Ever gotten fixated on the tiny, often cute notification that pops up in the corner of your competitor bank’s website asking if you need help? Upon clicking, a friendly chatbot assistant comes to your service ready to answer most of your questions, As you test it out, you notice a bit of a generational change. You see that the bot seems to be able to help address even advanced queries like creating a loan application, unlike earlier ones which provided basic info like the contact info of your nearest branch or connecting you to a human agent.
It’s true. Chatbots have become more intelligent and secure. Chatbots are occupying a greater place in discussions about customer experience in leading banks. In fact, studies estimate that the chatbot market in the BFSI sector will be worth over USD 3.39 billion by 2027. As with everything digital, the pandemic seems to have accelerated customer acceptance of such contactless initiatives.
While the pandemic conditions are improving significantly as we near the end of 2021, some of the behavioral changes from the pandemic days are likely to linger. For banks, one such innovation is the growing reliance of consumers on digital channels for routine as well as high-value transactional interactions.
A recent report found that, before the pandemic in 2020, just 4% of mid-size banks and credit unions leveraged a chatbot on their main website to deal with customer queries, but the number leapfrogged to 13% by the end of the same year.

So why are so many of your competitor banks investing in chatbots? Let us examine 4 key reasons:
Elevates Customer Experience
At the height of the pandemic, when only a fraction of people had access to direct banking services via a physical branch, dedicated websites and apps were the only means for millions of consumers to conduct their banking operations. Even for regular users, finding information on the service they need from a bank’s website can be a challenging affair as it may be tucked away among thousands of content pieces about product offerings. With a chatbot, however, discovering a service only takes seconds. Key in what’s needed and the chatbot automatically pulls up the required option or links to information from the website or an app. Conversational chatbots use AI to offer even more personalized customer experiences by narrowing down the keystrokes they must make to get suggestions or defining likely options for the customer based on their profile.

24X7 Scale and Availability
Unlike a human support associate, a chatbot can work 24X7 all through the year, handling as many customer queries as come in simultaneously in real-time. Be it one or a million customers scouring for services and information, chatbot instances can attend to all of them anytime. This can be a huge relief for customer support associates who only now have to focus on handling critical and high-priority support requests. Today, chatbots can handle a range of customer support queries and initiate actions as simple as form filling to complex IT or transactional operations on behalf of customers. That helps banks optimize their support operations while assuring an elevated level of customer service.

Customer Experience
There’s no denying that these bots can be fun to interact with. Customers everywhere like the brand-aligned and visually appealing bots. They offer a pleasant distraction from the tiresome or plain boring banking transactions. There’s a freshness to the interaction that makes it memorable. That’s valuable when banks seek an opportunity to elevate their customer engagement above the mundane to the engaging.

Autonomous Selling
Don’t believe for a moment that the chatbot is a cost center. It can be a revenue generator too. An AI-powered conversational chatbot can easily sell a banking product to a customer without ever having to involve a human agent in the process. With permissioned access to a customer’s data, analytical processing of purchasing or spending trends, chatbots can discover deals that have higher chances of converting into sales and leverage the conversation to sell the product in real-time. Furthermore, it can even double up as a 24X7 helpdesk to answer queries about products, offer demonstrations, provide detailed help guides and other resources which help people make buying decisions easier. That’s money in the bank, quite literally.

Streamline Corporate Reporting
It is not just consumers who can have experiences simplified and streamlined by chatbots. Even internal executive reporting and operations in the complex banking environment can leverage chatbots for a range of functions. Chatbots can eliminate long delays that are usually common in executive information discovery. For example, if a CFO or a Regional Director wants to take stock of the performance of their assigned geographies or region, a simple query via an internal chatbot can trigger advanced analytical processing and insight generation on the back end and the chatbot can lay out the desired results in a matter of seconds to those who need it.
Chatbots have evolved considerably from their initial days. They used to be aligned with the knowledge management initiative and be tools to provide answers to a limited set of FAQs. Today they are being seen as key drivers of customer experience with the potential to autonomously run even sales of banking products and services. No wonder, their application is growing.
So, what would it take to build a chatbot at your bank?
A gamut of technologies ranging from big data analytics to artificial intelligence and machine learning must run in tandem with the bank’s digital ecosystem to help chatbots discover and present the most precise answers to every customer interaction. Banks must view chatbots as an extended support system as they set the ball rolling for a holistic digital transformation with the adoption of innovative technologies. It’s a long road, with many twists and turns. Get in touch with us to explore setting up a roadmap to digital success and lay the foundation for embracing technologies like chatbots.