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AI Chatbots are being increasingly used in accommodating the expansion of the customer base and business growth. It not only helps answer questions, but also contributes to a good customer experience and good brand accessibility
Changing consumer behavior
Online channels are now an extremely important mode of direct communication between the brand and the curious consumer. Certainly, the same also applies to banks, considering that this mode is faster than any other means available. In the past, customers had to physically visit a bank branch or contact the bank personnel via telephone in order to obtain information. Nowadays, however, customers can contact their “personal assistants” simply by doing an online search on social media such as Facebook, LINE, or even the bank’s own website.
An era of change
In the past, a number of personnel would be assigned to answer the customers’ questions. However, due to the increase in volume of queries, the number of existing personnel became insufficient. Moreover, many of the questions are repeated. This then led to the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), specifically AI chatbots, which can give automated responses, to the process of replying to the customers’ questions.
However, in order to maximize the efficiency of the chatbots, three primary components must be taken into consideration.
- User Experience – the flow of the chatbot must be easy to use and the chatbot itself must be designed to provide the most natural responses possible;
- Linking with the back office system (in this case, the system of the bank) – the chatbot must be linked to the bank’s system, which shall have in place a number of rules and standards on information security, and shall demonstrate a certain degree of complexity. As such, considering that the chatbots developed for banks do not function on the same generic level as chatbots in other industries, the developers of the chatbots to be used for banks must have substantial experience with a large corporation.
- Maximizing the data – every time a person converses with a chatbot, all of the relevant data must be compiled: what services does this customer use? What types of accounts does he/she/it have? All of these details are like a goldmine which the bank can then use as its future prospects and for providing the best experience possible to its customers by means of providing responses and offering promotions that best meet their interests, and which can help banks seal the deal. The analysis comprises two components:
- Rule-based programming – the programmer must make sure that its chatbot encompasses as many scenarios as possible, and that the same is capable of Natural Language Processing (NLP). If a question which had not been programmed comes up, it is possible that the chatbot will not provide the desired answer, thus the assistance of a human personnel is still required to address that particular question.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – machine learning is used to “learn” the various forms of human conversations and behavior, and to construct analytical models in order to predict the probable behaviors based on the conversation history and to provide the response that is suited to the needs of the consumer to the extent possible.
AI and the Banking Business
At present, many startups have developed, launched, and introduced their chatbots into the market. However, the banking business remains a specialized area because it relies on a sound knowledge and understanding of the business. As such, a chatbot that is specifically designed for the banking business is required for this field (e.g. the various FinTech chatbots currently on the market).
A number of banks, especially those in Scandinavia, began to introduce AI to their businesses, such as Nordea Bank’s Nova Chatbot, which provides customer service 24/7, with no holidays. In addition to providing responses to the frequently asked questions every day, Nova Chatbot also gives advice to the customers on investments. Moreover, customers who have lost their credit card can also inform Nova Chatbot, and can even contact Nova Chatbot in order to make a request to open a savings account.
In addition to enhancing customer satisfaction, as these chatbots are comparable to having a bank staff that is able to provide faster and more timely assistance to the customers, the introduction of such technology also allows for more efficient internal work management for the bank and helps save long-term costs.
However, AI is still relatively new, as it needs to be developed parallel with the User Experience (UX) design
, so that it will be able to respond to humans more naturally and efficiently. Until then, more time is needed for the “learning process” before AI can truly alleviate the human burden in a seamless manner to the extent that customers feel as though they are conversing with an actual human being.