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Chatbots: Your new banker

With the ability to provide a friction-free banking experience, chatbots are boosting banks’ digital services
By Anagh Pal | September 07, 2017

Technology is being used extensively across the world of finance and banks are testing new technology for customer experience. Chatbots are the new exciting initiative used by banks which promise to transform the banking experience in the future.

In March, HDFC Bank launched Eva (Electronic Virtual Assistant), an artificial intelligence chatbot which can address millions of customer queries across multiple channels instantly. The chatbot, built for HDFC by Senseforth AI Research offers the power of conversational experience to its customers on all the digital platforms such as the website, mobile site, and the dedicated portal for the bank’s customers. With Eva customers can get quick access to the bank's product details, fees and charges for various products, application processes, branch IFSC codes and so on at a faster pace than an interaction with an agent.

What exactly are chatbots? They are computer programs designed to simulate conversations with humans, mostly over the Internet. These chatbots can access data from a huge database and by using artificial intelligence in the background, can provide response to customer queries in a few seconds. Unlike earlier, there is no actual human sitting at the other end answering your queries. It is fully automated, faster, and more efficient. In the process is also helps generate a lot of business leads for the bank.

As on September 6, Eva has successfully answered 2.7 million customer queries in six months since inception.

A couple of days ago, SBI launched SIA, its own chatbot to assist customers. Still in its beta stage, the chatbot, developed by Allincall, is aimed at handling customer queries and guiding them through the various services and retail product that the bank offers. By answering customer queries regarding various bank products, the bank is putting its human resources to more effective use. Getting appropriate information can be a hassle as it would mean calling up customer care services or visiting the bank, long waits and even talking to agents who might not be fully equipped with the required information.

As early as April 2016, YES Bank launched Yes Tag which allowed customers to avail banking transactions from 5 different chat apps- Twitter, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Telegram, and Skype. According to the bank’s website, the banking transactions that can be carried out include balance enquiry, mini statement, funds transfer (to registered beneficiaries), request cheque book and so on. HDFC Bank and SBI are yet to offer banking transactions through its chatbot, but it is only a matter of time before they start doing so.

While we have also seen banking robots being introduced to replace human interactions, we would definitely see more banks offering chatbot services. Not just banks, insurance and mutual fund providers too are looking at chatbots to improve customer experience. It is time to say hello to your virtual friend! 

 

anagh@outlookindia.com

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