Chatbots are quickly growing in popularity across the banking industry, with Bank of America’s Erica, JPMorgan’s COIN, Capital One’s Eno, and HSBC’s Amy all making headlines. But, while the large-scale artificial intelligence chatbots in the banking industry are certainly attention-grabbing, many smaller banks are utilizing chatbots for basic customer service across social media, apps, and their own websites.
Juniper suggests chatbots will save over $8 billion in customer service costs by 2022 and Gartner estimates automated chat will take over as much as 85% of all customer service within the next 3-5 years. However, while automation saves banks money, it also improves customer experiences online by creating a faster, more conversational approach to FAQs and self-help.
Chatbots Enable Quicker Help Across All Platforms
Today’s customers expect customer service to be faster and more available than ever before, with most expecting near-instant responses on social media and replies to emails within a minimum of about an hour. Social media is quickly becoming the preferred medium for customer service, with many expecting instant chat or Direct Messaging depending on the platform. Chatbots fill this need, enabling banks to offer instant, automated replies. For example, Wells Fargo uses Facebook’s Messenger platform and bots to automate replies and provide basic customer service for common questions. After registration, customers can access account information through Messenger, making customer service even more personalized and helpful.
While not every customer service request can be handled instantly or through automation, many can. For example, bots can access user databases, a knowledge-base, and anFAQ to provide answers to questions, access account information, and even set up or create new accounts or services for individuals. This will improve the customer experience and therefore satisfaction across digital apps, social media, and your own website.
Chatbots Provide Conversational Self-Help
Millennials and Generation Z are increasingly gearing towards self-help and support, requesting online options to set up accounts, solve problems, request and purchase new products, or add-on to existing services. This has resulted in increasingly sophisticated digital banking and self-service banking kiosks, but it does take away much of the human element of banking.
Introducing chatbots in banking gives those who prefer self-service a way to talk to their bank as a person and to have a conversation, even when requesting information. For example, rather than searching an impersonal website and reading static information, a chatbot can bring FAQ and setup information to life by using personal details, conversational language, and personalized information based on the user’s account. This will boost customer satisfaction and will build relationships, without necessitating an overly complex or sophisticated bot.
Chatbots Can Become An Easy to Use FAQ
Self-help generations are put at a disadvantage when searching large knowledge-bases for information but chatbots can help to streamline and improve the experience. Rather than looking through an FAQ, individuals can ask a question and receive the same information – which speeds up and personalizes the process.
Chatbots enable question/answer dynamics where users can ask something like “How do I set up (insert service)” and the chatbot can respond with a detailed, step-by-step FAQ or potentially even handle most of the setup for the user. Why does this add value? Customers can ask questions and receive answers more quickly and with less frustration, which will improve their experience while improving the searchability of your knowledge-base.
Personalized Financial Info
Chatbots are increasingly complex and with the integration of big data, can be extremely useful for customers. In-app chatbots can access user account details and provide completely personalized information and help or even financial advice based on data. Chatbots can be equipped with algorithms to track spending habits, credit scores, and can tell consumers where they’re spending money, how much they spent on a specific transaction, and even how much was spent on a specific item such as food or gas.
Most chatbots can also use algorithms and rules to create budgets and savings plans, determine how and where money is being spent, and offer advice and recommendations for better money management or spending. Because these algorithms would be the same whether a human customer service agent or an automated program used them, chatbots and automation can also improve advice by removing human error.
Why offer this sort of support? Customers are seeing less and less of real human agents in customer service, so offering personalization and individual information and support is a good way to balance, continuing to offer value and an individual connection without the human element.
Always-On Customer Support
Customers want to look at products, open accounts, add-on services, and create new subscriptions at all hours of the day. Modern consumers access banking while traveling, at 2 AM, or while on holiday, and they expect services to be available when they want them. Digital banking allows you to make that possible, but chatbots add additional customer-service and support, no matter when your customer is using your site or app. This can be hugely advantageous in allowing customers to requisition instant services or to immediately set up and begin using a new service such as a savings account.
This type of always-on support gives customers more help on your website and social media because they can always ask a question and receive an answer without spending time looking for it.
Chatbots are increasingly available, easy to set up and personalize, and require less code than a standalone app. That’s important for banks looking to improve the customer experience because chatbots are accessible for many, even smaller banks. Many are also available as part of customer experience platforms, where banks can offer digital portals and banking alongside apps. Overall, banking chatbots make it easier for customers to access and use information.