With Mastercard Inc. set to release its first-quarter financial results, and Finovate Spring 2018 approaching next week, fintech continues to lead the disruption charge in banking. US banks remain under pressure to stay ahead of what's in store during the next wave of innovation, which is being led by AI advancements in the industry.
Gartner's research shows the global banking industry will spend $519 billion on IT in 2018, up 4.1 percent year over year from $499 billion in 2017. Features like chatbots are changing banks' relationships with customers, and digital players are increasingly integrating social media to interact with clients.
But despite the increase in technology adoption in the sector, the need for human contact persists, with voice recognition and chatbot technology still in its infancy.
Traditional banks must heavily invest in upgrading contact center environments to accommodate anticipated customer needs, in conjunction with embracing advanced technology platforms.
Banks can reap the benefits of AI and automation to improve interactions between staff and customers, says Intelenet® Global Services, whose tech innovations for banks have seen them win recognition in the 2017 IDC Fintech Rankings.
Tony Antenucci, VP of Banking, Financial Services and Insurance for Intelenet Global Services, comments: "The way customers interact with their bank in the US is changing, as branches close down and more people switch to online banking, communicating through contact centers via phone or online if they need more help.
"Keeping up with new technology is vital to keep the processes behind these operations running smoothly and maintaining a relationship between banks and their customers. AI tools can help personalize banking for the customer, and automated processes free up staff to focus more on customer service and complex question resolution.
Tony continues: "For example, voice-recognition programs can automatically recognize an individual by their voice, predicting the subject of a call before the customer has to explain it. Each customer can be automatically sent to the right department, or the person they spoke to before, without having to be passed between contact staff.
"This dramatically improves the experience for the consumer. One leading bank was able to reduce the average handling time for customer calls by 40 percent.
"Banks will need to keep up this lead in innovative technology, to fend off growing competition for customers from Fintech challengers."