The best of financial expertise and Conversational AI: the advantages of omnichannel banking for customers and banks

The best of financial expertise and Conversational AI: the advantages of omnichannel banking for customers and banks

Progress brings change. The same is true for increasing digitisation resulting in changing customer behaviour, presenting banks and insurance companies with new challenges. A few years ago, the financial sector was characterised by a large network of bank branches that served as a point of contact for almost every concern. Today, customers expect more than just the conventional banking advice in their branch during counter opening hours. Banking should be easy, fast, and independent of location and time, while also offering a unique user experience. To meet these new requirements, banks must give customers the choice of when and how they want to contact their financial institution. Seamless omnichannel service plays a central role here. Digital and personal sales channels don’t run side by side but are rather optimally connected with each other and enable a continuous customer journey by complementing each other. Conversational AI and chatbots allow accessible digital financial solutions and leverage automation potentials, thus creating a comprehensive banking experience. 

Omnichannel banking: like multichannel, but better

The transition from pure branch banking to multichannel sales has long been completed. Information on products or the sale of services can be obtained on a variety of channels. Whether via homepage, banking app or social media platforms, banks are investing in the expansion of their digital offerings, but these are often isolated solutions. It is hardly possible for customers to switch channels within a banking process without interrupting the customer journey. The customer would have to restart their entire process on another channel or their request would remain unsolved. 

Conversational AI makes the necessary switch from a sales-oriented to a customer-oriented approach much easier. The financial sector has a high potential to automate its customer queries. Standard questions such as, “How do I change my PIN?” or “Where can I block my credit card?” do not require complex advice from an employee. An AI-based chatbot can take over the simple but time-consuming queries automatically, with thousands of users simultaneously.  The customer receives support in an uncomplicated manner within seconds, without having to take opening hours into account, and the customer service team can devote more time to challenging requests that need emotional intelligence. 

Conversational AI not only enables permanent availability, but also flexibility in terms of channel choice and seamless communication. The bank responds proactively, no matter when or where customers are, and regardless of which channel the communication takes place. This is because Conversational AI can be integrated into a variety of different channels, which ensures that the advisory service provided is effortless across all devices and platforms. Would the customer like to receive advice on bank accounts via messenger? No problem for Conversational AI! Did the customer make an initial product selection for a suitable loan via the chatbot, but prefers a personal consultation for the decision-making process? No problem either! The bank advisor receives all relevant data through the chatbot and can seamlessly continue the conversation.

Another advantage: Improving the customer relationship in the long term, by giving competent advice much easier and smarter. The customer does not have to travel long distances to the bank to obtain the desired information. The reduction of inhibition thresholds, such as personal contact, leads to a higher conversion rate thanks to the use of Conversational AI. 

Get to know your customers – thanks to Conversational AI

To offer customers a unique banking experience, a customer journey needs to be created through their own personal needs. Traditional segmentation, according to demographic or monetary factors, is no longer sufficient. Conversational AI gives banks the opportunity to analyse individual customer behaviour and react to it with appropriate product offers and information – at the right time, via the right channel. Every interaction in customer-centric banking means to collect, transfer and store customer data at every touchpoint. With every click, a user leaves behind valuable information. In addition, a bank already carries a lot of personal data, such as account movements, income, and investments. Artificial intelligence enables multidimensional evaluation: automatically analyse the collected data volume for factors such as savings goals, preferences, investment behaviour, banking habits, etc., segmented and related to identify individual customer needs. Thus, the bank has the opportunity to respond to the personal requirements of customers and to ensure optimal advisory service. 

Through an AI-based chatbot, customers can receive needs-based advice and financial recommendations. If the customer wants to better understand their spending behaviour, the digital assistant can provide an evaluation in real-time. Transfers can also be made easily via chatbot support. For personal consultations, the employee can use the evaluated data and the generated results to respond even more specifically to the customer’s needs, in order to provide personalised information to use for cross-selling and up-selling potentials. Expanding the personal dialogue with the customer thanks to the use of Conversational AI.

Conversational Banking: direct dialogue between bank and customer

AI-based technologies are strengthening the service portfolio. It is important to bear in mind that Conversational AI and chatbots are not replacing advisors, but are intended to support them, in order to expand potential and scale competitive advantages. In recent years, banks have focused on implementing digital offers for customers. The dialogue between client and advisor has often been overlooked. However, finance is based on trust and open communication plays a vital role in this. In order to strengthen the personal relationship between the customer and their respective bank, conversational banking needs to be expanded. Here, the bank customer has interaction options through various digital platforms. The dialogue can take place via text, video, or voice – with a bank advisor or a chatbot. In conversational banking, AI-supported automation and human advice go hand in hand.

In traditional customer service, an advisor can address a customer. Thanks to the use of Conversational AI, it is possible to address several customers at the same time, each with individual guidance. In private customer business, for example, a selected group of customers can be informed about a suitable building society contract via messaging services. The customer receives the message recorded by the advisor on his smartphone and has the option of communicating directly with his bank via a reply button or requesting further information. Uncomplicated requests can be answered automatically by the integrated chatbot, and more complex questions can be answered personally by the customer advisor. Contracts can also be confirmed directly in the chat process. The entire communication process is seamlessly documented, even when switching between digital channels (e.g. from messaging to email). In the end, the advisor has a finished consultation protocol at hand that can be made available to the client and also complies with all regulatory requirements. 

Conversational AI and chatbots enable banks to respond to changing customer expectations by providing simple and fast 24/7 communication with personalised advice, regardless of the channel. Automation makes much of customer service scalable – a success factor in keeping up with new and agile competitors. Bank advisors have an efficient tool at their fingertips that alleviates them of standard queries, which are instead answered automatically. In addition, they receive valuable customer information through AI-supported data analysis, which enables even more personal and competent support.

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