February 25, 2024 – Duration 00:24:14

S4 Ep 8 The future of CX in financial services

The lines are blurring between the branch, contact center, and digital channels for financial services firms. Customers expect seamless journeys, contextually relevant interactions, and knowledgeable advisors who provide personalized service based on deep customer understanding. These expectations are often driven by their experiences with organizations in other industries. Nearly two-thirds of 61% of banking executives say continuous innovation is raising customer expectations — and 45% say they’re failing to keep pace with those expectations. In this episode of Tech Talks in 20, David Porter, Managing Director, Global Banking Industry, examines the evolving CX technology landscape in financial services. He also shares his advice on how financial services firms can make the greatest impact with their CX technology investments now and over the next few years.


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David Porter

David Porter

Managing Director, Global Banking Industry, Genesys

Today, David leads the Genesys Financial Services vertical team.  

In prior roles, David spent many years as Managing Director building and growing wealth management, payments and consumer banking businesses at J.P. MorganChase.  

He started his financial services career with Lloyds Bank. This was followed by twelve years at American Express working in sales & marketing, finance and business leadership roles in Europe, Asia and the US. 

Conversation Highlights

Here are conversation highlights from this episode, edited and condensed. Go to the timestamps in the recording for the full comments.

David, welcome to Tech Talks in 20. Tell us about yourself and what you do at Genesys.

David Porter (01:25): I lead the global industry team for financial services at Genesys. I’ve been at the company for about three years. Personally, my background is all financial services. I spent the last 12, 13 years running different businesses at JPMorgan Chase and American Express. I started my banking career at Lloyd’s. So, it’s all I’ve ever done. 

With all that experience, you’re the one to ask: What do you see as trends over the next 18 months in the financial service sector for customer experience?

David Porter (02:00): It’s important to start out with what’s been happening and recent channel trends. If I quote from a couple of large banks I know well: ATM volumes are down 10%, branch traffic is down 10%. Dot.com volume is down 5%. Where’s all the volume going? It’s all going to mobile devices.  

 It’s going to continue as banking apps get better and better. Think of your own experiences, your app is better now than it was three years ago. Think of the bot experiences you have, whether it’s a voicebot or chatbot, and then think back three years. Three years ago, these things were pretty awful. You really couldn’t do much.  

Frankly, a bot was, “Here’s my question,” and then the answer was, “Thank you for your question. Here’s a link to our website.” It was useless. That is not the case anymore. The bots have gotten so much better, and the improvement in those bot experiences is going to continue.  

The good news for banks is bots are proving to be super effective at reaching hard-to-get-at segments like younger audiences. So, I think that’s super exciting.  

There are folks who will continue to call and email their banks when things go wrong. There are also use cases starting to emerge in the video space and people are starting to finally use video in a banking sense.  

Let’s dive more into the technology side of the financial services customer experience. What do you see as the key areas where financial services CX tech is going to make a big impact?

David Porter (04:25): All of us have experienced what I just described, but I think the next thing that consumers and banks alike want is to have all these channels and technologies to be joined up. So, I think more evolution in that space will happen over the next 18 months.

The next big thing is AI. I’m here to say that AI isn’t actually new, and some might say that AI and machine learning and analytics have been overpromising and underdelivering and banking for the last six or seven years. But we’re at an inflection point now — and I would divide it into two spaces.

The first is what AI technology is in the marketplace today that’s up and running and working. I can just quote from Genesys because that’s what I know, but we have technology in that space, in market, running at scale with huge banks all around the world. Genesys Predictive Routing decides where a first contact should be sent. Our predictive engagement will tell you why we think that first contact is being initiated. What’s the problem? Then agent assist technology hums away in the background and can prompt representatives with actions such as to read a disclosure or make a product offer.

There’s then the second part, which is with new large language models: What is this next level of personalization that’s coming? We know it’s going to come. What we don’t know yet is which of these areas of personalization are going to hit first, which are going to be successful, and which will not be. I think we’ll see new capabilities in market this year.

What’s driving that focus on personalization and how does that differ from banking versus healthcare versus other verticals?

David Porter (07:35): I spotted two questions there, so we’ll hit them in turn. First, in the personalization space, it’s been a journey, right? Twenty years ago, banks had a one-size-fits-all, McDonald’s-like, model: “We’re just going to make it the same for everyone. It’ll be nice and efficient; it’ll be great.”

In banking 15 years ago, segments and having a segment approach was much more important. Traditional segments in banking are affluent, high net worth, ultra-high net worth. Then there were other segments based on needs, etc. But now different treatments are available and a target of one is possible.

