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The Role of AI Chatbots in the Banking and Financial Services Industry

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written byTech Partnerships & Collaboration Expert, EPAM Startups & SMBs

Anush has a history of planning and executing digital communications strategies with a focus on technology partnerships, tech buying advice for small companies, and remote team collaboration insights. At EPAM Startups & SMBs, Anush works closely with subject matter experts to share first-hand expertise on making software engineering collaboration a success for all parties involved.

Anush has a history of planning and executing digital communications strategies with a focus on technology partnerships, tech buying advice for small companies, and remote team collaboration insights. At EPAM Startups & SMBs, Anush works closely with subject matter experts to share first-hand expertise on making software engineering collaboration a success for all parties involved.

Computers have long played a role in the financial industry. However, they have primarily been confined to the back office with limited in-person interaction. Over the past couple of years, this has rapidly changed.

Chatbots have been used in customer service for over a decade. But they are now becoming key tools in the dynamic digital banking world. They are paving the way for a better, customer-focused approach in banking by redefining how customers are served. This article explores the many roles of chatbots in banking. It covers the types, uses, benefits, and key features that make a banking bot effective and how they can best improve customer experience.

What is a banking chatbot?

A banking bot is a smart virtual assistant. It simulates human conversation and interactions using pre-calculated phrases. These chatbots can do many banking tasks.

In the banking industry, these chatbots use technology like natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning. NLP lets computers understand written text and spoken language so that they can respond in a similar fashion to a human. Using NLP, banking bots can be accessed through banking websites, mobile apps, or through messaging platforms. These chatbots have one main goal: to improve the customer experience. They will do this by reducing response time and making the bank more efficient.

The problems of digital banking that chatbots help to address

Digital banking has many benefits, like convenience and efficiency. But, it also has several challenges.

The human element

With digital banking, people access all of the services online. However, even though digital banking doesn't require a brick-and-mortar location, it still requires resources. So, while the service could be available 24/7, the customer support team could struggle to meet this requirement. This can lead to long wait times for customers and frustration when trying to resolve issues.

For times when support centers are stretched thin, customer wait times could increase dramatically. This can be hard for customers who need help now. Or for those with schedules that clash with banking hours. Also, even when fully staffed, if a human support rep is busy with one customer, they can't help others. This can create a bottleneck effect and result in even longer customer wait times.

Another concern when dealing with individual support staff is how interactions vary widely in quality, efficiency, and accuracy. Customers might get different service levels simply based on who they are speaking to. It depends on the representative they interact with and their level of knowledge. This leads to inconsistent customer experiences.

Digital banking is complicated

Digital banking systems can sometimes be complex and difficult for users to navigate. The services available may intimidate new users. Without enough support, they might struggle to use the platforms. This inconveniences customers. It also increases the workload for bank employees who have to fix these issues.

However, even after a customer learns how to use the current system, change is introduced. New digital banking features and financial products are always being launched. Educating customers about their use and benefits is a big part of the challenge. Without proper guidance, customers may underutilize or misuse these features.

Security concerns

With digital banking, there is always a risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches. Customers entrust their personal and financial information to these platforms, so security is a major concern. Unfortunately, cyber-attacks and identity theft are on the rise globally. While some features have been introduced to help combat the problems — like two-factor authentication (2FA) and the use of tokens, this can be complicated for many. This is especially so for the older customer base that aren't as good with tech but are more at risk of scams and phishing.

Banking efficiency

Banks are a business like any other and inefficiencies are extremely costly. Front-line customer service teams often handle simple tasks. These tasks are not only boring for those individuals; they limit their ability to handle more complex and useful tasks. This can be frustrating for agents and often leads to burnout and churn.

Added to that is the question of language barriers and accessibility issues. Many customers have different language preferences and accessibility needs. Not all digital banking platforms are equipped to handle this diversity effectively.

