Chatbots are being used extensively— be it in Indian Railways or others just for entertainment. These ‘intelligent’ computer programs are pervading every workspace and the one industry that has seen the most number of adoptions in India in the financial sector. Mostly to provide an unparalleled customer experience, these chatbots are proving to a friendly replacement of human counterparts in dealing with customer queries.
Given the ubiquitousness of smartphones coupled with the low-cost Internet, AI in software applications has spread much more than what it was a few years ago. Not to mention serious research in most AI-related fields; all of these have led to the growth of chatbots. In this article, we outline why the presence of chatbots is quite high in the field of finance, and why is it gaining much traction in the industry.
All The Major Companies Are Deploying Chatbots
Large financial corporations such as Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, American Express, HSBC, among others, have already tested and set up chatbots in their services. Almost all of these deployments are seen in either resolving customer queries or notifying them on their financial details. Even though online banking has similar bots, these corporations look into one shining aspect, i.e, ‘personalised experience’. Tapping this has become the epicentre among finance entities when it comes to the purpose of using technology.
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One report by PriceWaterCooper India highlights on this point. It says,
“Forward-looking financial institutions have taken a leap of faith by investing in chatbots to deliver ‘contextual insights’ to the right person at the right time and through the preferred channel. They have begun transitioning to ‘conversational banking’ and are viewing chatbots as new age contact centre executives, minimising turnaround time and costs along the way”
This report also mentions the possibility of integrating various technologies such as facial recognition, virtual reality etc. into bots and see how it could be boosted even more. This is entirely agreeable since sticking to one specific tech domain could oversee newer problems.
In India, there are many banking and financial institutions that have resorted to adopting chatbots in their working. Very recently, Muthoot Group which is an Indian multinational conglomerate adopted an AI bot to be the new customer interface and act as a financial advisor. Its chatbot platform — MATTU & MITTU will act as 24/7 customer support and respond to queries to all its family of products, including gold loan, insurance, money transfer, Forex, Mutual Funds, Home loan.
Why Are Chatbots So Popular?
Chatbots Provide A Better Customer Service And Support Ecosystem
In one of their articles, Haptik.ai – a popular tech company that develops chatbots, gives an idea of how chatbots can correctly fit in customer support services. The advantage lies in handling multiple user queries at a time, which can sometimes be difficult for human support executives. In fact, these chatbots can perform additional tasks apart from just resolving queries. Say, it could display bank statements, loan policies, a 24/7 help desk support etc.
A wonderful example is HDFC Bank’s Eva Chatbot. Eva can also help customers with the latest products/services from the bank. What makes it so popular is the fact that it has support for Indian languages and integration with social media websites. It has resolved more than 2 million queries garnering more than 500,000 unique users.
Haptik.ai’s article also cite other areas that bots could outperform the skill of humans. Incorporating a human-like experience in areas such as conversation has a lasting impact on customers. It keeps the user more engaged to the product/services offered by the financial entity. As evident from the Eva example, instead of a person going to the bank to open a new account, chatbots taking up the task of opening a task will altogether bring in a different experience.
Generally, users who are apprehensive and unaware of finance related queries tend to prefer human interaction over chatbots. But, the way chatbot technology has progressed so far means that this apprehension in people will definitely be allayed.
The Economy Factor
Chatbots are inexpensive compared to their human counterparts. This is because unlike people who require more resources to perform financial services (computers, expertise etc.), chatbots are easy to build and consume less resources (data storage on cloud etc.). For instance, Axis Bank has launched an AI-powered app that has helped the bank reduce their turnaround time without costing very much.
In addition, chatbot deployment can eliminate the need for human experts to go through menial tasks and allow them to go through tasks that only are high priority and which require diligence due to complexity. Axis Bank says that their AI application has helped them focus on credit risk models significantly.
Although technology such as machine learning (NLP, to be specific) make chatbots more ‘intelligent’, sometimes it is hard to justify the overall cost involved. Machine learning itself might end up taking more time and resources for the project.
On the other hand, if we look from a perspective of managing large businesses, chatbots are a feasible solution as they can handle (if well-designed) business transactions quickly and efficiently.
Having said that, governmental financial institutions in India, are yet to see a full-fledged chatbot setup in their system that matches the potential of their western counterparts such as the US. Nonetheless, we are optimistic to witness bots that will predominantly power the best of finance in the coming years.