Chatbots: Changing the Face of Customer Engagement

By Perry Price

Digital banking was on the rise prior to the onset of the pandemic, and over the recent months adoption has increased even further.

As consumers continue to turn to digital solutions as their primary mode of communication with their bank, banks have become highly focused on enhancing customer engagement to keep their customers happy and retain their business long-term.

Banks that can deliver next-level experience in terms of customer engagement not only provide better service to their customers, but positively impact their revenue. Deloitte reports that delivering positive customer experiences can reduce an organization’s cost to serve their customers by up to 33 percent—indicative of the fact that increasing customer engagement is beneficial for both the consumer and the organization.

It’s no surprise that banks are seeking to implement new technology that can aid their efforts to enhance customer engagement. Today, many banks are turning to artificial intelligence, primarily in the form of chatbots, as their primary tool for increasing customer engagement. Chatbots can help banks automate customer interactions, especially when it comes to basic or routine tasks, like resetting a password for an online banking account or transferring funds between accounts. This automation enables banks to expand their hours of customer service, far beyond traditional hours.

Simplicity yields efficiency

Chatbots have been proven to offer an array of benefits to both organizations and customers alike. And though many organizations have already deployed chatbot technology as part of their customer collaboration platform, those that have not adopted artificial intelligence technology can find the process to be complex. Some may remain unclear as to how to take the first step towards transforming their customer engagement using a chatbot.

Banking organizations looking to implement a chatbot can look to their current communication vendor as they select a solution to layer on a chatbot to their existing customer communications strategy. Although many banks are quick to approach a vendor with a list of very specific criteria for a customized chatbot solution, implementing a basic or standard chatbot is oftentimes much more efficient for an organization that is just getting started with AI technology. Deploying a chatbot with clearly defined parameters—as opposed to a completely customized bot—helps banks scale their chatbots and provides flexibility as usage increases.

Be intentional

To start the process of building a chatbot, a bank should discuss with its technology vendor just what it wants to accomplish. This helps to clarify goals and objectives such as whether the bot is intended to offload work from contact center agents by answering frequently asked questions or if the bot’s purpose is to route incoming customer interactions to different departments of the bank.

Beginning with the template for a configurable chatbot a graphical user interface eliminates the need for a vendor to develop new code to meet the requirements that are likely to evolve over time.

Once the purpose of the bot has been established, the bank is responsible for creating responses to predetermined chatbot questions. Depending on the purpose of the bot, the responses may provide information, point the customer to a URL or route to an internal resource or teams of resources, such as a loan origination team or a retail banking team. Once the vendor has the questions and responses, it can begin to build the chatbot.

Chatbot tips and tricks

When it comes to the process of building a chatbot, banks can keep several tips and tricks in mind to make the process as smooth as possible. Keeping the chatbot’s responses short and concise helps customers get the service they need in an efficient manner. When designing the questions and responses for the chatbot, banks should refrain from incorporating too much marketing language or extra information. Instead they should focus on keeping the responses easy to quickly digest by customers.

In addition to concise, simple responses, banking organizations should prioritize giving customers the option to be always connected to a live agent throughout an interaction. When a bank is authoring its questions and responses, it should include the opportunity to opt-out by typing the word ‘agent’ at the end of each response. This allows customers to connect with a live agent instead of continuing the conversation with the chatbot. Additionally, designing a chatbot to collect information from customers, such as names and account numbers, creates a smoother transition from the bot to a live agent.

As banks look to include chatbots and interactive virtual features as part of their digital communications strategy, keeping these tips in mind can help to enhance customer engagement.

Perry Price is co-founder and CEO of Revation Systems. He can be reached at pr@revation.com.

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