Accenture: AI to become main way banks interact with customers within three years

Accenture: AI to become main way banks interact with customers within three yearsIn the next stage of artificial intelligence (AI) adoption, banks will use AI to help understand the intentions and emotions of customers and enable better interactions, according to a new report from Accenture.

The report, Accenture Banking Technology Vision 2017, draws on the analysis of an advisory board of more than two dozen individuals, interviews with technology luminaries and industry experts, and results of a survey of more than 600 bankers.

According to the report, more than three-quarters (78 percent) of bankers believe that AI will enable simpler user interfaces that will help banks create a more human-like customer experience. In addition, four out of five respondents (79 percent) believe that AI will revolutionise the way banks gather information and interact with customers, and three-quarters (76 percent) believe that within three years, banks will deploy AI as their primary method for interacting with customers.

“Consumers’ diverse needs and priorities are forcing financial services firms to redefine how they interact with them to determine the best products and services to meet individuals’ needs,” said Alan McIntyre, a senior managing director at Accenture and head of the company’s Banking practice.

“AI-enabled tools can help banks identify consumer preferences and empower their workforces to react with insight and emotional intelligence, which is essential for the development of meaningful consumer relationships. The challenge will be how quickly banks can implement these new technologies, many of which are not compatible with their existing IT infrastructure,” he added.

The theme of this year’s report, “Technology for People,” is a call to action for bank executives to design technology to help align their products and services with what consumers want in near real-time. In traditional banks, basic transactions continue to migrate from physical to digital channels, leading to major changes as banks redesign their branch networks and enhance their digital footprint. Four out of five bankers surveyed (80 percent) expect AI to accelerate technology adoption throughout the organisation, providing their employees with the tools and resources to better serve consumers.

When asked to identify the top three reasons for embedding AI into user interfaces, respondents most often cited “to gain data analysis and insights” (60 percent), “increase productivity” (59 percent) and “cost benefit savings” (54 percent). At the same time, the bankers acknowledged challenges to implementing AI, citing privacy issues (38 percent), compatibility issues with the current IT structure (36 percent) and the fact that users often prefer human interactions (33 percent).

"The big paradox here is that people think technology will lead to banking becoming more and more automated and less and less personalised, but what we've seen coming through here is the view that technology will actually help banking become a lot more personalised," McIntyre said.
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