Chatbots for Financial Services
Softjourn

Customer Service Through Chatbots

January 29, 2019 by Softjourn

The application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a fintech trend on its own and takes many forms (such as reducing fraud and false positives in payments processing), but one of the most exciting and tangible AI trends is automating customer service through chatbots—embedded within apps or through social media, like Facebook. 

The West is light years behind the East—especially China and Japan—in adopting chatbots, and financial institutions, in particular, have been slow to adopt the technology. Those gaps should shrink in 2019, as fintechs and financial institutions recognize the power of AI-powered chatbots that get smarter over time, eventually supporting full conversations through advanced speech and natural language processing capabilities.   

When this happens, AI-powered chatbots will deliver benefits beyond the obvious human labor cost saving, providing true virtual assistance—including transactional capabilities, advice based on individual behavior patterns and even opening accounts. Financial businesses providing these smart chatbots will capture the added benefit of rich data to target offers and anticipate their customers’ needs—creating a continual feedback loop and building.   

Ultimately, AI-powered chatbots will incorporate sentiment analytics, enabling responses that match human tone and emotion, and even mimicking geographic accents—giving customers the experience of communicating with a “person” just like them. Maybe the prediction of Edrizio de la Cruz will become a fact and in the future, handling finances without a chatbot will be like picturing your life without a smartphone.  

Bots in fintech

Many tech companies are already spending a good deal of resources developing bots just for the financial services industry (see Table 1). Most chatbots are accessed via virtual assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, via messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger or WeChat. The most interesting and discussed banking chatbot applications are: Kasisto AI, Personetics Assist, Finn AI, Clinc and Trim.1

Table 1 The Most Interesting Chatbots in Banking2

Bank Chatbot name Chatbot characteristics
Bank of America Erica Customers can get help via voice or text regarding their banking problems. This banking chatbot sends personalized recommendations, offers and advice after analyzing the customer’s data. Erica can also send educational videos on finance.
Capital one Eno Clients can get information from the chatbot about account balance, transaction history, and credit limit as an instant message and can pay bills instantly. Eno can even understand emojis as well as the meaning of thumbs given by customers.
Wells Fargo   Wells Fargo’s chatbot uses artificial intelligence and Facebook Messenger to respond to natural language messages from users, such as how much money they have in their accounts, and where the nearest bank ATM is.
CitiBank  CitiBot Citi Bot SG uses Facebook Messenger.It provides instant replies to banking enquiries and account related transactions.
JPMorgan Chase COIN COIN was launched to analyze commercial-loan agreements
The bot reduced work from 360,000 man hours down to seconds and is less error-prone. This is the first in a series of bots JPMorgan plans to roll out.

 

According to PWC3 , chatbots have reached a certain level of maturity—they are developed for specific tasks and are unable to suitably handle specialized queries requiring knowledge outside of the functional domain. So, although there are already plenty of banking bots, these financial institutions might still decide to wait for the technology to mature somewhat more. The goal is to combine knowledge across all relevant segments to provide better insights and improve the customer experience. 

1de Jesus A. (2018, November 29). Banking Chatbots – Comparing 5 Current Applications [Blog post].
2Marous J. (2018, March 14). Meet 11 of the Most Interesting Chatbots in Banking [Blog post].
3PWC India. Chatbot: The intelligent banking assistant.

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