Personalization

Customers expect core banking services to cater to their needs and preferences. But creating personalized experiences in digital banking is hard. This is because of the large number of customers and transactions. However, banks must personalize if they want to stand out from competitors and keep loyal customers. It's a catch-22.

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Types of bank bots

There are two main types of chatbots used in banking and financial services — rule-based and artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots.

  • Rule-based bots: The bots follow predefined rules and scripts to talk to users. They are good for handling simple tasks and questions and are generally less expensive and easier to implement than other chatbots.
  • Powered bot or AI bot: They use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP). They understand and respond to customer queries in a more human-like manner. AI chatbots use NLP and machine learning to understand and answer customer queries. This enables them to provide more personalized and human-like interactions.

Here are some common types of bank bots:

Customer service bots

These banking bots are programmed to handle a wide range of customer queries. They provide information on account balances, transaction histories, branch locations, and operating hours. They can also help with basic troubleshooting. This includes issues with online banking login or app use. They help with many banking transactions, including money transfers, bill payments, and mobile check deposits. Customer service banking chatbots guide users through transactions as a virtual assistant, providing a convenient and user-friendly way to manage finances.

Wealth and finance bots

Banking chatbots can offer personal financial advice, helping with budgeting, investment, and financial planning. They can analyze unique customer-specific data to offer custom suggestions on saving, spending, and investing.

For example, wealth management bots are for customers with investment portfolios. They offer insights into stock market trends, portfolio analysis, and personalized investment advice. They can also execute trades and transactions on behalf of the customer.

Credit and loan bots can assist customers with inquiries related to credit products and loans. They can provide info on loan eligibility, rates, and EMIs. They can also guide customers through the loan application process.

Security bots

These banking chatbots monitor account activity for suspicious transactions and alert customers to potential fraud. They can also guide customers through different security protocols to secure their accounts. Some security bots also offer multi-factor authentication options for added protection.

Survey bots

In an effort to provide personalized customer service, feedback, and survey banking chatbots collect customer feedback about the customer's overall experience. They help banks gather valuable insights for service improvement. These bots can be integrated with other databases to provide a comprehensive analysis of customer feedback.

What are the top use cases for chatbots in banking?

Chatbots in banking have many uses. They greatly improve customer experience and efficiency. Some of the top use cases for chatbots in the banking sector include:

  1. Customer support and query resolution: Chatbots provide instant responses to customer inquiries. Whether the question concerns account balances, transaction details, banking services, or more, they are always available. This reduces wait times and improves customer satisfaction. They assist customers in managing their bank accounts, including checking balances, reviewing recent transactions, and updating personal information.
  2. Facilitating transactions: Banking chatbots simplify complex processes. They help with transactions such as fund transfers, bill payments, and mobile check deposits through simple conversational interfaces.
  3. Information and recommendations: Chatbots provide information on various banking products like loans, credit cards, and investment options. These chatbots offer personalized financial advice and use data analytics powered by artificial intelligence to help customers with budgeting, saving, and investments.
  4. Fraud detection and alerts: Banking systems monitor accounts 24/7. Chatbots can send real-time alerts to customers about odd account activity. This helps quickly find and stop fraud. They can also be used to send reminders for bill payments, low balances, loan payment dates or other financial deadlines. These reminders help customers avoid late payments and penalties.
  5. Customer onboarding: Chatbots assist new customers in the account creation process. They help guide them through forms and explain banking terms and conditions. They guide customers through loan applications, providing info on eligibility, interest rates, and document requirements. They can even give updates on application status.
  6. Feedback collection and customer engagement: Chatbots can conduct surveys. They can collect feedback, providing banks with insights to improve their services. They also engage customers with updates, tips, and educational content. This helps build a personal connection with customers and enhances their banking experience.

What are the benefits of chatbots in banking?

