Throughout 2021, many banks and credit unions have implemented AI and virtual agents for the first time, with many more planning to do the same this year. While sometimes slow to adopt new technologies like this, financial institutions needed to be more rigorous in their approach to solving problems in a socially distant world. While AI began permeating 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 enabled financial institutions to stay competitive and deliver high-quality customer experiences throughout the disruption of the past two years. It’s clear more than ever that memberbases will continue to seek out the first digital experiences they’ve learned to enjoy. This year, as AI becomes more mainstream in financial applications, expect the following trends to emerge.
Increased supply of personalized digital experiences
A more online customer base requires more personalized digital service experiences. Members are already seeing this kind of personalization in other verticals, like e-commerce, and it’s reasonable to assume they will continue to demand it from banks and credit unions. Financial institutions planning to invest resources to deliver targeted digital experiences should also consider that personalization is a continuous process of iteration and testing. Having a set of key performance indicators and other means of assessment will better inform changes that need to be made as programs scale up.
Growing implementation of cybersecurity
With global tensions and economic uncertainty at recent heights, 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 against attacks and monitor for vulnerabilities. Artificial intelligence is already being used on a larger scale to identify these risks, but tracking any point of intrusion better protects the banking infrastructure and ensures less disruption for members.
Determine human balance
The next generation of virtual agents is much more capable than its predecessors. As they grow and learn throughout 2022, financial institutions will optimize the balance between AI operation and human training. Training and maintaining both conversational and non-conversational AI programs is a powerful tool for banks, both from an employee satisfaction and service perspective. AI has long been believed to replace the workforce, whereas empowering employees to augment AI makes them better at their jobs and increases productivity.
CAI finds his voice
Voice platforms are already prevalent in everyday life, and it won’t be long before they handle more sophisticated banking transactions. Chatbot programs already optimize natural language generation, which lays the foundation for better and more capable voice assistants. Throughout the year, it will become easier and easier to automate text and voice interactions from a single interface. What voice activation looks like, members use voice assistants to transfer money to known contacts within their bank accounts or find answers to questions about increasingly complex account services.
More efficient use of data
After heavy investment in AI in 2021, this year could see a breakdown of the data silos that plague the financial services industry. With plenty of time to collect data, banks and credit unions may very well find better ways to leverage that data to better serve their members. Thanks to artificial intelligence, banks can act more precisely on unanalyzed data, especially if AI is integrated into different workflows.
Banks and credit unions should plan to remain digitally responsive long after the pandemic subsides. Pursuing new ways of analyzing data and customer service with AI is certainly integral to long-term sustainability. However, more than that, financial anxiety only seems to be increasing month-over-month over the past few years. The fact is, continuing to evolve digital transformation is what builds better banks. Iterating with artificial intelligence enables financial institutions to deploy enhanced experiences, which will continue to grow throughout 2022.