For the majority (80 per cent) of Irish financial services leaders, customers must come first if their organisation is to succeed in the long-term, with 7-in-10 citing ‘trust’ as a key factor for sustaining strong customer relationships. This is according to a global study commissioned by Fujitsu, which found that 75 per cent of financial services leaders in Ireland have found customers’ mistrust to have increased significantly over the past three years. Fortunately, the majority (65 per cent) are confident their organisation is well positioned to meet customer expectations over the next decade, compared to 74 per cent across other industries.

As customer expectations continue to rise, almost two-thirds (60 per cent) of Irish financial services leaders reported that their customers expect them to be more innovative in their work with them. And digital technology is playing a fundamental role for 75 per cent of financial services leaders when it comes to improving customer experience. Over the past few years, a small number (14 per cent) of financial services businesses are also benefitting from an improved customer relationship because their organisation took steps to invest in digital technology. In comparison, this was true for only less than a quarter of business (23 per cent) leaders in other sectors. For example, half (50 percent) of financial services leaders noted AI as a technology that will transform the services and products offered to customers.

“Businesses in the financial services sector today are under constant pressure to meet rising customer expectations whilst increasing the operational efficiency of the company to stay ahead of the competition. For banks, in particular, building a trustworthy relationship with their customers is a huge contributor to ensuring overall success, and they often leverage technology to provide much-needed support. Fortunately, the likes of AI and other emerging technologies are providing a unique opportunity for financial service leaders to overcome these challenges. For instance Fujitsu’s quantum-inspired Digital Annealer, a new technology that is used to solve large-scale combinatorial optimisation problems instantly, is used by NatWest to solve the bank’s most complex, challenging and time-consuming financial investment problems by optimising its mix of high-quality liquid assets including bonds, cash and government securities,” said Stuart Rye, Director Business Development, Financial Services at Fujitsu UK & Ireland.

“It’s extremely promising to see that financial service organisations are leading the way when it comes to leveraging digital technologies, providing an example to other industries to follow suit. It’s clear that the use of technology is differentiating forward-thinking businesses from the competition, exemplifying that in today’s economic landscape, innovation and technology play an important role in improving customer service, which in turn will support future business growth.”

When considering the role that technology plays especially in customer service, there’s no sign of it slowing down. For example, the research revealed that half (50 per cent) of financial services leaders said their organisation plans to automate some human tasks within the next three years in order to free up employees’ time to focus on the customer.

Rye adds: “In a sector so heavily reliant on human interaction and trust – such as financial services – leveraging technology can help free up more of employees’ time to spend on the customer. AI and automation should be used to take over the more mundane and repetitive tasks, which will give employees more time to focus on building stronger customer relationships and on tasks that require creativity and innovative thinking.”

To download the full report, please visit www.fujitsu.com/success

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