Why the Financial Sector is Poised for a Chatbot Takeover

by Jeff Epstein 0


The days of waiting in long lines at the bank for simple transactions are long gone. In today’s digital world, consumers expect immediate responses to their inquiries from whatever channel is quickest; sixty-one percent of consumers feel that chatbots are the customer service tool of the future, thanks to their quick response and resolution times. Live chat, powered by both agents and AI-enabled chatbots, removes the frustration of waiting on hold or for an email response to a simple request or urgent need. The immediacy of live chat reflects the 24/7 world we live in, and companies that invest in tools that allow them to respond to queries immediately will always have an advantage over those that lag behind.

Due to the personal nature and general importance of finances, customers usually have a sense of urgency when trying to get in touch with a representative from their bank or financial institution. Because of this, the pairing of chatbots with live agents is particularly poised to serve the needs of banks, using the chatbots to provide quick responses to simple requests and freeing up live agents to provide smart, real-time solutions to the more complicated questions.

Given the specific needs of the financial industry, banks and other financial institutions need to find live chat and AI solutions that not only meet customer needs but can also manage sensitive information appropriately. The following are some of the most important qualities banks should review when considering live chat providers.

Chatbots and live chat that work together

While many banks are using live agents or chatbots, the pairing of both is key to be able to deftly handle both simple and more complicated customer requests. Banks should look for providers that incorporate a combination of bots and live chat into their solutions. These institutions need to meet consumers where they are – online – but also require the ability to quickly decide whether a chatbot or human is best to handle each request. Chatbots can be a great complement to live agents, as one Brazilian investment bank found. The bank saw that customer service representatives were becoming inundated with simple, repetitive requests that left them unable to focus on the more complex problems that require a human touch. To better allocate agent time and better serve customer needs, the bank implemented chatbots to help its live agents respond to requests, and the pairing improved customer service.

Chatbots that can focus to perform better

Chatbots with a clear scope and purpose perform best, especially ones that help automate the most common requests and transactions. For example, the same Brazilian bank as mentioned above primarily used chatbots in stock trading and investments, and the bot has succeeded amid high traffic volumes. Implementing the chatbot has paved the way for major improvements in live chat. The bank has seen an increase in chat frequency, decreased agent response time and improved ratings for live agents, as they are able to focus on the complex requests that require their attention without getting bogged down by repeat asks for simple information. On average, chatbots handle about 25 percent of chats, and the results speak for themselves – customers are responding that they are “very satisfied” with the service they received from the chatbot. 

Chatbots that prioritize security

While customers are getting increasingly comfortable with live chat and chatbots, and most understand that security measures are in place, the safety of their personal information is still a top concern. Because banks handle extremely sensitive customer financial information, they must look for a provider with rigorous security features like world-class data centers, stringent identity management and training processes, and rigid data security and privacy standards. Solutions that allow sensitive data to be requested through the chat window, but also ensure that data becomes unavailable to both agents and visitors once the session ends, are a must. Payment card industry (PCI) compliance is also a must. Additionally, banks should look for providers offering maximum uptime, guaranteeing access to data even in the event of a power outage or technical breakdown.

Chatbots that can perform basic transactions

While banking apps brought customers and their data closer together, chatbots go a step further as they’re more broadly available to a wider demographic and quicker than clicking and scrolling to get to the information needed. And customers are ready to embrace this technology – the Brazilian bank found that chat frequency has nearly tripled since implementing the chatbot. While banking apps have search capabilities, they aren’t always user-friendly. Bots make it easier for users to make a simple request and receive the information immediately or instantly complete simple transactions, like transferring money between accounts, scheduling payments and sending money. Live chat, whether with live agents or bots, is key to minimizing customer frustration by helping them complete transactions quickly.

As chatbots become more popular and increased use leads to more evidence of their positive impact, there’s no doubt they will become commonplace in the financial sector. Financial institutions looking to free up their live agents to handle more complex customer requests should look to AI-enabled chatbots as the answer now.