Digital banks still need human interaction

Digital banks still need human interaction

The technological changes in banking over last decade have been life changing as – driven by a technological revolution in customer experience – banking has gone (mainly) digital. Ideas like the use of artificial intelligence (AI) are creating billion-dollar opportunities in the market. More importantly, they are making consumers lives significantly more convenient. Like anything however, these benefits come with costs.

“The growth and adoption of AI technology in the South African banking landscape has ushered in a new era of convenience. While this technology, especially as used in chatbots, is useful in providing a positive customer experience, it does have its limits,” explains Merchants Group CRO, Mathew Conn.

Automated Responses Create Frustration

While AI is projected to bring in billions for the global banking industry in the next few years, consumer research conducted by Merchants in the first quarter of 2022 suggests that going fully digital may not be the answer. “Our research, conducted over a two-month period earlier this year, clearly demonstrated the need for human-led support in creating a positive, tailored experience. The research showed that clients found automated, often meaningless, responses to be one of their biggest frustrations with AI when it comes to banking. Furthermore, connectivity issues in South African also place a damper on the adoption of AI.”

Human Touch is Critical to Banking CX

The research was conducted amongst 2 000 respondents from across the country and indicated that, despite the convenience technology brings to clients – with an astonishing 93% of respondents highlighting digital channels as their preferred method of banking – people still prefer human interaction when problems arise.

Among other things, the research showed that nearly one in three respondents (29%) only contact their bank only a few times a year. This is usually when they are unable to solve a problem online. “In this case, clients expect quick turnaround times and problem solving with 46% of respondents indicating that they prefer in-person contact, while 25% prefer to use call centres and 13% prefer Chatbots,” notes Conn.

Making Digital Human

Conn believes that the companies that find the balance between the use of AI and human interaction will reap massive benefits in terms of market share and customer loyalty. This means using technology to augment a customer’s experience of the brand rather than replacing human interaction altogether.

“The reality is that the adoption of AI and other technologies is redefining the way people interact with the bank. What is important now, is to use these advancements as part of an omni-channel customer experience that gets the best out of both worlds,” concludes Conn.

Partner today with South Africa’s leading customer management partner.