Finance CFOs Steering AI Dollars to Customer Service – At Last

Half of financial services firms are using artificial intelligence to “elevate the customer” experience”, a new study reported.

You’d think C-Suite officers would make customer service a top-tier priority on their 2024 wish list.

But if you thought so, you’d be wrong.

A recent IBM study of 3,000 global CEOs found the “customer experience” ranks behind “productivity and profitability” and “technology modernization” on corporate leadership’s “to-do” list this year.

The IBM study notes a sluggish global economic environment has CEOs focusing on their “bottom lines rather than customer satisfaction concerns.”

“It comes as no surprise that productivity & profitability are now at the forefront of CEOs’ concerns, given our turbulent times,” said Nicholas de Kouchkovsky, customer experience expert at BCStrategies, in a LinkedIn note. “What baffles me is the fact that CX has fallen to the third position, trailing behind technology modernization.”

Running It Back for the Customer

As 2024 accelerates, signs abound that CEOs are having second thoughts about curbing customer service efforts – and it appears their chief financial officers, along with some relevant artificial intelligence performance data, have something to do with that changing mindset.

According to a study from Syntellis Performance Solutions this week titled 2024 CFO Outlook for Financial Institutions, the financial industry “has been slow to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) tools for customer service, but such applications are expected to accelerate in the next 12 to 18 months.”

That sentiment comes at a time when artificial intelligence usage in the customer experience space, as measured by the financial services sector, isn’t operating in high gear. That reality should be changing, however – and fast.

“Customer service applications of AI are particularly low in the financial services industry but are expected to see sizable growth in coming months,” the CFO study reported. “Just 12% of survey respondents said their institutions use AI tools for customer service, such as chatbots to expedite customer communications, while only 8% use AI to personalize the customer experience.”

“However, 50% of financial industry CFOs say their companies plan to implement AI to elevate the customer experience over the next 12 to 18 months, making it the industry’s biggest area of anticipated growth for AI applications,” the study noted. “Another 42% plan to implement AI for customer communications tools.”

No data suggests every major business sector is pivoting to AI to boost the customer service experience, but at the rate the financial sector is going, look for the copycat effect to kick in fast.

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