By Anil Awasthi, Global Head – Retail Banking, Virtusa Corp
The last wave of technology disruption that took place at the turn of the 21st century, gave birth to a new sector known as fintech. Financial supermarkets, price comparison sites, and online banking totally changed the way financial products, services, and money is used and distributed amongst the customer.
Things are different now. New fintech disruptors are in a position to replace old-school finance altogether. The new breed of start-up companies offer ease of operation; what traditional banks cannot.
They are friendlier, offer better services using digital apps and chatbots or automated services, programmed by algorithms designed to behave like humans. Financial services have become too disconnected with their customers and this disconnection is likely to grow as banks close their brick and mortar branches; leading to the disappearance of the physical entity from the streets.
The need to introduce new cost efficiencies, radically improve digitization and faster transactions have forced banks to rapidly explore the use of robotics automation in business processes. The rise of chatbots in this sector is rapidly changing the face of the banking industry in the country.
Banking – a conservative field, which has recently started leveraging the strength of tech innovations, is a prime example of technology solving many problems for its customers. The use of chatbots can help improve the operational efficiency by reducing the friction points and lowering down the cost to provide the service for our financial needs. Advancement in cognitive intelligence is enabling AI chatbots to address a variety of end customer engagements with the financial services industry.
There 3 major areas under which banks are adopting chatbots:
1. The new face of customer self-service: As per several research reports, it is expected to have 85% of customer relationships to be managed without human interaction. There are many use cases in this space such as enabling customers to engage in conversations to check their account balances, make payments, help solvea transaction query, raise a dispute, open an account, understand the T&Cs or book an appointment etc. Bots can learn and get better with frequent interactions and end up delivering superior customer service.
2. Proactive engagement during customer transaction: If we look at this aspect,customer engagement can be done easily on web/mobile channel (based on user experience delivered).Bot can be of great help to step in at the right moment and bring that engagement back, resulting in multiple benefits for banks. There are solutions which can proactively offer to bring human assistance over video/audio based on the need of customer and point in time of their journey.
3. Enabling efficient operations: While it is evident that bots are engaged primarily with end-user/customer for self-service, but back-end operations team have also seen multiple benefits by leveraging robotics automation along with chatbots. Examples such as statement requests raised by customers, which is initiated via chatbot, fulfilled in the back office via robotics bots to pull, aggregate data and dispatch the statements.Another area where bots are primarily being leveraged are to run the bank operations.Banks have started to look at various use cases such as providing high severity tickets opened, their ageing, immediate approvals and so forth.
Unlike the traditional banking methods, chatbots are reshaping and re-imagining how companies, banks, and individuals interact with each other. They are bringing in a better and a faster 24×7 user experience by providing intelligent services to the customers. With minimal set-ups, easy system integrations and accessibility, chatbots are streamlining the operations and customer support hence providing user-friendly and enjoyable customer experience.
In summary chatbots have a bright future, though they need to evolve further in terms of customer engagement approaches. Bots can deliver hyper-personalization which banks have not been very successful but have been constantly trying for.
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