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Banks can learn from the automation pioneers of the Industrial Revolution

More than 200 years ago, the Industrial Revolution ushered in the use of machines to execute complex tasks more quickly and efficiently. Now, the same benefits from digital automation are being felt across multiple industries. New research has revealed that different businesses across Britain are beginning to reap the benefits of machine automation, where software robots complete repetitive tasks previously carried out manually.

However, financial services firms were singled out alongside health insurers for leading the way in digital automation. Banks are cutting their costs and improving efficiencies by using software robots to automate previously time-consuming and expensive manual back-office processes. Nearly half of banks reported as much as 10 per cent revenue growth, and 73 per cent expect to see similar growth between 2018 and 2020 as a direct result of these technologies.

The banking industry is evolving not only to gain productivity efficiencies, but also to meet evolving customer service expectations. In October 2014, Lloyds Banking Group announced that it will cut 9,000 jobs and close around 150 branches as it focuses on its digital strategy and increases the automation of processes. This decision was made following significant increase in the adoption of mobile banking.

It’s not the only bank to be increasingly embracing technology. Barclays is this year introducing a video banking service, whereby customers will be able to speak to a financial expert face-to-face through their mobile or desktop computer. 

However, the advances have not come without their fair share of concerns. Many commentators & consumers have voiced worries about whether these machines will result in further branch closures. Here at Intelligent Environments we believe increasing automation and better technologies can evolve and enhance the branch experience.

Video banking removes the need to physically visit the bank branch but it also opens up key in-branch services to customers for whom visiting a branch would be inconvenient. Suddenly those who have rigid work schedules or people who live in remote locations far from their nearest branch are able to take full advantage of a bank’s services.

Machine automation and advances in technology are now helping today’s businesses mimic their Industrial Revolution-era forebears by providing better and faster services for customers while making the companies themselves more efficient and less expensive to run. By freeing back office staff up from time-consuming tasks financial services providers can instead turn their focus to the issues that matter most to their customers, such as providing a tailored service for customers visiting a branch and focusing on future customer service innovations like video banking. 


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