Ulster Bank turns to AI to understand customers better

Artificial intelligence technology is helping the bank work out what people want

Ulster Bank has started using an artificial intelligence platform to personalise future interactions with customers. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Ulster Bank has started using an artificial intelligence platform to personalise future interactions with customers. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Ulster Bank, a unit of Royal Bank of Scotland, has decided to use artificial intelligence (AI) to get closer to its customers.

The bank said on Thursday it has used French IT services company Atos to deploy US software giant Salesforce’s Einstein consumer relationship management (CRM) platform for the bank. It is the first full-scale implementation of this system in the financial services industry worldwide, according to Atos.

The development means that Ulster Bank can now analyse past customer behaviour to be better able to understand and personalise future engagements with them.

It should enable the bank to more effectively predict and recommend the right product, including types of loans, savings accounts, and foreign exchange solutions to customers.

“With the new platform, we have changed the system, the culture and the way our people interact with customers,” said Damien Judge, head of business commercial excellence at Ulster Bank.

Customer choices

The new system also includes a “next-best product recommendation engine”, similar to a tool used by companies such as Amazon and Netflix to predict what customers may want based on other similar customer choices.

While banks globally have lagged behind other sectors in the use of artificial intelligence, the industry is turning increasingly to AI solutions to cut costs and improve systems as they face rising regulatory compliance demands and costs.

A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers said that almost a third of large financial institutions internationally are investing in AI.

“Tomorrow, your bankers or wealth manager will coach you throughout your day to tackle appropriate financial decisions based on a combination of artificial intelligence and transaction and contextual data,” PwC’s global fintech report 2017 said.