Chatbots in the banking industry
In the old times, user interface of a bank was the bank teller at the branch. From today’s perspective it was inconvenient and time consuming, but the bank had a human face.
Now we are interacting with our banks by clicking on links, menus, and buttons, and filling out forms.
But banking apps are often hard to use, overly complex and ugly. Lack of true customer-centricity and technological debt on the back-end side of things make the banking experience frustrating.
How can we make digital banking easier, more simple, more personal and human? By giving it a human face of robot!
The robot is a software that use natural language processing to interpret and respond to specific text and voice commands. Chatbots operate on a very simple premise: they are setup to recognize key pieces of information a user shares through texts and voice and then provide an answer if one is set up for that specific use case
Chatbot technology is a great opportunity for banks to help customers save time and get their financial questions answered quickly. But it’s more than just that. Currently, chatbot technology is mature enough to provide 3 high added value services for retail banking:
1. Customer service
Gartner estimates that by 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationship with a business without interacting with a human.
Customers call banks for a variety of reasons, many of which can be automated and do not necessarily need call center reps to engage with end users by phone. The first step towards this has been the adoption of interactive voice response technologies, but this still requires people to call a toll number. Chat bots can take this to the next level without the hassle of calling in.
Using chatbot technology, the customer avoids the displeasure to call the bank’s customer service line and the bank itself saves money by serving the customer efficiently without human intervention .Therefore, it’s a win-win situation for the bank and the customer.
Moreover, chatbots can boost productivity by providing 24/7 services and performing various tasks for the customer service teams. Chatbots can handle efficiently basic and repeatable customer inquiries. Minimizing the number of calls from the contact center by providing intelligent assistance when needed through a messaging platform, chatbots can answer simple customer questions and keep customer service employees in a lower-cost channel.
In addition, chatbots can provide seamless escalation to a human agent. For more complex issues, the virtual agent will connect the customer and transition already-collected data to a human agent, who will take over the interaction with the customer. Therefore, chatbots realize cost benefits through minimizing the agent-to-call ratio, while customers benefit from reduced response time. Service agents can then focus on more complex and demanding issues.
Finally, chatbots can improve the knowledge management process by capturing unanswered questions and requesting the customer service teams to provide answers when needed, making the improvement process faster and more efficient. Automating most common bank-related tasks would allow customers to get a quicker answer to frequent questions. It would also gather valuable information, which can then feed into a central database to produce real-time, insightful and actionable reports on which executives can act to improve services and customer satisfaction.
2. Personal Virtual Assistant
The truth about online banking interfaces is that they are usually terribly complex. And banks are often thinking: the more features we have, the better. But experience shows that 99% of tasks users want to carry out using the online banking systems are:
➢ check their balances
➢ check their recent history of transactions
➢ make a simple Money Transfer
Instead of navigating through the various interfaces, customers can simply message for instance “Expenses this month” and it will show them a simple chart with relevant information. They can also message “Send 100€ to Jean Paul” and the chatbot will transfer the money seamlessly.
The chatbot’s intelligent voice and text recognition has able to offer more intuitive and personal customer experience. At the same time, the technology makes banking simpler, more intuitive and quicker than going on a website or using an app which can provide a customer level of engagement never seen before.
For instance, DBS Bank of Singapore, offers their customers a 24/7 virtual assistant. As a Personal Virtual Assistant of banker at the customer’s beck and call, the assistant helps DBS customers complete banking tasks and get fast answers to their questions.
Refer to security and data integrity, it should be noted that the same verification protocols used to verify someone’s identity through a call center can be leveraged electronically. Indeed, the chatbot can verify customer’s information such as his social security number, his date of birth, the maiden name of his mother and so on before giving him access to his bank account.
Chatbots can also help automate fraud prevention processes. Chatbots can send notifications every time a customer’s card is used. In case of fraud, the customer can call the bank in time, contest the charge and receive a new card in the mail.
3. Intelligent Financial Advisor
Customers can talk to chatbots in natural language. This is “pull” mechanism. But chatbots can also be proactive, pushing important information to the user. This proactive behavior is what makes a chatbot an intelligent assistant. Some of the most useful information that any chatbot can provide to its users is financial advice.
For all the gradual changes throughout history, not until recently have there been any significant improvements in how we manage, monitor and use our money.
A recent Accenture survey of 33,000 consumers across 18 countries indicated that more than 70 percent would be willing to receive computer-generated banking advice.
The personal banking robot advisor can remind its users about important payments, periodically inform them about the state of their budget, suggest how to save money, inform them about financial products that are best fitted for them, provide an investment portfolio update and deliver important, time sensitive notifications.
Moreover, in this day and age, most banks offer a wide variety of products and services – credit cards, savings accounts, debit cards, financial planning, personal loans, mortgages etc. Yet many customers are not always aware of all the products offered by the financial company they’re doing business with.
Chatbots can introduce users to the benefits of using new banking services and even gather competitive information from them. At the same time, because users know they are dealing with an automated system and not a real person, customers can ask the chatbot to stop asking questions like they do with any unsolicited text messages – by simply texting “stop” back. In short, companies can solicit feedback and promote various products via automated bots.
Finally, chatbots are the natural evolution to a more instant, useful and efficient solution for communicating with customers at scale. Companies adopting chatbots are guaranteed to increase both customer satisfaction and reduce the cost to serve: a win-win situation that banks should adopt and take advantage of. Some of other benefits to consider are the following :
- Brand equity: The banking sector as a whole is currently at an all-time low in terms of brand perception and customers’ trust in them. As the Customer service is an extremely important factor any company, the chatbot handles customer inquiries and support them with valuable information instantly which leads to a better perception of the brand, thus an increase in brand equity.
- Brand consistency: Chatbots are the excellent tools to ensure brand consistency, tone, message and communication strategies between an end user and a financial institution. When leveraging call center representatives, one can always expect variations in customer service from one call to another.
People working as customer care representatives for a bank can produce different levels of service from one rep to another due to a wide variety of factors: fatigue, interest, personal situation, knowledge of a topic, attention to detail, etc.
The chatbot is obviously not impacted by any of these factors. As long as the system is smart enough to give answers to specific questions, the tone and the message is the same for all customers at all times.
Moreover, chatbots can be deployed everywhere:
➢ Websites and mobile apps
➢ Messaging platforms: Facebook Messenger, Slack, Wechat, Skype, etc...
➢ Virtual assistants : Google assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa, etc…
From smartphones to IOT devices, chatbots can live everywhere allowing them to fit perfectly in the company’s omni-channel strategy.
Our Propositions - Smartpis :
We provide consultants specialized in the chatbot technology to our retail banking clients to develop chatbot related projects in 3 different configurations:
1) Customer service
2) Personal Virtual Assistant
3) Intelligent Financial Advisor
For more information on these topics, please contact us :
E-mail : contact @smartpis.com
Phone call: (00)(33) 07-84-32-38-59 or (00) (33) 01-85-73-02-87
Author : Youssef LAZRAK ( Chatbot development Consultant)