automated. As such, bank specialists only need to review transactions that have already been flagged as unusual, considerably speeding up the process overall and lowering the risk of illegal activity slipping by.
Moreover, Machine Learning (ML) helps anti-fraud specialists stay agile and effective. As fraudsters refine their approach, there is always the risk that they’ll find new methods to avoid detection, whether human or automated. As the name suggests, ML helps anti-fraud software learn as it goes and change to cover exploitable gaps as they’re discovered.
Combined, these solutions can help banks grow sustainably without worrying that an increased workload may lead to overworked teams or undetected fraud.
It’s clear that people like the convenience of online banking, accessing financial services from anywhere. Still, the long wait times to receive support became a challenge during the pandemic. Banks’ phone lines and instant message channels couldn’t keep up with the increased demand for support, as clients avoided visiting in person.
But, by using the same technologies we mentioned above, RPA and ML, banks can create their own automated customer support team. These robotic specialists work 24/7, offer up-to-date information, represent the bank’s brand to the letter and constantly evolve with the customers' needs. This is exceptionally useful in urgent situations happening outside the bank’s operating hours, like fund transfers or locking cards.
Chatbots work best as additional support to a human team, taking on simple or routine requests:
- Answering basic questions;
- Handling money transfers;
- Keeping customers up to date with their accounts, bills, and offers;
- Updating account details;
- Gathering feedback;
- Offering personalized financial advice;
Chatbots can also become valuable tools for lead generation and promoting new products or services to existing customers. When new visitors come to the website, they likely want information on a specific topic, and instead of searching for it themselves, they can get whatever they need straight from the chatbot on the homepage. It’s a way to speed up the process for potential customers, improve their experience and increase their chances of opting in.
Is your organization interested in using cloud solutions, Robotic Process Automation, and AI to improve user experience, process efficiency, and lower costs? Get in touch, as we’d love to help you scale up and reach your business goals!