Conversational AI in Banking: 6 Engaging Examples
Conversational AI banking is changing how banks engage with their customers in more frictionless and convenient ways.
As consumers use multiple communication channels to access all types of services in their everyday lives, they expect a similar level of service and convenience from their banking partner. Banks now have new opportunity to alter the customer experience and increase customer acquisition, conversion, and retention rates while doing so more cheaply thanks to banking AI bots.
A New Wave of AI-powered Innovation Transforms Banking
Technology innovation is critical to satisfy rigorous customer demands and compete with new agile vendors that have flooded the banking sector. In recent years, AI has made some significant inroads in transforming how banks engage with customers and provide more convenience, self-service, and personalization. Now as AI technologies have become more accessible and affordable, AI-based solutions will be fundamental to the next wave of conversational banking innovation.
AI as a concept is not new. What has driven the recent growth in the adoption of AI lies in how accessible and affordable it has become. Open source projects from the likes of Amazon and Google and AI platform solutions from new market entrants have made essential AI knowledge and skills more widely available, enabling developers to create practical solutions faster and easier. Combined with the advances in the processing power of computers to deal with massive volumes of data that can fuel these projects, the commercial AI market has emerged with force.
Conversational AI’s Rise in Banking
A conversational AI platform is one feature of AI that is revolutionizing client engagement. Natural language processing (NLP) technology and conversational AI solutions have grown in popularity, enabling us to communicate, conduct business, and collaborate seamlessly. A completely new type of engagement is made feasible when we transition from using visual interfaces to ones that use conversational AI.
Today’s conversational interfaces represent one of the biggest changes in banking user interfaces to date and are revolutionizing how businesses attract and keep clients as well as develop their brand identity. Conversations are returning to our interactions with digital banking thanks to the popularity of messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or SMS as well as the uptake of voice-activated assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple’s Siri.
Why Chat is Becoming the New Face of Banking
It’s almost sixty years since banks first introduced ATMs. Since then we have seen waves of technological innovation that have totally shifted our digital banking experiences from personal face-to-face conversations with familiar banking staff in our local branch to more impersonal and automated financial interactions via clicks, and swipes on our desktop or mobile devices. After all, 61% of European smartphone users use their mobile devices to do their banking: a 13% increase since 2017. Added to this is the millennial generation which has grown up with digital technology; has different customer service expectations; and tends to be less loyal to financial service providers.
Underlying natural language processing (NLP) and AI capabilities now offer new ways for consumers to engage, a natural progression from their social and mobile interactions. Customers can interact with different conversational AI banking processes, via the chat interface, such as reporting potential fraud on their banking cards, applying for an increase on their credit card limit, or getting a breakdown of their recent transactions. Bots can automate tasks and fulfill customer needs day and night, and do so faster and with less friction. By reducing human manual processing of tasks, costs are reduced, efficiency levels increase, and productivity rises. Cost savings can be directed toward investments in innovation while conversational AI engagement helps create memorable experiences, strengthen brand loyalty, and increase revenues. What’s not to love about this?
Chatbots and Conversational AI in Financial Services and Banking: Some Customer-centric Use Cases
Conversational AI solutions have evolved from the early days of basic question and answer type interactions to now bring customers through high-value journeys with automated end-to-end workflows. As natural language and machine learning technologies mature, we are now seeing an era of enhanced user experiences meeting higher degrees of automation, enabling self-service models like never before. Combined with the fact that AI-powered bots don’t sleep, customer service is even more accessible, personalized, and convenient. Here are some customer-centred chatbot and conversational AI examples:
There is a whole army of customer service bots but a common use case for banking chatbots in the early stages of implementation is in responding to FAQs. An FAQ bot enables a smoother interaction between banks and customers, offering them convenient and easy access to answer common queries. Accessible 24/7, customers can quickly get the information they want, eliminating the need to sift through web pages or wait on hold, just to find some simple answers. Deploying an FAQ bot is a good starting point as this bot doesn’t need to access personal information. Instead, it makes public information available across multiple channels day and night and in more seamless and less frustrating ways.
Another particularly useful bot is Q-Jump bot, which avoids customers waiting on hold for an agent to be available or for the contact center to be open for operations, by automatically transferring them to the bot who can take a message, respond if possible or schedule a callback.
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 bot obtains data on customer accounts, including account balances, deadlines for payments, the most recent transactions, and other relevant information. It can be used as a secured, user-friendly independent bot or as a highly intricate component of a personal financial management chatbot which assists users in better managing their funds. The bot can handle user authentication, automate the necessary business tasks that match the customer intents and add intelligence to the conversation by accessing the information requested.
The beauty of this bot is that it works around the clock, so no matter when a customer wants the account status it is available for them. There’s no need for bank staff to handle these simple requests when a bot, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), can. Contact center agents can handle other, more complex tasks and customer journeys instead.
Submitting and processing payments in a timely fashion promotes better cash flow management. A Payment bot can proactively inform customers of an upcoming payment due date and amount. It can confirm receipt of payments and offer other related information. The bot helps customers make payments faster, without the friction and frustration of inputting account details each time they want to make a purchase. A Payment BOT authenticates customers so that it can access their account information securely from bank systems, verify transactions, and process a payment.
Chargeback bots make it easy for customers to get immediate and more detailed information and context regarding charges on their credit card statements, as well as managing the resolution process in the event of a chargeback.
Conversation from one channel to another more convenient one can be moved with fluidity with the ability that bots work across multiple channels mentioned above such as voice-activated devices to SMS, message, web, and email.
It can be argued that one of the most important customer journeys is onboarding. It represents a revenue opportunity for banks as they aim to enroll new customers to their products and services as quickly and efficiently as possible, generating sales and a recurring revenue stream. Additionally, one of the key markers in reducing churn is increased adoption and usage rates, which are frequently the result of a seamless onboarding process.
Using a chatbot can make opening a new bank account, a new credit card, or loan for a customer easier, quicker, and more convenient. The bot can automate several steps in the process, such as asking a customer to provide documentation or information as proof or obtaining their digital signature. This not only speeds up the approval procedure but also makes document gathering and transfer less difficult. The bot can also handle customer queries related to their application and update them proactively on the status of their approval. The added benefit is that customers can onboard in their own time and in their preferred channel, without having to visit a branch or wait for a contact centre agent.
Putting Brand Loyalty Back into Banking
Banks continue to be under pressure to retain and grow their customer base, upsell and cross-sell different products and services, and engage across multiple communication channels as preferred by their customers. They have to continuously innovate to build strong brand relationships and customer conversations are at the heart of this. By adopting AI solutions, banks now have the chance to innovate in new ways that transform how they capture brand awareness and build brand loyalty.
Brands are at the heart of customer loyalty and many banks are in the early experimentation or implementation phases of voice-activated digital assistants and bots. Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human, while TechEmergence believes that chatbots will become the primary consumer AI applications over the next five years.
With the increasing pressure within traditional banks from new competitors, and more demand for a more tech-driven generation of banking customers, chat, combined with the power of conversational banking, is creating superior customer experiences that more closely resemble the way that modern consumers communicate with friends, family, colleagues, and brands.
There are many use cases that demonstrate how chatbots and conversational AI for finance and banking have the power to transform how banks engage with customers to create personalized brand experiences that increase customer acquisition, conversion, retention, and loyalty. But they also have the power to extend beyond the typical inbound customer service scenarios to engage across multiple touchpoints across the customer’s lifecycle, transcending traditional functional silos.
To learn more about the use cases for banking chatbots you can download a copy of our eBook; 10 Chatbots for Banking