FinTech Chatbots – The Millennial Command Line

by Joseph Walent 0

The usability of voice interface with both mobile (Siri, Google) and stationary (Amazon Echo) and semi stationary (Amazon Tap) has improved to such a degree that widespread user acceptance is a market reality. This development, combined with the global migration to texting and chat mediums for objective oriented communications set the stage for chatbots to be the newest avenue of customer interactions with Financial Institutions in the coming year. The voice interface affords users freedom of engagement, allowing a “hands-free” experience.

This is not the end of the app-age. The way I see it there are transactional apps and experience apps. Transactional apps (order pizza, pay a bill, call a cab, look up train time etc) will be consumed by chatbots over the next few years as bots mature. Experience apps (games, entertainment, education etc) will last longer until AR/VR take them out. I guess the bad news for incumbent banks is they tend to fall in the transactional camp. Their way out, assuming they still want to ‘own the customer’, is to either become an experience app (not easy but it’s something we’re trying) or to go bot-free and play towards to sizeable segment of customers who will find chatbots as frustrating to deal with as telephony.

And it will not just be customers that are “chatbot” averse that will incent the maintenance of a traditional app interface, but a need for flexibility and the specific characteristics (privacy, visual representations) that will promote cross-channel fluidity. The underlying drive for Financial Institutions that want to stay in the forefront and act as the point of access with the customer will be personal determination of how to interact with the FI, however it manifests in method of approach or communication channel.

Overview by Joseph Walent, Associate Director, Customer Interactions Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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