In today’s digitally obsessed world, retail banks struggle to keep pace in delivering a unique customer experience. Customers expect innovative digital banking that is available across channels and tailored to their immediate needs. Their demand for banking services to be as convenient for use as contactless payment, streaming services, and shopping, all of which are part of their daily routine. On the other hand, it won’t be in the banks’ nature to change in a night. By carefully planning the overall digitalization, those banks that embrace the new opportunities will get the highest payoffs. The outcome will be far more of meeting customer needs and achieving operating model efficiencies. So, the bank’s strategies should be built around:
- Implementing AI-enabled processing of customer requests between digital and assisted channels and providing the frontline staff with leads for cross and up sales
- Empowering frontline staff to meet customers’ needs and actively provide financial advice
- Shifting from contact centres to customer care platforms
- Collaborating with third party’s platform services through application programming interfaces (APIs)
- Optimizing branch networks and offering self-services capabilities
- Fully cover the prefered customer communication channels
From the consumer perspective, a pleasant digital experience means superior service continuity and delivery of instant results. They also expect an offer of products, information, and advice customized to their needs and life stage. Digital capabilities across channels provide new ways to offer personalized interactions, products, and pricing, enabling high-volume solutions—mobile apps, websites, and Robo-advisers that allow minimal manual/human intervention at a relatively low cost. No one denies that digital is essential for cutting distribution costs and boosting revenues.
So, is it a farfetched idea to invite an AI-buddy to be your confidant?
Technological solutions, like chatbots, are designed to facilitate call centre employees’ work and fill the gap not covered by the Internet and mobile banking, particularly in offering personalized products and services to each customer. These solutions provide customers with an environment to ask questions about products and services and send inquiries about the offer they are interested in, regardless of lack of financial knowledge. For example, a client starts a chat with the query, “I need a new car, what does it take to get funding”? The virtual assistant can provide complete information about the available credit options without using keywords such as “credit”, “leasing”, etc. This type of communication is possible due to the intensive development of artificial intelligence algorithms, machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) technologies, enabling the computer to analyze and understand what the person is asking, rather than using specific terms. These technologies make it possible to understand natural language questions and, accordingly, the consumer’s natural response, which banking consultants previously have carried out.
AI is one of the areas where Sirma is a leading company – with almost 30 years of technological expertise and know-how. Our chatbot platform Melinda enables banks and financial institutions to create the best solutions empowered by AI. The chatbot uses natural language understanding (NLU) and self-learning algorithms. It has speech-to-text and text-to-speech functionality that enables it to mimic natural conversation on intelligent voice devices.
What makes Melinda unique?
As a new generation intelligent bot, Melinda reverses the way of communicating with clients – the conversation does not need specific keywords; with the help of AI, the bot captures intentions, and the dialogue is closer to natural speech. As a result, it is possible to offer more services and go beyond the hitherto imposed role for chat solutions - to support customers. Even more, bots are becoming an active channel for interaction with customers.
The bank that enables bot integrations with existing systems, even the legacy one, can provide services available on the Internet and mobile banking, such as personalized account balance data, account movements, loan liabilities, etc. Besides, the bot can also perform active operations, for instance, initialization of transactions, applying for loans, opening accounts, etc. Another important option is that the bank’s team carries out the bot training according to the organisation’s specific requirements and planned activities. Melinda is designed to support conversational interactions in each country-specific language over multiple touchpoints such as web, mobile apps, messaging applications such as Viber, Facebook Messenger, Skype, etc.
Let’s think about the next step
Utilizing an AI-based solution, which carries out Big Data analysis in financial organisations. The technology can help banks to generate analytical reports, gain insights and create recommendations for the clients. Using Melinda and Big Data’s combination enables banks better to understand their customers, individual needs, and preferences. The knowledge that banks extract from data silos helps them know better customers’ needs and improve the quality of products and services offering. This is the reason the banks should think about how to use all information available in their information systems and how to upgrade with cognitive capabilities in order to obtain a 360 view of their customers.
360 view and its importance for financial organizations
Customer profiling and banks’ ability to obtain a 360 view enable them to create a personalized offering based on customer personal track record, product life cycle, and customer life stages. This functionality is still scarce in the banking sector in most countries. For example, an individual needs a consumer loan or wants to buy something on leasing. Then comes the mortgage loan; over the years, customers consider investment products, private pension insurance, life insurance, change of home. It is not rare for the customer to be also a business user in the same bank, and then there are other possibilities - company lending, investment loans, etc. So, financial advisors can expand their proposals in many directions. The 360 view helps the employees obtain information about customers spending, their aggregated funds, even more, to get predictive models regarding the future consumption of products and services. Financial institutions already store these data, but they exist in different silos, and artificial intelligence technologies allow us to link them and obtain comprehensive information about the customer.
If your financial organization is actively working on its digital transformation, Sirma can help to speed up the process and reduce the implementation costs because we have the know-how, technologies and proven solutions. Here are the results we have achieved in one of our last big-scale projects we are still carrying out (the case study will be revealed after the implementation of the final project stage):
✔ We designed and developed a powerful AI-driven virtual assistant, which helps a big Bulgarian retail bank get answers to their customer’s questions in a blink of eye time, identify potential new customers and opportunities, and transform how it works with them.
✔ We effectively collaborated with the bank team, working remotely and independently (the COVID pandemic didn’t allow person-to-person meetings).
✔ Both organizations fulfilled (beyond the goal at hand) a proof of concept for other banks and technology companies. The traditional on-site banking systems delivery is not necessary to be performed with all teams’ physical at-the-bank presence – from the bank and the technology vendor sides.
✔ Independent research confirmed that the customers welcome conversational communication with the chatbot
✔ The bank has not only revolutionized its interactions with customers but has also opened up new opportunities for sales.