Banks can win at customer experience with AI

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Olaf Tennhardt, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP and financial services lead for Hux by Deloitte Digital
Khusro Khalid, managing director at Deloitte Consulting LLP

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing how businesses are run, and banks are quickly realizing the broad scope of its benefits. Financial institutions large and small traditionally use data and AI to support how they address risk, compliance and security. Banks are now starting to explore how AI can improve their customers’ experiences.

Following are examples of how banks, and their CMOs, can use AI to deliver memorable experiences for their customers:

Create an audience of one: Today, customers seek individual, meaningful connections from banks. Thanks to today’s technology, banks have the ability to deliver on this need quicker and better than they could before.

Data and AI can help banks to optimize and personalize every interaction for prospects and customers, which elevates their human experience and creates an emotional connection. By targeting customers as individuals and learning about them, the insight can be used to support the marketing process and communications across customer life cycles. For example, banks will know that ‘customer A’ would appreciate seeing mortgage rate details and ‘customer B’ would prefer receiving investment options – and then confidently deliver the desired experience. The focus on creating an impactful emotional connection comes with additional business benefits: according to the Harvard Business Review, emotionally connected customers are 35 percent more valuable than merely highly satisfied customers.

Small pilots can lead to bigger rewards: Banks can begin their AI journeys with a focus on customer experience in an incremental and iterative manner. A large transformation initiative isn’t always required to prove success. For example, a quick win could be consolidating customer data from its many silos in a Customer Data Platform or curating relevant data that can feed an AI model with a specific outcome. The outcomes could range from enhancing customer engagement to driving customer retention and loyalty. Once wins are secured, it should be easier to pursue bigger customer experience projects that impact a larger customer community – and the budget that supports them.

Experiences at scale: AI presents banks with a rare and powerful opportunity – it can help to deliver a personalized, consistent, contextually appropriate experience at scale. With the correct data – first, second and/or third-party data – and the right technologies in place, a bank can more effectively connect with many customers at the right place, time, and with the content that’s important to them. When communicating with one customer or thousands, a challenge for banks is to know the line between responsive and invasive—but AI can help them understand that line for each individual customer as well.

Leveraging AI to improve customer experience may feel aspirational, but it’s doable—and the possibilities are limitless. One online organization, for instance, built a financial advisor tool that offers spend analysis to its customers. Using AI on top of this data set enabled the organization to determine interesting marketing offers to its customers, for instance credit card offers with benefits that align to the specific customer. Also, a professional football team deployed AI for more informed fan targeting – providing fans with offers of interest and raising their preseason ticket sales. These real-life use cases serve as inspiration and are just a few ways banks could apply AI for business and customer experience success.

By evolving their technologies, banks can elevate the experience for both customers and prospects, and achieve business goals of customer acquisition and growth. AI can serve as powerful fuel for a bank’s marketing engine, working every second to create powerful, valuable emotional bonds between customers and banks. With AI as their teammate, marketers can more effectively create and maintain deep, long-lasting customer relationships.

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