Bots

4 Great Examples of How Banking Chatbots Generate Better Results and Enhanced Experience

By 7 Minute Read

Banking chatbots generate better results and superior customer experiences for the banking industry and other financial institutions. They can assist bank customers to get the status of account balances, transfer funds, apply for personal loans and credit cards, pay bills, check their credit scores, and update financial and profile information. Routine customer interactions can be either fully or partially automated by introducing a digital assistant or banking chatbot that is available 24/7. 

Over recent decades, technology has transformed how we bank, where we bank, and when we bank. Mobile banking greatly increased the ability of consumers to self-serve and access their bank accounts while on the go. In doing so, it set a new bar as customers expect to have their banking services at their fingertips. Now as artificial intelligence becomes more mainstream, the banking industry is turning to conversational banking chatbots to provide more personalized and automated assistance to their customers.

The shift from traditional to digital banking, accelerated by the pandemic, has driven up demand for superior digital experiences. Chatbots in banking was one of the first adoption areas for chatbot technology and is one of the more sophisticated sectors in advanced chatbot implementations, such as Bank of America’s Erica, Amy from HSBC, Ally Assist from Ally Bank, Eno from Capital One, to name just a few.

From the introduction of ATMs almost sixty years ago to the first wave of online banking in the early 1980s, technology-led innovation has made banking more convenient and more automated. The traditional main street banks where everyday transactions and financial advice were discussed and performed with familiar banking staff during banking hours have gradually been replaced by internet banking and more recently mobile banking where interactions take place remotely via touchscreens, keyboards, clicks, and swipes on either the bank’s mobile app or website.

Where once a customer needed to complete a slip of paper with multiple fields of information and queue at a teller window to transfer money, this now happens in a couple of keystrokes and clicks at any time of the day or night with internet banking and mobile apps like Venmo, Paypal, or Google Pay. It is also notable that these vendors are not traditional financial brands, another major disruption that the sector has faced as digital technologies lowered the once insurmountable barriers to entry.

And if banks thought that the wave of digital transformation and disruption was behind them, they now are facing yet another major innovation shift as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes so accessible that it can be implemented in much easier and more powerful ways. The power of conversational AI for banking, enabled by natural language processing, machine learning, voice-activated devices like Siri, Echo, Cortana, Google Home, and messaging apps such as SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, offer a superior customer experience paradigm. Natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) now enable banks to engage with customers via natural language and fulfill their needs in faster, more automated, and more personalized ways across multiple digital channels.

For banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions, conversational AI represents one of the most significant shifts towards customers using natural language to do things like making payments, checking account balances, applying for a personal loan, transferring funds, downloading bank statements,  provide credit report updates, converting currency, reporting a lost or stolen card, verifying recent transactions, reporting fraud, and many more customer-facing banking services and financial transactions, limiting the need for human interventions.

Conversational AI also enables banks to understand exactly what their customers want rather than trying to guess their needs and guide them through a set of form-filling, webpage clicks, dropdown menus, or other interfaces. Banks and credit unions that can enhance their conversational IQ through the underlying natural language processing and machine learning capabilities have a huge opportunity to own the customer conversation and build greater brand awareness and loyalty.

Banking Chatbots: Breaking Down The Silos

Think of any customer-facing interaction or process across banking departments and you can uncover a myriad of opportunities to transform the experience through chat and AI. It’s not just about customer service use cases and the contact center, where many of today’s chatbot solutions are focused. Rather, bots can be injected across the business value chain and across various customer touchpoints, from new product development to customer acquisition, risk management, loyalty and rewards programs, collections management, and more.

Just taking customer service or another departmental view of the chatbot world is risking a lost opportunity to use chat more fluidly in addressing customer’s needs. Rather than using bots to just further automate specific tasks and make them available 24/7, there are far-reaching opportunities to think of chat in terms of how it can transform customer experience across the customer lifecycle and different digital channels.

For example, a customer may request their bank balance by voice-over Siri. The account bot can move the conversation to the customer’s preferred messaging channel, sending them the status of their account balance but can then use the chat to invoke other bots, for example, to remind the customer of an upcoming due date for their card payment, or to promote a new product or offer, or just simply ask the customer if they have any other banking need.

