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The need for Chatbots in Banking in a post-COVID-19 world | by Vartika

Banks, which have typically had a heavy offline interaction with customers, today, face challenges to business continuity as employees are stranded in various locations with uncertain return dates. Apart from this, dramatic changes in customer demand are putting banks under huge stress: sharp declines in demand present serious financial challenges to many businesses, while those facing demand surges and resource shortage risk disappointing and disengaging customers. COVID-19 has disrupted operations and will have prolonged impacts on continuity of operations, modes of working, and growth patterns. CIOs need to respond to the crisis with both short- and long-term actions to increase resilience against future disruptions and prepare for rebound and growth.

Banks have long had on their agenda to streamline and automate processes. The Banks who were leaning more towards cost-saving were exploring RPA for automation of administrative processes and those banks which were cash-rich and were looking to better their customer experience were looking towards Conversational AI to make workflows more efficient. And in times like these, the best of business continuity plans and sustainability forecasts have fallen short of making predictions for a global lockdown and disruption.
Let’s walk through the challenges faced by the banking industry and a few solutions to undertake for the short-term and long-term.

Digital transformation challenges faced by banks:

One of the biggest challenges top executives at banks face is the gamut of transformation required. From internal processes to customer-facing processes, all areas require digitization and automation.

As per the research done by our Analyst partner Gartner, data-driven technologies are still seen as a game-changer, but many banks are perplexed on how to move forward?

The 2020 Gartner CIO Survey asked banking IT leadership to identify which technology capabilities they see as crucial to their organization’s evolution. For the 2020 survey, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) were at the top of the list and roughly equal for financial services CIOs (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Game-Changing Technologies

Figure 1 Source: Gartner

During the last few years, there has been much discussion about how customer engagement in banking can better serve and provide new product opportunities to customers, considering all the points of engagement offered by banking institutions. Often-used buzzwords like “omnichannel” or “multichannel” have punctuated this discussion. Often, however, banks find that they are unable to digest and analyze customer data and transactions well enough to support the user interface or customer journeys.

Challenges faced by bank’s agents and employees:

With business continuity completely disrupted, employees are finding it hard to run the business as usual, for processes that were offline and even for the processes that were online.

Various quarantine measures and travel limitations undertaken by different Countries and cities have created big uncertainty around employees’ return to work dates. Even returning employees are often asked to self-quarantine for seven to 14 days. Internationally, indefinite travel restrictions by many countries are causing similar uncertainties to business operations. Operations have either been suspended or run on a limited capacity. Since the outbreak, demand for digital collaboration tools has skyrocketed as organizations are deploying these tools so that employees can work remotely.

Challenges faced by the bank’s customers:

Customers today are more available on conversational channels such as messaging apps and IoT devices. Whereas banks have successfully transitioned to mobile banking and app-based banking.

Where banks are focussing on icons, menus, and clicks; users have moved to expect a conversational user experience on voice and chat. Where banks are focusing on transactional coverage, customers are expecting transactional, service-related, and even advisory services to be made available, on the channels of their choice.

In Figure 2, Gap between Mobile Banking and Conversational Banking.

Figure 2. Source: Accenture Conversational Banking Insight

How can Conversational AI help banks drive business continuity and growth?

Conversational channels have the potential to help banks solving this customer interaction conundrum, capitalizing on three major consumer and technological trends:

Trend #1 Messaging is now the preferred customer touchpoint

Messaging apps are now the dominant form of mobile interaction, enabling easy, fun interactions on the move. Their simple, intuitive text or voice-based interfaces are loved by Millennials, as well as by consumers typically more reluctant to embrace digital channels too. They’re also AI-ready, offering easy integration with chatbots and cognitive agents.

Trend #2 AI is becoming ready for B2C

As AI continues to develop, bots are becoming more human-like in their interactions, and can now be built with self-learning capabilities. That enables not only the automation of repetitive customer care tasks but also low-value advisory services.

Trend #3 Mass personalization and liquid expectations

By leveraging new data-driven insights, companies are able to offer unmatchable customer experience and personalized digital services at a mass level. This creates competition across, as well as within industries, as customers’ “liquid expectations” means each digital interaction is expected to be as good as the best last experience, regardless of brand or industry.

#1 Solution: Conversational AI for Agents in Banking:

Using Yellow Messenger’s service desk automation, you can leverage the true power of AI by closing the automated-learning loop between humans, platforms, and bot. Empower your agents to do more with less at hand, by:

a. Providing agent assistance:

Using conversational AI, you can enable your agents to be highly efficient by enabling access to customer sentiment and the past context of the conversation. Integration with CRM and service desk backend tools enables the bot to show relevant data like past case references, customer history, and journey map. Agent assist feature searches for past resolutions by agents for similar queries to provide recommended responses which can be audited by the agents and sent across without typing a single letter. Entire agent workflows can also be automated and triggered by the bot on behalf of the agent at the click of a button.

b. Live Agent Transfer: Deploy Virtual Assistants to be the first line of respondents and take the load off ~65% queries which are standard, and only handoff to a live agent the queries that really need their input. Cognitive agent routing capabilities ensure that each ticket gets assigned to the most relevant agent-based on concurrency, ticket details, agent availability, past conversations, and several other factors. Agents can either chat with the customers or use voice and video calling capabilities to resolve issues on call. Our intelligent queue management allows you to manage and allocate ticket flow even when agents are offline. The service desk can be customized to show relevant data using integrations with your CRM, IT requests and support systems and is available as a mobile app for agents who do not have access to laptops at home.

#2 Solution: Conversational AI for Customers in Banking:

The implications of conversational AI in banking are far-reaching, especially when it comes to Customer Experience. Here’s how Virtual Assistants can help Banks enrich their customer experience:

a. Banking Virtual Assistant: Virtual assistants can provide a personalized banking experience, on-demand, across channels like Web, App, Messaging, Voice, and more. These virtual assistants can help answer FAQs and even take the role of advisory and upsell products that are more likely to be appreciated by the customer.

b.Contact Centre Automation: No more long wait times on calls. No more repeating your query at multiple handoff points. With IVR automation, customers can reap the benefit of being served in less than 1 minute and banks can enjoy cost and experience efficiencies.

Summary:

Conversational AI in banking is a necessity to drive business continuity at customer and employee end. For more information, visit: https://yellowmessenger.com/

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