High-tech to high-touch: How AI empowers lenders to humanize customer experiences

From filtering email spam to analyzing checks for mobile deposit, artificial intelligence is becoming ingrained into daily life in ways both seen and unseen.

For financial institutions, the arrival of AI-driven tools has raised the bar for the customer experience. Digital tools are replacing traditionally human touchpoints with a faster, more satisfying experience — and they’re expected to do just that. However, knowing where these opportunities lie and making smart decisions about when to deploy AI hinges on understanding what AI is, how it applies, and how to utilize it to retain the high-touch human experience people expect.

As a complex and rapidly developing technology, AI can be misunderstood and defined in different ways. AI is also subject to common myths and fears, which make some lenders hesitant to implement it despite enormous potential to skyrocket efficiencies and exceed evolving customer expectations.

For example, many people are under the misconception that customers always prefer human interaction when conducting transactions. But as technology evolves and becomes more prevalent in daily life, customers are becoming more comfortable with — or even preferring — the adoption of video and voice AI capabilities.

Consumers are increasingly looking for a fully ambient experience — one that enables the tasks of borrowing and banking to fade into the background through the tech-enabled conveniences of voice interaction, AI and chatbots. Interactions are handed off to humans only when necessary.

While it might be strange to think that AI — something seemingly cold and robotic — could be used to make financial experiences more human, its deployment in key customer touchpoints is already proving its ability to deliver the kind of contextualized, in-the-moment experience customers seek. AI can be deployed in the form of technology that uses robots to conduct automated searches for proof of insurance, extracting and updating auto and mortgage information and lienholder updates for both. Using this tactic reduces the number of manual verifications and allows contact center staff to focus on higher level tasks, resulting in a better experience for lenders and their borrowers.

Recent survey data from proprietary research suggests that decisionmakers see changes brought on by technology advancement — versus other priorities — as having the most significant impact on long-term success. The growing use of AI among lenders offers a clear example of the transformative effect it can have on an industry.

David Crawford has been with State National Companies for 20 years and serves as VP of Strategy & Innovation. State National Companies, a division of Markel Corp, is the Customer Experience partner of Auto Finance Excellence (AutoFinanceExcellence.org), a sister service of Auto Finance News.

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