As fintech disrupters continue to put pressure on traditional financial services firms, artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as a key technology for keeping pace in an evolving industry.

However, implementing machine learning and AI into a complex infrastructure of legacy technology is easier said than done.

In order for traditional financial services firms to keep pace with digital natives, it’s critical that they balance the opportunities and risks associated with AI in the industry.

Opportunities for Artificial Intelligence in Financial Services

We’ve previously touched upon the ways in which machine learning and AI will impact customer experience in digital financial services, but the potential opportunities and use cases are much broader.


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The value of AI lies in scalability and speed for financial services firms. Whether it’s identifying corrupt practices, making investment decisions, processing customer data, assessment of risk in portfolios, or any other process, applying AI algorithms can add a new level of depth and quality to financial services operations.

This is why the majority of respondents in a 2016 Baker & McKenzie survey felt that AI and machine learning integration will accelerate competition in the financial services industry. While the potential use cases for AI are seemingly endless, the short-term focus for these survey respondents fall into 3 key categories:

  • Credit provisioning
  • Asset management
  • Trading and hedge funds


Despite the optimism for artificial intelligence in financial services, the Baker & McKenzie survey shed light on an interesting theme—that the use of artificial intelligence is a bit of a double-edged sword alongside compliance risks of artificial intelligence.

Financial Services Firms Calling for Increased Regulation to mitigate the risks of Artificial Intelligence

“Financial institutions have been fined billions of dollars because of illegality and compliances breaches by traders. A logical response by banks is to automate as much decision-making as possible, hence the number of banks enthusiastically embracing AI and automation. But while conduct risk may be reduced, the unknown risks inherent in aspects of AI have not been eliminated.”Arun Srivastava, Head of Financial Services Regulation at Baker & McKenzie

The more we scale financial services operations with algorithms, the greater risk of non-compliance if those algorithms aren’t perfectly formed. With the industry facing more and more regulations in the wake of the financial crisis, it’s no surprise that 60% of survey respondents say more regulation is needed to offset the risks of AI and machine learning.

Even though financial services firms have been bombarded with new regulations in recent years, only 16% of survey respondents felt that they were being over-regulated. Compliance has its challenges, but there is a real desire for regulators to step in and create structure around business practices and new technologies, including the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Unfortunately, 75% of financial services leaders feel that regulators are behind the curve when it comes to understanding and keeping pace with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Not only that, but nearly half of firms aren’t prepared internally for the corporate liability, data protection and privacy risks that come with artificial intelligence opportunities.

Artificial intelligence might garner excitement for its ability to scale and speed up digital processes, but regulators and financial services firms alike must learn to balance the opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence before diving into AI and machine learning for their firms.

Customer Experience Analytics—A Good Starting Point for AI in Financial Services

When you’re just starting out with artificial intelligence and machine learning, you want to integrate it into an operation without introducing too much risk to the organization. This is why implementing a customer experience analytics solution is better than starting by overhauling something like your trading processes.

With the right customer experience analytics solution, you can identify critical points of friction in your digital services while ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations. Getting started with AI in customer experience analytics will prove its value as you learn how it can be implemented throughout your organization.

If you want to learn more about the digital pressures facing financial services institutions (including artificial intelligence and machine learning), download our free ebook, Uncovering Hidden Revenue from Online Customers for Financial Services.

John Thompson, CEO, UserReplay

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This is Part 4 of the holiday blog series we kicked off a month ago by discussing the cart abandonment issues that plague eCommerce businesses of all sizes this time of year. While cart abandonment is often the result of poor customer experience, it’s important to understand the various points of friction that diminish the customer experience. This fourth post will focus on the importance of on-site search usability. See Part 2 on Online Fraud here, or Part 3 on Form Fields here.

Remember when Google didn’t exist and we didn’t have the full breadth of the internet at our fingertips? It’s hard to imagine that it wasn’t too long ago that the internet wasn’t even a factor in our holiday shopping. Now, we take Google for granted and instant internet search is just a fact of life.

But this might be a problem for eCommerce companies. Customers are so used to Google functionality that they expect the same level of usability within your website. Unfortunately, so many eCommerce companies are failing to meet the call for powerful on-site search.


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If you want to take the pain out of holiday shopping for your customers (and increase revenue in the process), it’s time to start improving the on-site search experience.

Why Hasn’t On-Site eCommerce Search Been)a Pri/rity for Companies?

As an eCommerce company, you’re in the business of selling product. So it’s no surprise that you might think of search in terms of your own gains. The more you can optimize your search ranking, the more you can capitalize on valuable search-based intent data.

