While strong financial performances from banks such as RBS and Lloyds are promising, competition from digital challenger banks is growing ever hotter. With 61 percent of smartphone owners opting to bank solely online, traditional banks need to focus on improving their customer service if they want to stay in the game.

This is according to Bhupender Singh, CEO of Intelenet® Global Services, who says traditional lenders cannot afford to get complacent.

Mr. Singh comments: “Despite 42 percent of people moving to alternative service providers for personal banking needs, over half are choosing to stick with their traditional bank, making these institutions a force to be reckoned with.

“But this does not mean that traditional lenders should become complacent – in the age of the customer, it is crucial that banks can provide advice and support that is truly in the customers’ best interest. One way that banks are streamlining the customer experience, is by using chatbots and AI technology to carry out customer interactions.

Traditional banks have been improving their services of late, to positive results. RBS is expected to outperform analyst predictions and Lloyds’ strong financial performance is forecasted to continue. But although confidence is high, traditional institutions remain under pressure to maintain market share in the increasingly digital climate. To do so, many are focusing on securing their long-term future by improving customer-centricity, regardless of the short-term impact on profit.

Mr. Singh continues: “For instance, voice recognition software can be paired with customer records and predictive tools to identify a specific customer and confirm which department they require before sending them there directly, without the customer having to explain their problem multiple times. This dramatically improves the customer experience and, for one bank, has reduced the average handling time by 40 percent.

“But while technology is a key part of the solution, it is important to remember that it is simply that – a part of the puzzle. A human touch is still essential to solve many of the financial issues that people face. Much of the best automation and AI technologies in the banking sector takes away the burden of repetitive tasks for staff, allowing them to focus their efforts on quality in-person service.”