Customer service for banking: Efficient customer care with chatbots

 In Chatbots

Many bank customers have similar questions that can easily be answered by pre-defined responses. Especially on mobile devices, it is inconvenient to read through FAQ pages and to study complicated websites. Interacting with a chatbot through a messenger app is a more natural way to get to answers quickly. Thus, chatbots have great potential for customer service for banking.

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As more and more banking gets done online, banks scale down their physical presence in the real world and need to think about how to substitute their personal customer relationships through equivalent or even better digital solutions.

 

The latest announcements of messenger platforms to support enterprises in their interaction with their end users open up a lot of completely new opportunities. Bank of America recently announced a chatbot named Erica. This interactive assistant is powered by some AI (“Artificial Intelligence”) and will use predictive analytics and cognitive messaging to help customers do things like make payments, check balances, save money and pay down debt. Erica will also help customers to check out educational videos and other information.

 

Unlike the bank’s human employees, Erica will be available around the clock to provide help and execute transactions. Intelligent assistants have the potential to greatly improve customer experiences in banking, said Forrester analyst Peter Wannemacher. With Erica, the bank hopes to help consumers create better money habits, said Michelle Moore, Bank of America’s head of digital banking.

 

As another example, a Mastercard chatbot for Facebook Messenger will seamlessly extend Mastercard services to customers on messaging platforms and make financial information and decisions easily available for consumers.

 

Progress in artificial intelligence, coupled with the popularity of messaging apps, are fueling the development of chatbots — software programs that use messaging as the interface through which to carry out any number of tasks, from scheduling a meeting, to reporting weather, to helping users buy goods and services.

 

Foreseeing immense potential, businesses are starting to invest heavily in the booming bot economy. A number of brands and publishers have already deployed bots on messaging and collaboration channels, including HP, 1-800-Flowers, and CNN. While the bot revolution is still in the early phase, many believe that bots will take off in 2017 for all kind of conversational interactions.

 

There are some concerns whether bots are already sophisticated enough to be of use to customers in a demanding segment like banking. Such concerns might be addressed by hybrid solutions where chatbots answer the clearly defined and easier questions automatically, but bank employees take over if the bot is not sure whether he fully understands a question of a customer.

 

Over the past few years, messengers like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or weChat have been adopted by billions of users. It will not come as a surprise if chatbots will see an even faster adoption, as the underlying messenger platforms are already in daily use and bots are so easily available within a few seconds, without additional app install and through an interface that understands natural language.


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