Since conversations are more fluid and less structured than web or mobile forms they lend themselves to more versatile engagement. Since a banking chatbot can integrate securely with banking systems it can also access a customer’s data. This enables a more enhanced and personalized experience while also removing friction and the need for customers to continuously repeat information.

Four Examples of How Banking Bots Generate Better Results

By supplementing or, in some cases, replacing human interactions with digital assistants, many customer-facing banking engagements can be made available 24/7 and handled in more automated and efficient ways. Individual bots that have specific missions and perform certain tasks can be deployed to do this but in many cases, especially where the customer journey involves multiple steps, it will take a few different chatbots working together to fulfill the customer need. To the customer, however, this appears as a single seamless chatbot.

At ServisBOT, our bot army is comprised of individual chatbots each with specific roles as they relate to the use case. Each bot is designed with a very targeted or specific business purpose with the goal of achieving a specific outcome. This makes it easy to deploy while allowing them to communicate with other bots to deliver superior and scalable capabilities.

Here are 4 powerful use cases for chatbots in the banking sector:

  1. Application Bots and Onboarding Bots: Take the example of applying for a bank loan or a credit card. Often there is an application process that a customer goes through before being pre-approved, followed by a more rigorous onboarding process where the necessary proof documentation and other information are gathered in order for full approval to be issued. The journey from initial application to having a loan approved can be complex, requiring multiple steps and handoffs that are fraught with friction and frustration. Even in online applications, it can be difficult to guide customers efficiently through the process, respond to their queries immediately, and bring them through to completion without them dropping or interrupting the web session. And dropped customers can mean lost customers as they opt for a different vendor. Now consider an Application or Onboarding Bot where the customer can initiate the application in their own time and at their own pace without having to visit a bank branch, wait for a contact center agent, or step through a complex web-based process. AI and natural language processing (NLP) capabilities enable a banking chatbot to take a customer through this journey and set of tasks so that they can get their approval in a single conversation. The quicker and easier you can get a customer onboard and process their loan application, the faster the bank can generate revenue from that service and not lose that customer to a competitor. 
  2. Outbound and Campaign Bots: Conversational AI is not just about responding to inbound requests but can also be used to run outbound campaigns or handle any type of outreach, from loyalty programs to collections and fraud management. Banks continue to be under pressure to retain and grow their customer base, up-selling and cross-selling different products and services, and building loyalty. Outbound sales and marketing campaigns can be handled by chatbots to target specific customer segments and sign them up for new products or loyalty programs. These can be run as standalone campaigns or the bot can be injected into different customer engagements, where appropriate. For example, if a customer requests an increase in their credit card limit because they will be traveling abroad it can be an opportunity to promote travel insurance services within the same chat session. And besides campaigns, operational bots can also reach out proactively to customers to collect late payments, alert them to fraud activity, or gather customer feedback. Likewise, these can be injected into other suitable customer conversations as the flow determines.
  3. Account Bot and Customer Service Bots:  An account bot makes it easy for customers to manage the details of their accounts and make account-related requests in a single frictionless conversation. The chatbot can handle user authentication, automate the necessary business tasks that match the intent, and add intelligence to the conversation by accessing the information needed to execute the tasks. As with all chatbots, their ability to work across multiple channels from voice-activated devices to SMS, messaging, web, and email means that they can move the conversation from one channel to another more convenient or secure channel where the conversation can continue. There is a whole army of customer service bots that can be deployed for other service-based roles, from complaints handling to FAQs, resetting logins and passwords, tracking a service request, or fetching a document or other information. 
  4. Security and Compliance: Bots provide opportunities for banks to further automate and bring more intelligence to processes that are governed by regulatory requirements or security. Take fraud detection or money laundering risks that incur huge losses and reputation damage for banks. Or take the requirements of GDPR in Europe in protecting customer data. By applying conversational AI technologies, a more proactive approach to preventing and detecting risks or compliance failures can be employed. AI can power the conversations with customers or affiliates, automate the required tasks, and through experience become even smarter at risk and compliance management, all at a lower cost.

Conversational AI has the power to transform how banks engage with customers so they can create memorable and brand experiences that foster customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty. 

Recommended Reading: The Fundamentals of a Successful Chatbot Strategy

To read more about how a banking chatbot offers a simple, yet powerful, way to automate and transform customer engagement for your financial institution and your customers, download our Banking Chatbot eBook.

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