In the past week I’ve learned that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now being used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, to brew a better tasting beer and even to keep cats away from one green-fingered and particularly garden-proud software engineer’s lawn.
AI is here and it’s finally living up to the hype. And although you’d be forgiven for picturing robots and Hollywood sci-fi, today’s reality is more often about algorithms being used to analyse and process large amounts of data, driving systems and applications without the end user even knowing it’s there.
The AI Effect
AI is already transforming industries with huge economic advantages. Some legal firms are now using AI to process property deeds for planning permission, meaning a job that used to take trainees and paralegals 15 minutes by hand is now completed in seconds.
But it’s not just about processing or reducing admin. AI is increasingly being used to actually understand and analyse information. Virgin Trains now use an AI platform called inSTREAM to catagorise their customer emails, effectively ‘reading’ them and noting their meaning and sentiment – reducing the man hours required for this task from 35 to just four.
AI doesn’t always mean replacing human interactions, it can also be used to support and enhance them. Despite technology allowing more interaction via digital channels than ever before, there is still a significant requirement for verbal conversation between staff and customers.
Many people are more comfortable speaking with someone directly, as it feels more transparent and trustworthy. This is especially true in the financial advice sector, where customers prefer to have a relationship with someone before discussing their intimate affairs.
Technology equals opportunity
I founded RecordSure in 2012 when I realised that AI technology could help solve some of the compliance issues facing financial institutions. Customer confidence had been eroded by the financial crisis and numerous mis-selling scandals, creating an urgent need to rebuild trust.
With 30 years experience working in compliance in the financial industry (including 16 years running my own compliance firm, The Consulting Consortium), I was well placed to see that technology could provide the protection and reassurance that firms and customers needed. So I committed substantial finances and recruited an amazing team to lead research and development.
In 2013 we launched RecordSure – a pioneering system which uses high quality recording techniques and AI technology to record and analyse conversations between customers and staff, whether they’re face-to-face or over the phone.
Building trust and transparency
By allowing firms to instantly provide a recording of all their conversations with customers, and then analysing those conversations to detect and flag any potential mis-selling risks, we are helping to rebuild levels of trust and transparency.
The system also replaces the labour intensive cost of record keeping, a major headache for financial institutions. After all, why would you need to write and store notes from customer conversations, when you can simply record them?
Ultimately, we want all customers to feel completely safe, reassured and protected when buying financial products and services – knowing they can gain access to an authoritative record of everything said if required.
We also want to help business leaders quickly identify the most ‘at risk’ conversations, and address the bad behaviours that gave financial services a bad name.
Beyond financial services
But of course, the system can be used for much more than compliance issues and is relevant across many sectors. By monitoring and analysing conversations we can ensure customers are receiving excellence service, glean insight to inform business decisions, or identify opportunities and areas of improvement.
As such RecordSure has become a valuable tool for any business having regular conversations with its customers.
What system, process or even cultural improvements could you make if you harnessed the power of AI in your business? Don’t just think outside the box. Find out what incredible technology is out there now and consider how you could use it to build a brand new box.
The future of AI is here – it’s time to find out what it can do for you.
About the author
Joanne Smith has worked in financial services for over 20 years and is the CEO of RecordSure and The Consulting Consortium. Her expertise is in compliance related matters, across all sectors of the industry. Since 1990 she has worked in a number of financial services companies including Royal Insurance, HBOS and KPMG, as well as the Financial Services Authority.