Human vs digital

While UK banks are busy creating digital-first services, they should do so with caution. As automation and robotics are rolled out into every corner of banking, they are undoubtedly creating efficiencies and slick customer experiences. In doing so however, is there a danger of forgetting the human element of banking?

Support for the most vulnerable

It is assumed by many that everyone in society is craving digital services. However, we undertook some research into the communication preferences of UK consumers and discovered that all generations, even Generation Z, wanted at least some human interaction especially when it came to the biggest financial commitments.

The need for human intervention in the banking process is clear, but digital-first services from all types of banks, especially neo-banks and challengers, are often aimed at the most financially and tech-savvy people in society.

Financial service providers need to ensure they don't leave behind those vulnerable customers who need most help and support with their finances and who may rely on human interaction and the comfort of the personal touch.


Customers are being delivered increasingly personalised experiences in all areas of life. They have come to expect the kind of experiences received from companies  such as Airbnb, Netflix and Amazon in other areas of their lives too, namely the expectation of  automated suggestions based on their persona and their behaviour. 

We can arguably no longer group customers into segments and make assumptions based on their behaviour and preferences. Instead we should be able to understand each individual customer's behaviour and preferences from their previous interactions and the data we hold on them. The technology is already there.

The human touch

While robotics and automation can easily cope with manual, repetitive tasks, only humans can truly sense when something just doesn't feel right. The human touch can be critical, especially when dealing with vulnerable or less-savvy customers.

Robotics, automation and digital services deliver improvements to customer experience but often the actual service delivered is fundamentally the same. What we're aiming for is a digitally enabled workforce. It's not about technology replacing humans -  it's about technology enhancing their capabilities.

Invest in people, not just tech

Every process in banking involves a human element. Humans research the market,  map the processes and  code the apps. But unlike bots, humans need rewarding salaries, praise, training, personal development and well-being. Alongside CX (customer experience), there is another CX ?colleague experience.

In summary

So, it's actually not a case of human vs digital. It's about human and digital. Humans need digital enablement to deliver successful, personalised experiences, meanwhiledigital tools and techniques augment the human-delivered customer service.

And without the human, the digital simply wouldn't exist.


This topic is discussed in our latest 'Future of Finance' podcast episode - Transforming Customer Experiences. This episode explores how technology and data is transforming a firm's relationship with its customers.

View all episodes and find out more at