Banks want to do that because they want to know their best customers and in some cases their worst — those who pose fraud and credit risks. Who are these people? What is their history in terms of transactions, behaviors, profile, their wants and needs? And then can we serve up offers, treatments, service, marketing, sales approaches that best fit those wants and needs? That personalization in banking can now be done at scale and we’re just starting to see that happening.

Why is this different in financial services versus healthcare or government, which was your second question. The main reason is security. If somebody steals your healthcare record, that’s sad, but it honestly doesn’t impact your daily life. If somebody steals my credit card and my checking account and access to my brokerage account, that absolutely impacts my day-to-day, my future. That’s terrible. So, security protocols in financial services — you won’t see them in any other industry.

You talked earlier about banks wanting to connect channels more and consumers wanting journeys to be more connected. Talk about having CX tech in bank branches and the benefit of connecting that with the contact center.

David Porter (10:45): Most every bank or financial services company that has a physical footprint also has this deadly phrase: “branch footprint optimization.” A cynic might say that’s just a euphemism to close half the branches. It’s really not. It means branch foot traffic is down. People visit branches less, what can we do to make them better channels? There are some things where you need to have face-to face meetings. Complex products still need face to face.

The future of the physical location is still alive and well, but it can be made more efficient. Here at Genesys, something we’ve been doing particularly with large European banks is putting our Genesys technology into the bank branches. So, when a financial advisor or a banker isn’t busy, they can log in, become an available expert, and we can route complex inquiries to them based on availability, on experience, on footprint, a whole bunch of things. The bankers like it, of course, because it means they’re busy and it’s complex things we’re routing to them, so they get bonused on that. The bank’s happy. It’s a win for everyone.

Let’s bring it back to AI and how that impacts the customer experience. What are some of the top use cases you’re seeing in banking?

David Porter (13:31): I think the top use case in financial services will be virtual assistants. And I’ll come back to that in a second.

There are other use cases that we’ve touched on, like fraud and risk management areas that are ripe for improvement. Wealth planning is another area that’s going to be made much better.

Back to the virtual assistants: That’s where we’re going to experience significant change. Imagine you’re walking through a department store and that you can zap your phone at a flat screen TV and ask your virtual assistant, “Is this a good price?” They’ll say, “Others like you didn’t spend $1,000 on this, they spent $800. However, if you charge this to your card, branded to this bank, you’ll get a 25% discount, so you’ll get it for $750.”

There’s also virtual assistant that says, “You had a good financial month, you earned more than you expected, you spent less, your portfolio increased by X, which was better than the market and better than others that looked like you. This is awesome. Now, let’s connect you with your financial advisor.”

These are all things that are coming. And they’re not far away either. They’re not 10 years away, these are in the next 18 months. We’ll start seeing these things appearing.

With the adoption of AI, what kind of roles, skills and technologies do the CX leaders need to learn about?

David Porter (15:23): I was talking to a very large bank a couple of weeks back, and this is a roundabout story to get answering your question. Their question to me was, “David, who is our most efficient telephone banker?” The answer, “Our IVR system that answers millions of calls a day.”

This same bank also has a virtual assistant. So, the next question to me was, “What’s the difference between our IVR system and the virtual assistant?” It’s a great question. There is no difference. It shouldn’t be different.

The real difference is that one is technology that was built 15 years ago and the other is technology built five years ago. They’re both out of date and we’re going to rewrite them both and those channels will converge.

There’s more impact though. It’s not just technology. Does every bank want to have 20,000 people in their back office answering phones? Of course, the answer is no. It’s a tremendous expense and as the new generation of chatbots, IVR, and virtual assistants converge, interactions will be so much more efficient. So, some think they won’t need all these people.

Personally, I don’t think that’s going to be true. I think we’ll still end up with the same number of FTEs and the same number of folks with headsets. They’ll simply be different people in different job families. They’re going to be folks who are registered and licensed financial planners, and it takes time to train these people. It takes on average about nine months to onboard somebody, get them trained, licensed, registered, ready to talk to a client. You can’t just flip somebody into a call center, train them for a week, and then they’re talking to clients. You won’t be able to do that anymore. That’s a significant change.

Where’s a good place to start for someone who’s trying to have a CX evolution in their organization?

David Porter (20:45): A good place to start is to ask your employees what they would like more of and less of. Ask your clients, “What are the astonishing experiences that you’ve had with technology from another sector and how did it impact your life?”

Mystery shop, send your people out into the market, send them into your back office, your call centers, send them into the homes of your best clients. Send them into a day in the life of a financial advisor. Then send them into other industries. What’s happening in healthcare? What’s happening in government? See what they’re doing.

More of all that will shape how to start.