Modern technology is a space that is crowded by numerous opportunities, which are not necessarily obvious to the majority of us. Conversational banking is a very natural thing if you think about it for more than just a moment.
Today we have banks inside our smartphones. We can perform a lot of functions and access information that we need with a few clicks. We can pay without our cards using the same smartphone. In fact, we can do a lot by ourselves without any need to visit banks for years.
Do we really handle any complicated stuff? Most of us – don’t. But what really matters is an opportunity that we can leverage any moment.
Most of us still remember the times when you needed to visit a bank to make any transaction and – later on – when banks started communicating by SMS (in some places it still remains the same) and acquired robots that would call you to verify your intentions or ask for rating bank services.
Even though one can call both types of interaction – SMS and robotic calls – conversational banking, they didn’t feel even close to what we expect from it. The conversational interface may become a personalization of banking structure. It’s human face that we can easily interact with in order to solve any question of the middle-level difficulty.
Most of those functions that we possibly can perform but don’t really do without bank consultant we may be able to perform with the virtual assistant that is significantly smarter than those conventional robots that would call us. Because conversational banking is about personalization of faceless banking operations. Personalization that makes one trust.
In fact, personalization component that conversational interfaces bring to the interactions doesn’t affect performance in the same way under different circumstances. However, the main condition is to be accomplished – they should provide customers with the human-like interactions that make people easily communicate with the services.
(Learn more about human-like technologies here.)
You may think it looks pretty clear. So why one would need to devote time to learning about conversational banking? Just because you are already able to do much more without any efforts and you may not know about it. Let’s figure out together what kind of opportunities we acquire along with the conversational banking.
I would like to devote some time to clarification of the word that I’m going to use later – “fintech”. It’s a newly emerged field. Fintech includes companies that use technology to compete with the conventional financial institutions in providing different financial services.
It’s a great example of the interconnection between fields, which is becoming only stronger: development of fintech is strongly dependent on the technology and science while the latter ones are pushed by the increasing financial interest.
Perfect bank consultant
I don’t know about you but I have never felt good about those robotic voices that used to come out from my phone while my bank was trying to automate interactions with the client. I thought, why couldn’t they improve it?
However, the technology wasn’t ready for those improvements. Now time has come to switch from faceless monologs to a conversation with a service. I would say, it’s inevitable in the era of Siri, Cortana, and Alexa.
Conversational banking wouldn’t be possible without financial chatbots. They have certain advantages and one of the first and foremost is integration with the messaging platforms. Of course, bots are where messengers are. Now, if you connect the dots you will see how simple the stuff that used to be complicated (at least in our minds) is becoming.
Another great thing about fintech bots is that they are not human, which means no human factor. They are available 24 hours 7 days and they are immediately doing their work. They wouldn’t ask anyone else to help them or tell you to hold on for hours while they would look up the answer somewhere else.
Conversational commerce is so great mainly because all the information is there – in the mind of financial chatbot – and it takes moments for a bot to retrieve anythings from its memory.
Personal financial advisor and analyst
If you think that conversational commerce is just about the better interface of the same mobile banking that used to live in an app, it’s not quite right. In fact, financial chatbots can handle much more. They can become something more significant for you than just improved usability but a tool that you can use to deal with all of your financials.
Let me ask you: have you ever thought about your personal financial advisor? It’s natural to think about it. While your income is growing or your needs and conditions are changing you start facing different issues, like saving money in a wiser way. It’s undoubtedly difficult. But having personal financial consultant is too expensive.
Not always actually. If your consultant is fintech bot, it definitely won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Just twenty years ago hardly anyone could imagine the appearance of banking online – from the simplest transactions and payments to the opening bank account online. Then – mobile banking – the same functions but already inside your phone that is always with you.
Now it’s a bit difficult to imagine that a piece of automation can advise you on how to be wise and spare your money. One day this time would become just point in a history for us to refer our nostalgy.
The reason why fintech bots have a potential to become a perfect financial advisor lies in their software nature, which you can integrate with all the platforms you spend money on. This enables a bot to keep track of your expenses, analyze them with the regard to your income, and propose methods to spare.
Along with the integrating possibilities, it’s useful to remember that advanced bots rely upon databases and machine learning algorithms. It means that one can feed chatbot with a lot of data that is properly stored and structured. Later, this data can be immediately retrieved and used. Data can be used also make predictions and find alternative scenarios, which depends on the level of intelligence chatbot possesses.
We have talked about expectations but where are real examples – you may ask. Here are they – the most discussed cases of fintech chatbots: Mastercard’s chatbot KAI, Erica – chatbot launched by Bank of America, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple Siri.
Some of the services listed here or those you may face soon are the ones that are brought up by the banks and banking/payment services. At the same time, some of the services you may find familiar as you have used (or heard of using) them in a different way. However, you may not know that they include the possibility to track your expenses.
For banks and payment services switching to the messenger, the mode is as logical as changing along with the needs of their audience. It’s simple: if your customer feels comfortable at most in Messenger you also need to be there.
When it’s not inevitable to put a customer into uncomfortable conditions – like visiting bank when he can open the bank account online – the main mission is to avoid it.
As the Head of Digital Banking in Bank America explains bringing chatbot Erica to the stage:
For such services like Alexa, Siri, Google Home, and others you have heard about, inserting financial services are also logical due to their wide integrating abilities and AI-based nature.
Messaging platforms are deeply rooted in our daily routine. Most of us can’t imagine their lives without talking to friends on Facebook Messenger and collaborating with their teams in Slack. Messengers help us to stay there – at the distance of one click. All the time. Messengers make our big incredible world smaller and tighter because we are altogether in the same place.
Along with the rising relevance of messaging platforms, worldwide services are becoming smarter and more natural. By means of personalization, they are getting closer to people who use them. Customers start perceiving them in a human-like way while conventional customer-service interactions are becoming outdated.
Finally, conversational banking is an important part of the evolutional process modern services undergo. The reason is that usability of a service is dependent on the usability of its parts. Regarding that payments are required in many services, making transactions easier does matter.
Conversational banking isn’t just about easiness but moreover – naturalness. This is how we have come to not using the services inside applications but – communicating with them.