As consumers move further forward into the digital realm to do everyday activities, it is not too inconceivable that banking will become one activity to be parlayed via voice technologies from the likes of Amazon and Google.
In 2016, Emmett Higdon, Director of Digital Banking at Javelin Strategy & Research, warned that a strong level of consumer interest in voice control of mobile banking is not being matched by bank development to meet the emerging demand.
Delivered initially through banks’ mobile banking applications, voice assistants will evolve to handle routine banking functions through a variety of devices, including wearables, automobiles, and home automation hubs such aslike Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.
“Customer satisfaction with voice banking services will rely on the ease and speed with which customers can access the functionality, and the level of support provided when voice assistants fail.
Banks need to focus first on delivering basic account data through voice banking simply and reliably to build customer confidence and demand for more advanced transactional functionality,” he added.
A new report from the research firm titled, Smart Speaker Banking Must Overcome Digital Inertia, recommends that large banks support emerging capabilities from Amazon and Google, while advising smaller institutions to play fast follower.
More than half of all consumers surveyed would use Amazon’s digital voice assistant, Alexa, to make routine banking requests, including checking account balances (47%) and reviewing recent transactions (43%), according to Javelin Strategy & Research.
“The challenge for banks is in differentiating the voice value proposition from other digital delivery options. Most consumers would not immediately mention banking as one of the reasons they purchased a connected home speaker.
The bar is high for emerging channels such as home voice banking to deliver a compelling experience for day-to-day transactional tasks,” explained Higdon.
While banks can test and learn from the current crop of smart speakers, consumer adoption will grow slowly due to security concerns and preferences for online or mobile channels, he noted.
In April 2018, Singapore’s OCBC launched its Google Assistant-powered banking service in the city.
The Accenture voice assistant infographic highlights several issues that persist with voice-assisted applications (see below).
The infographic is based on a 21,000-strong consumer survey across 19 countries to ascertain interests and concerns about the use of digital assistants in the pursuit of specific every day activities.
The report titled “Time to Navigate the Super Myway: Giving Consumers Exactly What They’re Looking For” revealed that 66% of consumers who own digital voice assistants said they use their smartphones for fewer applications in the home since acquiring the devices, 64% of these owners said they use their smartphones less for entertainment, and use them less for online purchasing (58%) and general information searches (56%).
Source: Accenture 2018