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Financial institutions have a wealth of information at their disposal—data that, in many respects, languishes unused instead of being applied toward improving customer service. Records live in systems that do not talk to each another; customer identities are replaced with account numbers; credit worthiness is reduced to a simple score. Yet, according to a July 2018 article in Forbes, customer service will be the leading driver of competitive advantage by the year 2020.

Where financial institutions often sacrifice their customer experience in favor of operational efficiency, companies in other industries have excelled at making the most of customer data to enhance customer relationships. With the idea that borrowing ideas from other industries is one of the best ways to make breakthroughs in another, this discussion will center on the travel industry, and in particular, airline Aeromexico, as a case study in the use of AI to assist in delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Enhancing customer experience

Operating in the extremely price-conscious travel industry, Aeromexico has leveraged artificial intelligence to empower its customer service agents to focus on delivering a better customer experience. Now, more than 95 percent of their initial customer engagements are handled by AI. The company’s new AI-based customer service tool called Aerobot holds great promise as a means to use data to better serve customers. Aerobot learns from past customer service scripts to answer simple questions, and while it’s in early stages, it is continuing to learn.  This kind of tool not only benefits the bottom line but also creates a better onboarding experience and customer experience overall, encouraging repeat business and gaining a competitive advantage in a cutthroat industry.

How might this example extend to financial institutions? What if, based on data gained from multiple sources, a bank could detect when a small business client would need to expand and proactively extended credit at the right time? Or what if they could leverage telemetry, biometrics, and AI-delivered intelligence at scale to immediately identify a customer, offering them appropriately customized products and services? The financial industry is on the precipice of a revolution: one where each customer can demand—and expect—a level of service that was previously unimaginable, while banks can scale to meet the demand quickly, cheaply, and virtually without limit.

In the spirit of America’s greatest and most prolific inventor, Thomas Edison, we may “literally astound ourselves” with what we can achieve as an industry.

Delivering inteligence at scale 

Banking clients are looking for an intuitive and orchestrated experience—where an FSI is a partner who understands their needs and offers proactive assistance—anywhere, anytime. By embracing digital transformation, financial institutions can create entirely new experiences and additional revenue streams, but only if they make the investments necessary to bring these visions to life. It’s entirely possible, if not inevitable, that the future banking ecosystem will be unrecognizable by today’s standards. But one thing is clear: to survive and thrive in this digital-augmented age, financial institutions will need to deliver personalized and seamless interactions and experiences.

Read more on this topic, and learn how innovative financial institutions are turning customer experience challenges into opportunities with the Microsoft perspective on the future of engagement and loyalty in banking and capital markets.

Enabling innovation is Microsoft’s core mission: we understand that transformation can be challenging, but we also believe that it holds incredible promise. Our approach is to leverage technology in novel ways—enabling business agility with the tools that will define the future of customer interaction.

As your trusted technology partner, we offer both industry know-how and enterprise-grade solutions. And we can help you wherever you are on your digital transformation roadmap.