Editor's note: This feature appears in the May 2021 print issue of DS News magazine, available here.
Roughly a year ago, our daily lives changed dramatically, accommodating new ways of living to protect our health as wearing masks in public and working from home full-time became the norm. As a result of this adapted lifestyle, whether it be the shift to remote work or the increased use of grocery-delivery services, technology use advanced at an insanely rapid rate. Seventy-one percent of respondents noted that their technology use increased in the last year in order to keep up with these changing times. So, what can this experience tell us about emerging technology and society’s trust in it?
A recent survey conducted by Hyland, a content services provider for the financial services industry, analyzed how the response to COVID-19 has affected society’s trust in emerging tech. Surprisingly, the results indicated that there are many consumers who are feeling less confident than ever in their use of technology and some of the new applications and solutions created to support the evolving business climate. The results show that familiarity plays a huge role in consumers’ trust in technology.
As new advancements such as 5G, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and RPA emerge, so do the concerns and skepticism from the public. Forty-one percent of consumers said that they distrust new use cases of artificial intelligence (AI).
While new technologies bring a level of skepticism, they also act as incredible opportunities for organizations and the consumers. It is important to understand the role content plays in creating new customer experiences, and tech leaders need to voice this positive impact to wary consumers in order to educate them and debunk any myths regarding these new advancements. It’s rational to believe that once consumers understand the value and benefits of these technologies, trust will follow suit.
Not surprisingly, digital transformation strategies have been fast-tracked over the past year, and although initial distrust in emerging technology is completely normal, it is vital to embrace the adoption of new technologies to provide a better experience not only for your customers but for your organization. Many financial institutions found quite quickly that if they hadn’t already started to optimize their digital channels, they were late to the game and at a disadvantage in adapting the digital environments to support their employees and customers during the height of the pandemic. The good news is it’s not too late to start digitization processes to best support the digital experiences consumers want, as it’s a crucial component to an organization’s success.
Although organizations are scrambling to compete and keep up with emerging tech, there are ways to navigate business and master the digital collection, distribution, access, and analysis of data to mitigate risk and provide exceptional customer service.
Focus on customer experience
Navigating digital customer experience has been a major shift for many organizations because a larger digital presence requires more data to measure the level of consumer satisfaction. With digital interactions it’s important that the customer knows you have their best interests in mind and will work with them in the way(s) they want—including supporting omni-channel initiatives to deliver information and interactions where they expect. A positive customer experience is a powerful and attractive quality for consumers and helps financial institutions build brand differentiators in a competitive market.
Tips for providing a better customer experience:
- Quick access to customer interactions and data in one place allows for frictionless omni-channel interactions.
- Utilize the valuable customer data you already acquire to better understand their needs. Additionally, adding regular touchpoints with consumers allows for better insight into their needs and expectations.
- Provide advice and services that satisfy customer needs.
Understand Digital Transformation
Digital transformation may be one of the most widely used buzz terms in recent years but remains a cornerstone of a modern customer experience. As technology evolves, it directly impacts consumer demands and service expectations. The decisions you make now regarding the adoption of new technologies will have a profound effect on the growth and success of your organization in the future. It’s important to have a strategic approach to technology adoption to ensure ongoing success. It has become increasingly clear that customers want digital banking and lending options, but they also want to know they can access an expert when needed, with 45% of respondents saying in-person customer service is the most trustworthy method to resolving issues.
Information is the most valuable asset for every organization, and today’s world requires quick access to data to support from anywhere—whether it be in a typical office setting or remote location. Three best practices to keep in mind when assessing solutions to support digitization efforts include:
- Ensure the solution provides a seamless flow of information across your organization.
- Equip your employees with information they need, easily accessible from anywhere.
- Look into solutions, like content services platforms, that manage your content in one secure location.
Delivering a Great Customer Experience
In order to maintain a long-lasting relationship with your customer, it is crucial that your services and staff be readily available on all channels. Today’s consumers expect a proactive approach to deliver the innovative products and services they need. This means gathering customer data, analyzing financial patterns and trends and to provide a solution that solves their financial need—sometimes before they even know they need it. Following the below suggestions will help generate a positive attitude towards your brand and create an environment of trust:
- Enable easy access to customer data.
- Review current products and services holistically and assess how to evolve to meet changing customer behaviors and expectations.
- Provide your staff with the right training and technology to increase efficiency.
Rise of Artificial Intelligence
Intelligent automation (IA) is already shifting the interactions between customers and organizations. Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) are two examples of emerging technologies that fall into the IA category, leveraging software or digital workers to perform highly repetitive tasks in more efficient ways. AI has potential to positively impact key areas of the business such as increasing customer engagement, risk detection/mitigation, and tracking the updates of laws and regulations in real time. When evaluating AI solutions, it’s important to keep the following recommendations top of mind:
- Analyze current organizational processes for potential improvement opportunities.
- If you haven’t digitized processes already, look into technology like content services and how it can support digitization efforts and streamline processes.
- Conduct sufficient research on IA solutions, including RPA and AI, to see how they could make an impact for your organization.
- Remember, the goal of these automation solutions is to streamline repetitive tasks so that employees can focus on work that is more valuable.
Spotlight on Security
Information security is vital for financial services organizations, especially as technology continues to advance. Modern information management solutions are held to a higher standard due to the influx of confidential data that passes through financial systems. Distrust in these modern systems is a growing challenge. However, creating a fully secure solution will help your organization obtain trust of members as well as protect you from liability.
Tips on creating a secure system:
- Know where confidential information lies.
- Set parameters around who has access to what information and only give employees access to the information they need.
- Prepare for and detect unexpected security risks.
Financial institutions’ response to COVID-19, and how quickly they were able to evolve to keep pace with changing consumer demands, has fast-tracked many digital transformation efforts. Digital-first experiences are now the expectation for most consumers, and although there is still some distrust around surrounding new technologies, with the right parameters incorporated into the right processes, these solutions have the power to not only make an immediate business impact but also support growth and customer experience in whatever the next phase looks like. However, as with any important business decision, to be successful, it is vital to find the right platform and technology partner to support your customer experience, technology evolution, and security goals.