Usage of conversational AI (artificial intelligence) and chatbots has significantly grown in almost all sectors over recent years. The financial and banking industry, in particular, has been at the forefront. According to a recent study by Forbes, 78% of adults in the United States now prefer banking via a website or mobile application. The pandemic and the increasing tech-savviness of modern bankers may likely have accelerated this trend.
Conversational AI and chatbot capabilities
Conversational AI has boosted chatbots’ intelligence allowing them to carry out increasingly complex tasks, they can now undertake many routine tasks or handle conversations that previously relied on a human agent. Some examples of how bots can assist banking customers are:
- Answering FAQs
- Helping to locate the closest branch or ATM
- Assisting in the opening of an account
- Calculating loan capacities
- Providing account statements
- Updating personal details
- Assisting in mortgage or loan applications
- Resetting a customer PIN
- Paying a bill
Similarly, these bots can help agents in conducting tasks more promptly and cost-effectively. These include:
- Verifying customer details
- Providing information on previous interactions
- Calculating investments
- Resetting agent passwords
- Collecting analytics and reporting
- Monitoring agent performance
Benefits of conversational AI and chatbots
From this small sample set of tasks, their value within the financial industry can already be clearly seen. However, let’s dive deeper into the benefits that can be achieved by organizations who choose to become more digital and utilize AI within their daily operations.
Improved customer experience
AI enabled chatbots have around-the-clock availability which means that financial and banking customers can get the assistance they require when needed, instead of waiting to contact the business during their standard hours of operation. Not only is this now an expectation of the modern customer, but it is also becoming a necessity as the world becomes more global.
Research has repeatedly shown that customers tend to experience high-levels of frustration when they are unable to get in touch with customer support. And when it comes to financial matters and banking queries, these frustrations are typically elevated. As a result, having 24/7 availability through AI and chatbots can provide a more positive customer experience and help to maintain or even enhance the financial institution’s brand image and reputation.
Implementing these digital technologies can significantly reduce operational costs by automating routine, and often mundane, administrative tasks. This also helps to remove some of the workload placed on the industry’s already over stretched contact center agents. Reducing workload enables agents to better prioritize tasks and engage in more complex and interesting activities. This may even result in reducing the high levels of labor turnover that is frequently seen in contact centers, as the staff feel more fulfilled and appreciated in their roles. Such efficiencies also result in more streamlined and commonly understood processes within the organization.
During busy periods such as Open Enrollment or Black Friday sales, businesses across sectors often need to rapidly scale up their customer support offerings. In the case of the financial sector, unprecedented demand can happen suddenly, especially if there is the collapse of a major financial institution or other such events.
In such cases, banking customers may fear for their financial well-being and the security of their savings and investments. Institutions must ensure that they can immediately scale up to handle this influx in queries and assist customers with their concerns. Unlike a human agent, chatbots and conversational AI have the capability to handle multiple queries simultaneously, thereby reducing wait time and responding more promptly to customer needs.
Conversational AI allows chatbots to automatically collect customer data and information during customer interactions. This can include transaction history, preferences and previous interactions with customer support. The AI can then promptly analyze this data and provide personalized recommendations or even tailor advice for the particular financial needs of that customer.
Agents can also use this information to provide a more personalized experience as they have a greater understanding of the problem and context, without needing to ask the customer for background information on previous or related queries. This has been shown to assist in building stronger customer relationships and increasing brand loyalty. Insights into customer pain points, preferences and behaviors can also help to inform future planning including business strategies, marketing campaigns, and new product developments.
Sales & lead generation
Chatbots can be programmed to identify potential sales opportunities and notify agents for follow-up. For example, a bank website may provide a mortgage calculator via a chatbot. The chatbot can collect the relevant information from the user and if they have sufficient requirements and the ability to make repayments, the chatbot can request their contact details and a human agent will then contact them to discuss their needs further.
They also have the capability to upsell or cross-sell other products when interacting with existing customers. This is due to the bot’s knowledge of historic transactions and their ability to link the requirements of customers with previously successful sales efforts.
Fraud detection & security
Critically, banks and financial institutions are now more commonly utilizing AI enabled chatbots to enhance security and detect potential fraud. Equipping bots with highly sophisticated algorithms and security features empowers them to expose and prevent fraudulent activities. In addition to monitoring transactions and identifying irregularities, chatbots can notify customers in real time about potential issues. This helps to flag any problems to the customer much quicker and allows the required measures to be put in place, before any further fraudulent activities can occur. As a result, customer trust and satisfaction typically increases.
The need for monitoring
While conversational AI and chatbots offer substantial benefits to the financial industry, financial organizations should always complement them with highly-skilled human agents, especially in the case of sensitive or complex interactions.
Likewise, financial organizations must continually monitor the performance of their AI and chatbots through chatbot testing services. Without ongoing monitoring, organizations may fail to detect issues for long periods of time, potentially leading to detrimental consequences. Thankfully, Cyara Botium is here to help!
Botium is an all-in-one automated quality assurance platform equipped with everything organizations require to assure, maintain and monitor their voicebot and Conversational AI. Botium helps to deliver flawless customer experience by conducting automated natural language processing testing, conversational flow testing, security testing, performance testing and monitoring.
In fact, a leading Canadian financial institution recently leveraged Botium for their AI chatbot testing requirements and were able to fully recoup their initial investment within just three months.