Are Chatbots the Future of Banking?

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Are Chatbots the Future of Banking?

Well chatbots are everywhere, so why not banking? It remains to be seen how well they would work or whether we humans would feel comfortable talking to a chatbot about our finances.

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Earlier this year I wrote about an interesting new start-up that’s using machine learning to provide a more intuitive interface between customers and their banks.

The platform utilizes machine learning to classify the transactions we make each month, and then provide intelligent insights into the patterns it observes.

For instance, it might tell us how much we’re spending at a particular coffee shop, or whether we might be able to save money on our utility bills.

Automated Banking

It seems part of an interesting trend towards more automated banking.  Chatbots have been a hot topic in the news in recent months, and an Indian startup are using them to fully staff their mobile banking service.

Digibank are using technology developed by New York based Kasisto to ‘man’ the service.  The chatbots have been trained on millions of questions posed by real customers to try and provide automated responses to our queries.

Whilst this may sound rather limited, the team are confident that their system goes beyond the provision of a simple ‘if-then’ type expert system and believe their bots can engage in real conversations with customers.

By moving beyond a rule-based approach, the team believe that their bots are a step above the rivals on the market, with AI used to better understand the nuances of the conversation.

Better Customer Service

This matters, because a recent study by Accenture found that we generally don’t want to talk to a machine when we have a problem with a product or service.  Rather than being any techno-antagonism however, this is largely because such automated solutions suck and send customers round-the-houses looking for an answer to their problem.

“Customers are increasingly craving the right answer to their problem in as quick a time as possible. It doesn’t matter what channel that is delivered via, just so long as the service is top notch, so companies need to ensure that their back-office systems are aligned to provide this,” Rachel Barton, Managing Director at Accenture Strategy told me at the time.

I suspect the jury is very much out on whether these chatbots can provide the high level of service we crave, or whether they’ll be a dangerous fad that only alienates us.

Whilst there have been brief forays into utilizing chatbots in financial services, Digibank are the first to go the whole hog and use them as their sole medium.  Time will tell whether it provides customers with the level of service they demand.

banking, chatbot, natural language understanding

Published at DZone with permission of Adi Gaskell , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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