Bank of America (BofA) reported its Q1 2021 earnings, showing a profit increase of 47% to $8.1 billion, up from $5.5 billion in Q4 2020. Similar to its US counterparts, a strengthening outlook for the broader economy enabled the bank to release $2.7 billion in loan loss reserves in Q1, spurring the positive growth. Alongside profits at BofA, digital customer service usage also expanded in two key areas—appointment scheduling and interactions with the bank’s virtual AI assistant, Erica.
The bank saw a substantial uptick in appointments scheduled through digital channels, and it should encourage customers to maintain the practice post-pandemic. The number of client-scheduled appointments made via online, smartphone, or tablet jumped 23% from the previous quarter. Last month, Insider Intelligence recommended that financial institutions blend digital tools with physical branches to maximize convenience for customers, and BofA’s increased use of digital for scheduling displays a willingness for such a service. By delegating more scheduling to its digital platform, BofA could create a more efficient in-branch experience and free up its employees to focus on complex and high-value services, like mortgages or personal loans.
Engagement with BofA’s AI virtual assistant also skyrocketed, but the bank should look to augment its service with more human interaction.