You know that customer experience is critical to improving conversion rates and selling more product—especially during the holiday shopping season. That being said, you need to look at eCommerce search functionality from your customer’s perspective in addition to your own SEO view.

According to Will Cook, former VP of Multichannel Marketing Optimization at HP, “Site search remains a neglected part of the customer journey. Yet search provides an easy way to connect the user’s intent with the right content…search queries and results clicks provide user feedback, which can be used to drive a more personalized experience in the future.”

In many cases, on-site search usability is low-hanging fruit for improving the customer experience. You just have to know what customers are looking for.

5 Tips for Improving Search Usability and the Customer Experience

It’s easy to say that your on-site eCommerce search functionality should be as seamless as Google. But it’s quite another thing to deliver such a great customer experience.

Keep these 5 tips in mind when evaluating if your own on-site search could be a bit more user friendly:

  1. Don’t Hide the Search Bar: Visitors will scan your home page for open areas and a clear, prominent search bar. Don’t cram the search functionality in a crowded navigation menu—give it its own space that people can easily identify. Best practices would say to place it in the top right or middle of the home screen.
  2. Include Post-Search Filtering: Some sites will let customers include endless parameters for their initial searches. This might seem like a good idea, but letting customers narrow down their searches so much might actually prevent them from finding what they want. Instead, let customers search initially and then filter various categories and subcategories from the results page.
  3. Autocomplete Is a Must: Search functionality and autocomplete are almost universally tied together today. People are used to this search box simplification. It may seem basic, but it can make an important difference for some customers.
  4. Give Leeway for Search Matches: Not everyone will search with words that are exact matches for your products. Maybe you call your men’s pants “slacks” and someone is using the term “khakis” in their search. Make your on-site search engine intelligent enough to identify synonyms to make sure customers are finding what they’re looking for.
  5. Offer Options for Search Results Views: List views on search engine results pages are fairly standard. We’re used to seeing results in this way on Google. But some customers might benefit from a grid view on your eCommerce site. It doesn’t take much to give customers multiple view options and it can make a big difference in the customer experience.

These are just a few things you can do to make sure you’re keeping busy holiday shoppers happy while they’re on your website. But it’s possible that you’re following all the best practices but your unique customers are still experiencing friction somewhere in the on-site search process.

The key to optimizing customer experience during the holiday season is the ability to identify points of friction in real time and prioritize which ones have the greatest potential to increase revenue when fixed. This is where a customer experience analytics solution like UserReplay steps in.

If you want to learn more about the customer experience issues you might face this holiday season and how a customer experience analytics solution can help, download this free ebook, Optimize the Customer Journey During the Holiday Season and Throughout the Year.

%7a href=”″ target=”_blank”>Holiday Season Shopping eBook


A few weeks ago, we wrote about how US insurers are making up ground with digital customer experience (CX) in an effort to close a widening revenue gap. However, it’s generally understood that UK insurers are further along in terms of embracing digital transformation— if you are an insurer in the UK, do you still have to be concerned about a revenue gap from digital CX?

Even though UK insurers are embracing digital channels to improve CX and engagement, there still could be holes in your CX strategy. Improvements in CX will deliver revenue you have already earned by bringing customers to your site with the intention of purchasing, but that is currently unrealized due to suboptimal customer experience.


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When we consider the amount of money being spent to attract, influence, acquire and retain customers, the fact that the CX is not optimal, and we sub-consciously know it, means we are wasting money to deliver a sub-optimal experience.

The Current State of Digital for UK Insurers

Every industry is vulnerable to digital disruption and insurance is no exception. In fact, digital natives such as those in the Insuretech space have made the insurance industry one of the most vulnerable to disruption in 2016.

This may be an industry-wide reality, but UK insurers are aware of the challenge. According to Aviva Chief Digital Officer, Andrew Brem, “For me a fundamental change in [the insurance industry] is a shift to a retail consumer mindset. If I think of the nomenclature of financial services, even on digital, you are filling out a form. The button says ‘apply.’ When do I apply for something from Amazon? This notion of a form, of applying, of a quote or of acceptance is entirely outmoded.”

This statement points to the fact that UK insurers are staying ahead of this disruption curve, but how is that being implemented?

  • 80% of UK motor insurers enable partial (get a free quote) or total online purchases, putting them at the same level as retail and travel insurance.
  • More than half of motor insurance is purchased directly by consumers (for example, sales via price comparison websites.)
  • Although it’s more complex than motor insurance, 24% of property insurance is purchased directly by consumers.

General Insurance companies are ahead of Health/Life insurers by virtue of their B2C focus, but both sectors of the UK insurance market are largely ahead of digital adoption relative to US insurers.  Despite the generally successful transition to digital channels, UK insurers are still missing out on revenue that they’ve rightfully earned.

