Fintech disruptors should champion clarity in the broker market
Shopping around online for personal finance is a lot like choosing an ideal cup of coffee. Just head to your local coffee shop where there’s an array of mocha-frappe-skinny options and witness how modern life can be unnecessarily overwhelming.
Now apply this scenario to financial decisions, which require simplicity and clarity as customers are often overwhelmed by more and more choice. Of course, there’s more at stake when considering personal finance and this is where artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can step in to help produce more tailored choices.
Customers shopping for personal finance are sometimes offered financing that they’re not eligible for, whereas they ought to be presented with the right selection of products tailored to their individual needs. It’s also crucial to get some expert guidance from a broker to help the customer make an informed decision.
Occasionally, customers are offered numerous different loan options by some providers, so it is easy to understand why people could delay making important financial decisions. While choice is good, it’s clarity that should take precedence.
For the past few years, AI and machine learning have been emerging in the personal finance market and are now starting to change how the sector operates. Fintech providers should be at the forefront of using such technology to champion clarity for customers.
Both AI and ML present multiple opportunities for brokers and should be embraced rather than feared. The customer experience can be significantly enhanced by the combination of technology and humans in a way which will effectively tailor solutions to the customer’s need. This process can be much more personalised by using ML models that do this tailoring based on learnings from large data sets. Getting to the right outcome for the customer, using such tools, enables brokers to provide greater reassurance and clarity which the consumer cherishes.
Another opportunity that AI and ML present for brokers is an increase in efficiency, with faster processing times and lower costs. This can allow brokers to grow their businesses faster without the additional resourcing costs required at the moment. Regulatory compliance can also be improved as staff can more easily access real-time guidance on what “the best staff” would do under such circumstances.
Despite all of this, the customer is unlikely to notice that AI and ML are behind these improvements in service. Technologies can easily sit behind the scenes and orchestrate personalisation, so customers’ needs are met more quickly and accurately. Clarity has always been at the very heart of great broking and these advances will make this key competitive advantage replicable, time and time again.
There is a lot of hype around these technologies and it is clear, like many previous developments, of the risk in adopting AI and ML technologies too quickly and without a proper measurement of results. Moreover, as technologies bring about this next phase in the evolution of financial services, the relevance of human touch should not be forgotten. For a seamless end-to-end customer journey, technologies should enhance, not replace, human interaction. One-to-one conversations with expert brokers will still form an integral and valued part of any meaningful financial transaction.
This key tenet needs to be at the forefront of development as, while systems will increasingly become self-managing, humans will need to work with these tools to provide the personal touch in an increasingly commoditised world. The most interesting advancements are not likely to be imagined yet and will come from the convergence of multiple technologies, such as AI, blockchain, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
In ten years’ time, customer service will look very different as customers will have new ways to interact with any broker platform. That said, these technologies enforce customer-centric thinking and that can only be a good thing for the consumers.
The winners in this technologically enhanced world will be those brokers who continue to connect their customers with providers who have a rich set of channels built around ease of use, trust and a personal “human” touch; the successful creation of uniquely effective customer experiences will separate the leaders from the followers.
Ultimately though, finding the perfect mix of technology and human experts will be our equivalent to having the perfect blend of coffee that helps provide a sense of clarity first thing in the morning.