Financial Advising: How It Can Be Both Automated and Personal

Justin Sears, VP Product Marketing, LucidworksJustin Sears, VP Product Marketing,Lucidworks
I worked in the Consumer Deposits Group at one of the world’s largest banks for the five years, before, during, and after the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Artificial intelligence wasn’t available for day-to-day use, but analytics and reporting technologies were everywhere. Nevertheless, my requests for analysis went to people trained and authorized to run Teradata queries. If I had to launch a product, I put my request in the queue, and I waited days or weeks for the answers I needed.

From this first-hand experience, I can tell you that one of the falsest of false dichotomies in banking is the supposed zero-sum choice between human and automated intelligence. In my case at least, greater automation would have been better for my productivity and job satisfaction. I would have been able to solve bigger problems, add more value, and enjoy my job more.

Automation didn’t cost me my job; a lack of smart automation cost the bank yours truly as an employee. I went back into software, and now I run marketing at Lucidworks. The world’s largest banks use our AI-powered software products to personalize the digital experiences of clients and employees as they find information during customer service conversations.

Empower Employees to Empower Their Clients

If the industry is called “financial services”, why do so many firms still struggle to get the “services” part right? It’s certainly not for lack of trying. The “I-can’t-find-it-when-I-need-it” challenge is universal, facing many industries. Banks have difficulty blending the customer experience (CX) with the employee experience (EX) of finding information.

For example, one of the top US banks was struggling to help their financial advisors quickly identify personalized, relevant wealth management advice for clients. The bank had more than 250 pieces of new investment research uploaded daily to the system used by financial advisors, yet most wealth managers have time to familiarize themselves with only 15-20 documents. It was impossible to sift through all the materials, contextualize them, and figure out which might be most relevant for different conversations with each of their 2,000 advisory clients.
Lucidworks knew advisors needed to quickly unlock the correlations between client’s interests and behavior patterns. Financial advisors can now prioritize whether customers should buy or sell a particular investment based on trends and patterns woven across information scattered across accounts, households, interactions, web searches, and third-party research. This automated findability makes advisors more efficient, so they sell more targeted client services in less time. All of this results in deeper relationships with clients that greatly improves revenue.

Know Who’s On the Other Side of the Screen

Employees didn't step into their role because they love searching through the messy web of your company's intranet to find information they need to do their jobs. Outdated knowledge management solutions are a drag on employee productivity and morale. It slows down innovation and frustrates bankers and advisors.

By harvesting signals on which documents employees click on, which forms they download, and which internal experts they consult with, a smarter Intranet can personalize search results, navigation options or recommendations for the context of each future discussion.

Employee Engagement Means Customer Engagement

Give your employees the same type of personalized experience they’ve come to love from their consumer apps like Netflix or Amazon. They should be able to shift their time away from searching for information and towards focussing on adding value through better advice and service. Banks that make workplace knowledge more findable will have more customers to support. When machine learning technologies make that knowledge self-tuning, its value increases automatically. The more it’s used, the more relevant and effective it is for customer service.

For example, one of our customer contacts at Morgan Stanley told us, “It became very important for us to focus on the content creation once, because that’s where the human capital is utilized. Where that content is rendered really doesn’t matter because all those channels can be automated.” We could not agree more: get the content right and then use machine intelligence to present it in the right context to enrich each service conversation.

Automation Is an Even Better Asset Than Cash

If you want to be seen as a champion in the eyes of your employees and customers, explore how you can make automation an asset instead of a foe. For bankers, financial advisors, and other knowledge workers in your institution, smart automation can make EX and CX better together, compounding the value of each dollar you might invest in one of those two areas. Your employees and your clients will reward you for it.
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