In their quest towards superior customer experience, streamlined operations, and lower costs, banks are increasingly looking towards modern tech innovations. Artificial intelligence is one such tech marvel which has the potential to transform the way banks and financial institutions engage with their customers. With the adoption of messaging and social media platforms growing by leaps and bounds, banks and FIs now realize that the crux of their business is built around conversations, and not just around transactions. Thus there seems to be a wave of sorts among leading banks across the globe to launch their own chatbots.

The conversational interface of intelligent chatbots has a variety of advantages – efficient customer service, process excellence, reduced time-to-response, reduced call center cost, etc. Chatbots have a great potential of driving efficiency gains across the financial services industry as Oracle[1] claims that chatbots could save $174 billion across insurance, financial services, sales, and customer service.

An intelligent chatbot can be broadly categorized into three major brackets[2] – Informational, Transactional, and Advisory. In a way, these three brackets can also be considered the stages of a chatbot’s evolution. From customer service to transactions and then to recommendations, banking chatbots are evolving, albeit the evolution is at the elementary stage. For most banks, the hara-kiri to launch their own chatbots looks more as a jump-on-the-bandwagon sort of move – a conscious ploy to stay relevant.

With the growing traction of voice-enabled devices and smart home hubs, select banks and FIs are also looking to augment voice banking capabilities in their chatbots’ arsenal. Bank of America’s voice-enabled digital assistant ‘Erica’ is a good example of an in-house chatbot with a voice capability hosted on the banks’ mobile app/online

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