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Combat Financial Insecurity by Elevating Customer Experience

In a whirlwind of economic data, the United States has been navigating a rollercoaster ride, and the latest twist reveals that the annual inflation rate surged to a formidable 3.2% for the 12 months leading up to July. This revelation paints a vivid picture of the nation’s financial landscape, showcasing the undeniable impact it has had on our wallets. This follows a rise of 3.0% in the previous period. Amid rising inflation in conjunction with widespread layoffs across the tech industry, it has become more crucial to focus on real-world financial advice. With inflation causing uncertainty about the future, it becomes more challenging for consumers to commit to long-term financial goals or investments and leaves little room in their budgets for educational resources or programs that can enhance their financial literacy.

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Recent survey data provides further context for the current attitudes many consumers hold amidst this ongoing economic turmoil. More specifically, 64% of respondents have experienced financial difficulties during the recent economic downturn and more than half (58%) of respondents have not received any financial advice from their financial institutions or banks. This only further exacerbates financial difficulties, since consumers tend to rely on guidance from the financial sector to ascertain what spending decisions will be most beneficial. Financial industry leaders shouldn’t view providing financial guidance as an optional feature, but rather as a value-generating competitive advantage. With 87% of respondents indicating a higher likelihood of engaging with a banking institution that exhibits a robust commitment to consumer financial education and offers responsive support during difficult circumstances, it is extremely important for banks to have these measures in place.

Humanizing the Customer Experience

In a competitive market, the human touch can be a significant differentiator when it comes to the customer experience (CX). Financial institutions that still prioritize the human component of customer service can stand out from their competitors and be seen as more customer-centric. More than half (57%) of survey respondents preferred human interaction when navigating financial uncertainty. While technology and automation have their place in enhancing efficiency and convenience in customer experiences, maintaining the human element ensures that businesses can address the complex, emotional, and unique aspects of customer interactions, ultimately leading to better customer satisfaction and loyalty.

A Generational Shift for the Long Haul

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We’re well into an era where everything is readily available at our fingertips. In particular, Millennials and Gen Z want to be in the know as it pertains to their financial well-being. More specifically, during economic uncertainty, 88% of millennials and 82% of Gen Z prefer to bank with institutions that provide consumer financial guidance.

Digital channels are a key delivery channel for this type of information since 41% of millennials and 37% of Gen Z trust their mobile and web apps to put their finances in check. Meanwhile, more personal channels are preferred by their Baby Boomer predecessors, with just 24% relying on digital banking. Still, it is clear that digital is the way of the future, and financial institutions that embrace that fully will gain a clear advantage.

The Future of the Financial Sector

All in all, the survey findings deliver a clear message: to provide a robust customer experience (CX), the financial industry must adopt a strategy that combines technology with a human touch. In challenging times, financial institutions should be prepared to assist customers of all age groups and varying levels of financial knowledge, which requires connecting with customers on their terms and preferred channels.

By adopting a hybrid approach that melds technology with a human connection, financial organizations can equip individuals with better tools to navigate economic difficulties successfully. As millennials and Gen Z are enthusiastic learners, emphasizing financial education through mobile applications and online platforms can cultivate a well-informed and financially resilient upcoming generation. The financial sector should proactively commit to ensuring that consumers receive timely support, paving the way for a more secure financial future for everyone and enhancing their own sustainability by fostering a loyal and financially astute customer base.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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