What is the future of conversational AI-powered chatbot?
Your customer logs in to Amazon to purchase Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads and is thrilled to find their newfound appetite for history alchemized into illuminating book suggestions in the ’46 more like this’ window. Netflix regales them with a smorgasbord of delicious cooking adventures once they have finished mopping up the Chef’s Table. Their Youtube mix is an auto-generated heady cocktail of retro oldies appealing to their latest obsession with vintage music. But when they tap-open their mobile banking application to explore their options for a personal loan, they are greeted with a rigid set of categories telling them what and how much they can get done with their phone.
UPI? Transfers? Payments? Investing? International transfers? Credit card rewards? No?
Ah! Help and services.
Account management? Card management? Term deposits? Loan management? Still nothing?
In the era of personalized everything, where most businesses can predict what their customers haven’t yet discovered for themselves, a mobile banking application running on legacy systems can pale in comparison to other intelligent apps curating individualized customer experiences.
An industry in arrears on tech
As per a report on the global banking industry, only 7% of respondents noted personalization as their bank’s most important priority — a figure that plunged to a meek 3% for retail bankers. It is quite understandable too — mass personalization is difficult in banking — because it requires combining millions of data points across behavioral, transactional, and historical information into a single view of the customer. Poorly connected legacy systems in banks render the data siloed, making it impossible for the frontline teams to exchange, integrate, and leverage it effectively. And so, customers are still faced with a finite set of transactional choices when accessing their online or mobile banking apps. The communication allowed is only one-way. They can check their balance, transfer funds, pay bills, and content themselves with other pre-answered queries in the dashboard.
Answers to additional questions remain elusive until the customer rings up the contact centre. Even then, the support professionals, often tied up by their outdated tools and processes, fail to provide a prompt resolution to their problem, leaving them befuddled for days on end, and prodding them on to explore alternate service providers.
Nearing the inflection point
Today, app fatigue has washed over people, given the sheer numbers of applications available in the market. People are tired of restricting, one-way interactions, and are looking out for intelligent touchpoints with brands that can simplify their lives and make them feel heard.
Gartner predicts that 2021 will personify a shift from digital apps to conversational assistants where “Conversation AI-first design” will be adopted by 70 percent of all organizations. In the finance world, this shift from a custom banking app to a conversational chatbot integration is already happening, and AI-powered assistants are increasingly becoming a customer’s first and primary interaction point with a bank. Using these models, customers can communicate with the bank via quick voice command or a text message rather than exasperatedly hit buttons on a banking app UI to make simple transactions.
“But How Are They Any Better Than The Custom Banking Apps?”
Once you integrate AI into your support channels, your customers can be assured of:
1. Interactive, 24/7 support
Banking chatbots can facilitate intelligent two-way conversations between the customer and the bank. The AI, capable of Natural Language Processing and Contextual Understanding, allows the user to ask what they will without limiting them to a pre-structured set of questions. These interactive assistants, available 24/7, can help customers manage on their own not only the rudimentary tasks like checking account balance and paying credit card bills but also the more complex ones like processing loan requests, opening or closing a bank account, and so on.
2. Personalized banking
AI platforms can collect and milk millions of data points from transaction and interaction history and predict customer preferences and spending intent. It can help banks place customers at the center of their business, see them as unique individuals, and leverage from behaviour data across the numerous touchpoints to craft super personalized experiences across their entire journey.
3. A speedy, intuitive interface
A mobile banking app has buttons and menus, and that is about all it has. It lacks critical understanding and flexibility and allows for looking up an account balance, viewing transaction history, or making new ones without many digressions from the pre-programmed functions specified in the not-very-large menu. Most of the time, the customer has to call up service executives where the wait periods alone end up killing the experience. Whereas a perceptive AI chatbot allows the customers to seamlessly talk to them or text them and convey their exact needs. The responses are instant and utterly personalized too.
4. Intelligent analytics and financial advice
Since AI chatbots can analyze data on such a vast scale, they can deliver insights and help customers manage their finances more smartly. Like a personal money manager, they can illuminate customers with an intimate understanding of their purchase patterns, spending behavior, credit information, budget planning, and cost savings, and empower them to make the best decisions.
Aside from bringing forth customer-centricity, Conversational AI will help your business benefit from:
1. Scalability and increased cost-efficiency
Scaling the customer support team fast enough to keep up with soaring customer demand can be difficult. Recruiting and training agents can be expensive, especially when customer support channels are several and all in need of additional pairs of hands. On the contrary, a chatbot will be a smarter, one-time investment for development and integration, post which it can help a business scale service and sales interactions indefinitely across multiple touchpoints with a customer.
2. Wider reach — across channels
Another ground-breaking advantage of leveraging AI tools is being able to serve customers smoothly across channels from a phone call to a text to an online message and often all at the same time. AI allows parallel conversations, to the extent that often a customer could be having an asynchronous experience with a bank on Twitter alongside simultaneously texting a friend. Or they can hop across channels without a care in the world and be able to instantly pick up the conversation where they left off without having missed a beat. AI can unify the fragmented digital and analogue worlds across messaging, chat, and voice in real-time and help a business create an integrated, dynamic customer and agent experience.
3. Higher lead nurturing and sales
Often, sales reps end up qualifying leads based on misleading buying signals. AI can help these teams leverage large volumes of real-time and historical customer data to identify the most lucrative leads accurately. Leveraging these powerful insights (otherwise not available) can help banking agents draft appropriate follow-up messaging to channel the customer towards the likelihood of making a purchase decision and identify any cross-sell or upsell opportunities to maximize customer lifetime value.
4. Empowered support agents
Conversational AI-powered chatbot can automate responses to 80% of routine FAQs and free up employees to work on more value-adding customer interactions. They can not only spur more productive sessions and diminish stress but are also very quick to learn and work with. A single, unified, elegant, and easy-to-use AI-driven tool can simplify an agent’s job, replace the horrendous experience of having to navigate multiple softwares, and get them hands-on in hours rather than lose weeks in training. The transparency of the tool, especially, can help agents really focus on the customer and use their unique skills to strengthen bank-customer relationships.
The long and short of it
Switching to AI-powered conversational banking can help your bank or financial enterprise continually evolve your customer support services with real-time learning and augmentation. Especially in the current environment undercut by uncertainty and change, such AI-assisted, sophisticated interactions are not only essential for being able to craft more empathetic relationships with customers but also paramount to retaining and amplifying the customer base.
The banking landscape is already changing. Last year, HSBC noted in a report that hyper-personalization is going to be the future of banking within the next 10 years.
And AI can certainly get you there.
The question is, can you see what it can see you through?
Also, read about How you can optimize your business using a chatbot