UK Insurers Have Earned More Revenue Than They’re Collecting

Insurers contribute nearly €30 billion to the UK GDP—but are still missing out on revenue in the form of low-hanging fruit already earned.

Your ability to embrace digital is indicative of your commitment to CX. In commerce, CX is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction includes a customer’s attraction, awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy, purchase, and of course use of your product or service.

The effort you’ve put into acquiring a customer to get them to the point of purchase means you’ve earned their business—you just have to close and collect the revenue.

However, after following through on so many different processes—advertising, PPC/SEO, social media, web analytics, loyalty schemes, etc.—some prospects never become customers  as they don’t complete their purchases. What’s happening to this revenue you’ve earned?

Resolving the issues that cause this abrupt end to the customer relationship—and unlocking your earned revenue in the process—requires a three-fold approach:

  • Discover the pipeline of undisclosed opportunities in your customer journey data by capturing the entire experience and applying machine learning to uncover customer struggles.
  • Monetize and quanitfy the value of these opportunities to determine exactly how much revenue is being left on the table and allow improvements to be prioritized.
  • Optimize these opportunities by presenting technology teams with actionable insights into which aspects of the digital experience must be fixed – and the technical detail they need to make these improvements.

If you want to learn more about how the UserReplay customer experience analytics solution streamlines this three-fold approach to unlocking earned revenue, sign up for a free demo today and discover what this could mean to you.

John Thompson, CEO, UserReplay

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With 89% of businesses believing customer experience is a key differentiator for them in their markets, the rise of customer experience analytics (CXA) solutions isn’t surprising. However, CXA solutions are still relatively new to businesses, having only been around for the past 10 to 15 years.

Although the market for CXA solutions is still young, technology commoditization has created a certain baseline of user expectations for features and performance. For example, businesses expect all CXA solutions to collect data regarding critical CX KPIs and metrics. They also expect their chosen solution to help them leverage data to improve digital customer experiences.

Pinpointing digital customer experience friction is a challenge even with a CXA solution, so you can’t afford to implement a commoditized offering. When looking for a CXA vendor, an ongoing collaborative and flexible relationship is essential.

The Key Considerations for a Collaborative CXA Vendor Relationship

Because CX is so important to the overall differentiation of your business, you can’t partner with a CXA provider that doesn’t eat, sleep and breathe customer experience. Signing up for a SaaS-based solution without ever talking to the vendor simply won’t yield the results businesses need (and expect) out of customer experience analytics.

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As you research CXA vendors and evaluate their approaches to collaboration, be sure to ask the following questions:

  • How much investment do you make in your CXA platform relative to the other products that you provide?
  • Are there limitations on the functionality we have access to in your licensing or subscription model?
  • Will we need to buy new modules to support our current and future analysis requirements?
  • Can we roll out the system to any user within the organization without additional cost—to ensure collaboration across departments?
  • Do you have experts who can work with us collaboratively to ensure we maximize the value of our CXA investment?

All of these questions are vital to the successful implementation of an effective CXA solution. However, the final question regarding collaboration between your company and the CX experts at your vendor is particularly important.

Managing digital customer experiences is, at times, a full time job; and many companies don’t have the resources to devote so much time to using their CXA solution to its fullest potential. This is where a truly collaborative CXA vendor proves valuable.

Taking Advantage of a Collaborative CXA Provider

Rather than struggling to execute on actionable insights from a CXA solution, your vendor should have the expertise to manage your customer experience analytics as a service. The advantage is that you can focus on the nuances of your business while your partner digs deep into the points of digital customer experience friction, monetizing them to show you exactly where you can improve to gain the greatest uplift in conversion and revenue.

A collaborative CXA vendor should be able to accomplish the following on your behalf:

  • Discover the reasons why customers fail to convert as they should.
  • Analyze the data captured about customers who have experienced issues, then quantify the potential revenue opportunity of resolving them and prioritize improvements.
  • Rectify issues based on the prioritization developed in the Analyze step. Session replay and detailed technical data is important here to reproduce issues quickly and efficiently.
  • Track online experience KPIs and metrics to verify issues that have been rectified and to alert if these issues re-occur.
  • Share the results and wins that are achieved through application of CXA technology within your organization—especially with executive and senior management.

These steps serve to unlock the full potential of customer experience analytics in the context of a business that might not have the time to leverage mountains of customer data itself. However, choosing the wrong CXA vendor might leave you on your own when it comes to discovering and eliminating digital customer experience friction.

If you want to learn how the UserReplay customer experience analytics solution works and how Active Insight Services improve collaboration between you and your CXA vendor, contact us today for a free, live demo.

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