Vexed with delays when you call your bank with a service request? Fed up with unresolved banking queries? Well, no more. Technology has redefined traditional phone banking with automated conversational chat tools, which is known as chatbots. These chat functionalities are designed to answer customer queries and provide banking related value-added services along with a personalized trajectory.
The increase of smartphone usage in banking operations and changing customer expectations have driven banks to foster relationships with an “always-connected” tech-savvy customer. Banks are looking at powerful customer engagement channels that understand human language for instant solutions and a longer customer life-cycle. Enter conversational chatbots that serve as virtual customer service agents, assistants and robot advisors for the banking industry. These chatbots are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to bring innovation in banking services, address issues of customer satisfaction, and lower the operating costs.
With web and mobile as native environments and AI on-the-go, chatbots combine the best of virtual automation and messaging for better banking services. The ability to circumvent lengthy waits and talking around in circles associated with traditional phone banking is central to the popularity of chatbots among customers. Moreover, customers are happy to be understood by the chatbot’s AI engine for a cognitive conversational experience.
The automated conversational experience of chatbots has proved to be transformational for both the customer and the bank. Better customer experience and banking product upsells have driven an increased patronage of chatbots in banking.
The New Age Of Chat Tool
When a customer queries with a phone-banking executive, it involves precious time looking at the customer history to be able to answer questions. Very often, the executive is unable to address the concerns as customer services are usually outsourced to call centers. The customer care executives may not always understand the language or syntax used by the customer or perceive his intent. At the same time, the expectations of a customer unwilling or unable to visit the bank are high with respect to self-service. This results in an unsatisfactory customer experience and even lost customers.
With the introduction of chatbots in banking, self-service translates into a better customer experience. The bot is able to understand what the customer speaks or wants and can respond in a conversational manner within a second. Functioning as a chat service, the banking chatbot is able to answer customer queries, assist in everyday banking operations, and provide information related to loans, deposits or financial transactions. What’s more, chatbots are 24/7 on-call customer support with an easy conversational interface, that boosts customer confidence and encourages repeat queries.
AI-powered chatbots are able to take charge of routine customer questions related to banking operations, KYC compliance requirements, account opening or card application tracking, banking product information, and after-sales service. Information related to personal savings, home and car loans, card limits, investment advice and more is possible with the streamlined user interface (UI). Thus building a powerful emotional and personalized connect for increased and enhanced two-way engagement.
According to a report by Juniper Research, a chatbot inquiry can save about 4 minutes, in comparison to traditional call center services. The banking sector is most suited to the deployment of chatbots with use cases ranging from addressing simple and linear questions to hard-selling financial advisories on a large scale. It is predicted, that by 2022, chatbots will account for more than $8 billion per annum in cost savings.
So it is little wonder that banks are partnering with AI and chatbot firms to cut operating costs while opening up other channels for customer acquisition. They are employing chatbot-as-a-service, chatbot platform-as-a-service, and chatbot application-as-a-service, for various banking deliveries.
The Answer To Effective And Time-Saving Services
The exploding popularity of messaging combined with advances in natural language interfaces, AI, and machine learning are being leveraged to communicate with customers in powerful ways.
Chatbots are conversational: Customers prefer the conversational model of chatbots that are much like the chatting applications they are used to within their personal world. As the two-way flow of conversation is between the customer and the bot, it allows the customer to digest information in bite-size chunks in privacy.
Chatbots provide a unified experience: Customers prefer a simple and unified interface for instant interactions, especially the millennials who are always connected in a virtual environment. Whether it’s an FAQ, a self-service transaction or a more complex issue involving multiple steps, a single messaging-based engagement model is the preferred mode. Chatbots are able to provide a unified user experience, integrating mobile lifestyle and applications used such as GPS and biometrics, to have a multi-media conversation with the bank.
Chatbots are intelligent: People are busy and prone to multi-task. Yet banking and finance are an integral part of everyday lives. Immediate and useful resolution is the key to a great customer experience, and often the key differentiator in a highly competitive business environment. The syntax-recognizing and intuitive capability of the chatbots is able to answer the customer query instantly at the convenience of the customer.
Chatbots have a human choice: While automation works fine on the most frequently encountered issues, customers may sometimes want to interact with a human agent when unable to find a solution. The capability of a bot to automatically switch over to a human, with a complete transfer of context and history, supports customer service for ultimate satisfaction.
The Future Of Customer Service In Banking
As mobile messaging applications surpass social networks, banks are looking at this game-changing technology to serve customers in better ways. Customer groomed to a Whatsapp and Snapchat messaging way of life, prefer a messaging support in place of the current method of website search or filling complex forms.
Today, most mobile phone and internet savvy users use the bank website for their banking and other assistance. However, all questions may not be resolved. The options available are visiting the branch or calling customer care, both of which are less ideal in a world where we use our phones less like phones.
Consider a typical bank working day. The executive manning the help desk is more than often busy, with customers queuing up to ask questions like “what is the process to open an account with you?” and “can I increase the limit on my credit card?” Typically, this involves long waiting time for the customer that he or she has to make up when back at work. For the bank, there is always the risk of a potential customer turning away, put off by the long queue.
On the other hand, toll-free customer care numbers usually call for patience as your call is put through. Time is wasted on preliminaries and giving your customer details. So if the call centre person is unable to answer your question to satisfaction, it can be a frustrating experience.
However, a customer-facing chatbot is an always available virtual assistant that can be accessed from your computer or mobile device. Chatbots offer the same service at the convenience of the customer, whether at his home, office or on-the-go. No more waiting time. No standing in front of your neighbor asking the bank executive to pardon your late installment penalty charges. No waiting for a working day to resolve your student loan issues before shooting your university application. No asking your boss for time off from work to visit the nearest branch. In other words, with chatbots, you can get the same or even more satisfactory services, instantly, anytime, anywhere, with less stress and effort.
As the AI-powered chatbot uses NLP to understand keywords and context, it can offer 24/7 customer service at minimum cost to the bank. Enhanced customer experiences mean happy and satisfied customers, who are more likely to use the chatbot each time they have a question about a loan or investment. A streamlined customer service experience also provides the bank a relevant way to make upsells or recommendations, based on the chatbot intelligence and tailored to customer interests. All of this in an easy, simple and fun way!
The New Customer-Facing Agents
Chatbots support a two-way flow of interaction in natural language. The built-in capabilities solve problems, answer questions and undertake actions; with greater efficiency and faster turnaround.
The chatbots used in banking are powered by machine learning. With the use of NLP, they can better understand the language and context of questions and conversations. AI integration makes them more intuitive and intelligent. They are able to understand complex requests, discern context and recognize commands. Chatbots are thus able to respond appropriately taking into account a seamless 360-degree view of historical customer data.
Over time, as they interact more and more with customers, chatbots learn iteratively, to conduct more sophisticated conversations for higher customer satisfaction (Cx). Like any other technology powered by AI, chatbots become smarter over time – learning more about the customer, his behavior, transaction history, preferences, financial position, spending habits and more. Designed to serve the digitally connected tech-savvy customer in a single window conversational UI, and woven in an analytic fabric, the chatbot is proving to be the most powerful customer-facing agent in banking.
Chatbot deployment possibilities in banking are enormous, ranging from dedicated or app-based chatbot assistants to conversational cloud SAS. Banks across the world are thus deploying a range of chatbots to add a fillip to their service trajectory.