There’s great optimism around AI’s potential to improve responsiveness and customer service, according to a recent survey of Australian C-suite executives and finance leaders, conducted by enterprise leader in Conversational AI, Amelia.

Discussed at the annual Customer Owned Banking Association conference on the Gold Coast, the findings show that ‘enhancing customer experiences’ was the chief focus of investment in technology, for 81% of the survey’s respondents. ‘Decreasing contact centre abandonment rate’ was a goal for 64%, while 33% were seeking to improve process automation across their operations. One-third of respondents said the support of overall sustainability goals was a focus.

Deriving genuine commercial value from technology investments is an imperative for organisations in the financial services space with half of respondents stated that being able to ‘think in terms of outcomes and not use cases’ was the most critical factor in delivering on their AI ambitions.

Adopting a dual AI strategy and building the right data platform architecture were cited as critical factors by 22% and 17% of respondents respectively. Less than one in five (17%) said improving fraud detection capabilities was their chief focus.

Chatbots and virtual assistants have long been a feature of the financial services landscape but those powered by Conversational AI can deliver more responsive and personalised customer service than their more rudimentary predecessors. Almost 95% of respondents identified virtual assistants as the Conversational AI capability most applicable to their business.

Knowledge management and automated customer lifecycle management were also seen as highly applicable, by 50% and 28% of respondents respectively.

Almost 70% of respondents hoped to use AI to provide investment options tailored to individual customer needs and generate information which those customers can use to help them make informed decisions. Meanwhile, close to half (47%) of respondents said AI technology should also benefit employees, by providing improved access to research and data.

Amelia vice president and general manager Australia and New Zealand, Andrew Winlaw said it was clear the customer owned banking sector already understood the true value of AI: its ability to enhance problem solving skills and help others. 

“Technologies like Conversational AI and generative AI can create intelligent virtual assistants that drive cost savings and, more importantly, increased customer and employee satisfaction,” he said.

“Local financial institutions that look for constructive ways to harness the transformative power of this technology have the opportunity to reimagine their customer experience and drive meaningful business value through increased operational efficiency. We’re living in an era of unprecedented innovation and there are endless possibilities for this industry to explore and experiment.”