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Business

The future of financial services is AI-powered and experience-led

A 2022 financial services research reveals that consumers expect financial services institutions (FSIs) to provide easy, transparent experiences and concern for both their financial health and security.
Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer
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A survey of 2,250 financial services customers across nine countries found that better customer experiences start with automation, according to a 2022 research from Salesforce. The research also included one-on-one interviews with six industry experts. Another key finding was that digital-first customers dominate financial services -- and they aren't very satisfied. 

Here is the executive summary of the Future of Financial Services Institutions (FSI) report, highlighting FSI customers' wants and needs: 

  1. Easy and transparent: The up-and-coming financial services customer is digital-first and craves easy UI/UX experiences with relevant information across their preferred channels.
  2. Efficient: Automation plays a critical role in streamlining steps behind the scenes to deliver fast and accurate customer service. The industry doesn't need end-to-end automation. Rather, it should automate strategically. This could mean focusing on whatever part of the business might be compromising efficient customer service. 
  3. Seamless, personalized, and caring: To create frictionless experiences, FSIs need to rethink how they measure success, which means looking beyond churn or revenue and transaction growth. New partnerships between financial services companies and firms can also enrich the customer experience and provide the insights customers crave to help improve their financial wellbeing.
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The future of financial services is digital-first, highly personalized and seamless. 

Vala Afshar

Here are my key takeaways from the FSI report: 

  1. Retail attitudes influence commercial expectations: 78% of banking customers initiate relationships on a website or app -- nearly twice the rate for insurance (44%) and wealth management (42%) companies, where even basic products are more complex.
  2. Customers are trying non-traditional FSIs because of ease of use, onboarding and mobile app navigation: 47% are leaving because of wanting easy and fast setup, verification, onboarding, and first-time use of the app. Another 41% leave because they want an easy and intuitive user interface/ user experience and navigation of the app.
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    Here's Why Customers Are Trying Non-Traditional FSIs

    Vala Afshar/Screenshot
  4.  FSIs must show they know customers and care about their financial health: Only 11% of banking customers believe that their bank can anticipate their needs -- only 11% for insurance and 18% for wealth management institutions. Only 16% of banking customers agree that their bank is invested in their financial interest -- 15% for insurance and 25% for wealth management institutions. 
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    How FSIs can delight their customers 

    Vala Afshar/Screenshot
  6. Lack of personalization tops the list of customer pain points: When asked to rank what customers are missing most in their interaction with financial providers, this was the response: 
    - Personalized support (quick and easy omnichannel communication)
    - Finding relevant content (personalized knowledge-base articles and resources)
    - Receiving personalized communications (information and options tied to a specific customer)
    - Navigating a website (UI/UX is intuitive, interactive, and visually appealing)
    - Accessing a website (no barriers/physical, situational, and socioeconomic restrictions)
  7. Customer willingness to use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve experiences is growing: In 2020, only 60% of consumers were willing to use AI; in 2022, that number grew to 69%. The growth is only enabled if institutions can enable customers to control their data. 
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    Enabling customers to control their data is key growing AI adoption. 

    Vala Afshar/Screenshot
  9. Many opportunities for automation exist for B2B businesses: FSI experts noted in the report that the improvement in speed and accuracy from automation is enabling much of the easy and transparent digital experiences customers seek.
  10. FSIs can make the customer journey seamless when they assess every step of the way: To get a better and more complete picture of the customer, experts suggested the following: 1. assess key risk indicators, 2. determine primary, and 3. track the entire customer journey for stops and starts.
  11. Nearly one-third of Gen-Z are comfortable with and have purchased digital currency: I anticipate a greater adoption of digital currencies in 2022-2023. Many of the major digital wallets already include Bitcoin and Ethereum. Nearly half (45%) of Gen Zers have already purchased or plan to purchase digital currency. 
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    FSIs must have digital currency on their innovation and services roadmap

    Vala Afshar/Screenshot

The future of financial services is clearly digital. The battle for customer loyalty and advocacy is based on the customer experience. Speed, personalization and intelligence (relevance and precision) are keys in a digital-first economy. Welcome to the trusted experience-led economy -- this is the future of financial services institutions. 

Today, 88% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services -- up from 80% in 2020. And to improve the customer experience, FSIs must start with the employee experience. Investing in automation, AI-powered CRM and mobile apps, digital marketing and self-service tools like chatbots and digital advisors is how FSIs can stay competitive and relevant, creating personalized value at the speed of need. 

To learn more about the Future of Financial Services Report, you can visit here

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