4 reasons why banks should market non-AI CE

robot customer service rep

AI. Had enough yet? Seems like this is all anyone wants to talk about these days. It also seems like every business – banks included, of course – is increasingly turning to AI and automation to streamline operations and enhance customer service. But, is AI really an enhancement to a company’s CE or Customer Experience?

Being an ad guy through and through, I admit that I (perhaps) view marketing messaging with a slightly more critical eye than “civilians.” At least that’s what I’ve been told by folks whose opinions I respect… and in some cases, simply can’t ignore as we live in the same house.

Anyway, I just recently caught a bank ad that made me sit up and take notice. Why? Because while most institutions are touting the fact that they’re adopting AI in every way, shape and form, this bank did just the opposite. 

The commercial was for Discover.  Apparently, the Discover folks did some research and were told by 95% of those surveyed that they prefer engaging with a live customer service agent instead of a “bot.” In the commercial, actress Jenifer Coolidge is on the phone with a Discover rep and exclaims, “boy, you robots are sounding more human every day.” To which the rep replies, “I’m not a robot.  I’m human. Are you a robot?” Coolidge, at this point, isn’t sure how to respond. Meanwhile, TD is doing likewise in their television advertising, marketing the fact that they are "unexpectedly human."

Now, in an age when everyone wants to hitch their wagon to AI, I thought this was a very unique (and impactful) approach to one of the most critical functions a bank – any business, in fact – performs.  Keeping customers happy.

Granted, AI can do a remarkable job of SUPPORTING a customer service team. HubSpot, in “AI in customer service. 11 ways to use it,” has this to say on the matter and I agree with it whole-heartedly:

“Artificial intelligence (AI) can help customer service improve the customer experience and create more personalized interactions with consumers. AI can automate routine processes, provide 24/7 support, and analyze large amounts of customer data to understand individual preferences. This can enable personalized interactions, where customers receive tailored recommendations and solutions. AI can also help support teams streamline their workflow, address customer requests more quickly, and proactively anticipate customer needs.”

I agree. But, with one caveat. It’s the “support” part. I believe that if history has taught us anything, and if we’ve learned anything about how companies use tech to (supposedly) “enhance productivity,” AI will not merely SUPPORT customer service teams; it will replace them. Now, I can hear you say, “that will never happen,” and you could be right. However, even if that never happens, it’s what people believe will happen and that’s what matters. And that’s why I think that bank’s commercial is so on the money.

Humans still want the human touch

While AI offers many benefits, there is still no substitute for the human touch when it comes to providing personalized, empathetic, and reliable customer service. I.e., the kind of service that, above all else, sets community banks apart from the big nationals and the fin-techs of the world. Here are a few reasons why I think that banks can and should be marketing their “humanness.” Use these as “benefits” in your customer service marketing, i.e., your social media messaging.

  1. Authentic connection and empathy: One of the key advantages of human customer service agents is their ability to establish authentic connections and demonstrate empathy towards customers. Unlike AI (at least, at present. This is bound to change and quickly) which operates based on predefined algorithms and responses, human agents can understand the nuances of each customer's situation and provide personalized support. By emphasizing the human element of their customer service, as this recent bank commercial did, I believe you can differentiate yourself from competitors and build stronger relationships with customers based on trust and understanding.
  2. Complex problem-solving: While AI excels at handling routine inquiries and tasks, it often falls short when faced with complex or novel situations that require critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Your human customer service agents can bring a level of flexibility and creativity to their engagements with your customers, enabling them to think outside the box, and find innovative solutions to complex problems. By highlighting the expertise and problem-solving capabilities of your human agents in your marketing, you can reassure your customers that their needs will be met by a “real person,” no matter how challenging the situation. 
  3. Personalized service and relationship building: Personalization is key to delivering exceptional customer experiences and to fostering long-term relationships with customers. By getting to know customers on a deeper level, human agents can strengthen loyalty and increase lifetime customer value. You can leverage this advantage by marketing the personalized service and relationship-building capabilities of your “non-robot” customer service professionals in, for instance, your social media posts.
  4. Trust and security: In an age of increasing concern over data privacy and security, many customers prefer to interact with human agents when discussing sensitive financial matters or seeking assistance with account-related issues. Human agents can provide reassurance and guidance to customers, addressing their concerns and ensuring that their information is handled securely and confidentially. Research has consistently shown that customers value human interaction and personalized service when dealing with their banks. This from SurveyMonkey in “25 stats about AI in customer experience that show how consumers really feel.”

By emphasizing the trustworthiness and reliability of their human customer service teams, organizations can instill confidence in customers and demonstrate their commitment to protecting their privacy and security. Chatbots have their place, but they’re a far cry from what customers really want: empathy and understanding for complex issues.

  • 90% of people prefer to get customer service from a human rather than a chatbot
  • The commonly used customer satisfaction metric Net Promoter Score® (NPS) is 72 points higher for human service agents than it is for customer service chatbots.”

Ultimately, the goal of any customer service strategy is to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. By marketing the fact that they use real customer service people, banks can position themselves as customer-centric organizations that recognize the needs of their customers… and that they take the security of each customer’s personal information very seriously. 

What next?

Is AI going to transform the way banks manage their customer experience? Absolutely. There are a host of back office functions, such as data management and analysis, that when enhanced by AI, can have a tremendous impact on the quality of a bank’s customer experience. But what customers want is a real, human experience, not an “artificial” one. By delivering exceptional customer experiences through human interaction – and marketing that humanness via your marketing messaging – you can meet customer needs, drive loyalty, differentiate yourself from competitors, and grow your share of the market.

Bank Marketing Center

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers — developed by bank marketing professionals for bank marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.   

Our web-based platform puts our client partners in complete control of their marketing production process – and for a fraction of traditional marketing costs. We’re also proud of the fact that we currently work with over 300 financial institutions.

Want to learn more about what we can do for your community bank and your marketing efforts? You can start by visiting bankmarketingcenter.com. Then, feel free to contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.