The implementation of chatbots in banking brings several key benefits, both for the banks and their customers:

Always available

Chatbots provide instant support. They can provide help 24/7 and will help cut wait times. This breaks the limits of traditional banking hours and locations. This is especially good for customers in other time zones or with busy schedules. Chatbots can easily scale up to handle more interactions based on the demand. They are well-suited to handle peak periods and growing customer bases without the requirement of finding, hiring and training additional resources.

Improved efficiencies

Chatbots streamline various banking processes, from customer onboarding to transaction processing. This efficiency saves time for customers and the bank. Chatbots automate routine questions and tasks, reducing the need for a large customer service team, which lowers operational costs. They can handle multiple interactions at once, which is more cost-effective compared to human agents. Automated responses by chatbots reduce the risk of human error in customer service. This is crucial in banking where accuracy is paramount.

Personalized experiences

Chatbots can get data from past customer interactions. They give banks valuable information about customer preferences and behavior. This data can be used to improve services, develop new products, and tailor marketing strategies. Chatbots can also analyze customer data to provide personalized advice and recommendations leading to new revenue opportunities. They also keep customers engaged with timely updates and useful information. It can lead to higher loyalty and retention.

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What should a banking chatbot look like?

When considering your banking bot, there are several key characteristics that need to be considered.

  • Speed: With any customer-facing interaction tool or service, speed is paramount. The longer you make customers wait, the greater the impact on overall customer satisfaction. One of the primary benefits of a banking bot is the fact that it's always available and can scale to demand. Having the right AI chatbot for banks means your customers get immediate responses and resolutions.
  • Accuracy: The accuracy of a chatbot's responses is crucial in building trust and credibility with customers. It should be able to understand the customer's queries accurately. It should also provide relevant and reliable information. If it fails in this area, customers lose trust in the overall brand.
  • Personalization: By using data, banking bots can provide a personalized user experience. This could be through knowledge of past transactions or even overall behavior patterns. This can help create a more personalized and engaging experience for the customer.
  • Multi-lingual support: In today's world, it is essential for a banking chatbot to support multiple languages. With clients from all over the globe, the banking bot needs to be able to communicate easily without any language barriers.
  • Security: As chatbots handle sensitive financial information, security is of utmost importance. A good banking chatbot should focus on strong security. This will protect customer data and block unauthorized access. By employing advanced encryption protocols, multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits, the chatbot can provide customers with peace of mind and enhance overall trust in the banking system.
  • Integration with banking systems: To provide a seamless experience, a banking chatbot should be integrated with the bank's core systems. This enables the bot to access real-time information about the customer's accounts, transactions, and balances.
  • Ease of use: A user-friendly interface is crucial in the financial sector. Banking customers want a bot that is easy to navigate and understand. This is true even for customers who are not good with technology.

How we can help you with banking chatbot development

At EPAM Startups & SMBs, we specialize in crafting custom AI solutions with a focus on customer experience and the unique needs of banking customers. Our team of experts is dedicated to designing, developing, and deploying advanced chatbot technology solutions, helping you improve customer engagement and drive operational excellence.

Chatbots in the banking industry are no longer just a trend; they are a necessity in the digital age. Chatbots can provide personalized customer service. They can handle everyday banking tasks. They also ensure secure online banking. They are key in driving customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Embracing this technology means staying ahead in the rapidly evolving financial landscape.

FAQ

Anush_Dilanyan.jpg
written byTech Partnerships & Collaboration Expert, EPAM Startups & SMBs

Anush has a history of planning and executing digital communications strategies with a focus on technology partnerships, tech buying advice for small companies, and remote team collaboration insights. At EPAM Startups & SMBs, Anush works closely with subject matter experts to share first-hand expertise on making software engineering collaboration a success for all parties involved.

Anush has a history of planning and executing digital communications strategies with a focus on technology partnerships, tech buying advice for small companies, and remote team collaboration insights. At EPAM Startups & SMBs, Anush works closely with subject matter experts to share first-hand expertise on making software engineering collaboration a success for all parties involved.

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