Banks are Overwhelmed and Chatbots are the Cure

April 6, 2020

Banks are Overwhelmed and Chatbots are the Cure

There once was a time where droves of people filled the bank lines on payday Fridays.  Now, those same buildings are eerily empty, collecting dust in a still silence.  No one visits the bank anymore.  At least not the buildings where you can talk to real life people.

Instead, banks are urging their customers to go digital. For many customers, this is the first time they’ve managed their banking services online.  And for some banks, this is the first time they’ve had to develop a digital space to connect with their customers.

Crisis’s like COVID-19 where social distancing is mandated by the government forces banks and customers to adapt their way of doing business.  To help understand the current pandemic let’s take a look at some of the symptom’s banks are identifying with their customers and how they might cure them with one powerful solution.

Be A Social Advocate in a Digital World

Retail banking is the most common activity most banks deal with on a day-to-day basis.  Whether it be checking and savings accounts, credit card transactions, or mortgaging residential and investment properties, retail customers are at the heart of your earnings.

In light of recent events, your retail customers are scared.  Scared they won’t have access to their funds they entrusted with your financial institution.  Scared that your bank may become unstable and lose all their hard-earned money.

This plague of uncertainty is costing banks to lose valuable customers, withdrawing their funds and leaving them dry.  To combat this terrible sickness, banks are looking for ways to communicate trust that they still stand strong despite the crisis.

Some of the steps banks are making to maintain confidence include guidance and support on:

  • Interest free credit cards
  • Deferments on loans
  • Scam advice about potential predators
  • Safety tips for COVID-19
  • Assisting communities with things like housing security and food shortages

These acts of goodwill are helpful, but the traditional way of communicating them at a physical location has been abolished, except in the rare safe space.  Instead, everyone is adopting a digital space for connection.  How might banks connect with their customers online?

Chat with Bots

Chatbots are changing the world for the better.  Like the name implies, chatbots are software robots that chat with your customers through text or voice conversation. Many banks use them over the phone and on their websites as an additional channel for communication.

To better illustrate how chatbots work, imagine the following scenario:

Jane, a housewife, manages her family’s finances.  Recently she’s been concerned with the transition from a physical location to using the online tools her banks offers.  Things like BillPay, Overdraft Protection, and finding her routing & account numbers.

Instead of navigating through the rabbit hole of pages the bank has made in its site architecture, Jane prefers to just have a conversation and get her questions directly answered in one place.  She engages with a chatbot who uses artificial intelligence to understand and respond to each of Jane’s requests.

Customers like Jane are looking for real-time responses to their inquiries that aren’t cluttered behind a mess of big data.  Chatbots are curing the lack of a physical space for customer service with an intuitive, user-friendly approach on the digital internet.

Let’s consider the other side of the coin for a moment.  Your customer service representative employees.  Most banks are short staffed to begin with and the customer demand often outweighs the employee supply to service them.  Unsatisfied customers not getting quick responses are apt to share negative feedback affecting your bank reputation.  This is bad!

47 percent of consumers have made the choice to switch to a different brand due to bad customer service within a year. – Microsoft

But even if you did have enough employees to manage customer requests, many of those requests are the same ones over and over.  So, your employees end up giving the same canned answers over and over.  Just think, how many times has a customer asked what the bank hours or location are for a particular branch.

Onboarding chatbots in your bank is not only about improving the customer experience. Its empowering your employees to service only the toughest requests by freeing up their time.  Chatbots are curing retail banking communication problems with their empathetic conversations for your customers.

Respond to Business Needs

Commercial banking is presenting its own challenge with many of the same symptoms of communication retail customers have.  As more SMBs struggle to stay afloat, they are relying on their governments and banks to finance day-to-day operations.

Take Paul, CEO for a design firm.  He has employees on payroll, clients to service, and overhead bills to maintain.  With more expenses than income, Paul has quickly found himself in the red looking desperately for a way to keep things intact.

As of Jan 2020, the US government has issued the CARES Act to help businesses recover in this time of need.  Business issues are banking issues. Right now, business owners like Paul are coming to your bank to request loans as part of the Payment Protection Program.  Are you prepared?

Like before, communicating your bank capabilities to assist SMBs is paramount in instilling trust, so leveraging a chatbot to answer their questions is a key strategy. The good news: most corporate banking has already crossed the chasm into the digital domain, so adoption is fairly widespread.

Your challenge now for SMBs is to address their questions by gathering a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).  This list might include the following:

  • “Does your bank participate in the payroll protection program?”
  • “When will my loan be available to use?”
  • “What’s the difference between a loan and a grant?”

Time is Slipping Away

Knowing opportunity when it comes knocking on your door is one thing, but what are you going to do now that the chatbot cure has been introduced to your customer service problem?  Now is the time to act!

Chatbots are easy to make with the right platform and training. vChat is an example of one platform where banks can assign a single bot trainer to create several chatbots addressing the different customers they communicate with daily.

Did I mention that these chatbots are available to interact with your customers 24/7?

As a demonstration, let’s say Bank “Schell’s Margo” is looking to help their customers out today.  here’s a free trial chatbot available for implementation already populated with all the COVID-19 FAQs (accurate with CDC guidelines).  The customer service team simply creates an account on the vChat platform and imports all the FAQs directly into the user-friendly dashboard.

From there, the customer service team can hand off a simple code snippet to their website team for easy implementation. And there you have it, a chatbot ready to answer bank related questions at any time of the day.

Eradicate The Customer Pain

Chatbot technology is a powerful cure to treat the ongoing symptoms for customer service teams in the banking industry.  Now has there never been a better time to embrace the digital world for your financial operations.  Chatbots are intuitive, user-friendly and operate just like any text conversation.  Your customers will love you by remaining loyal to the brand and praising the reputation of the company for standing strong in this time of crisis.

Regulators are cracking down with things like the Stress Capital Buffer (SCB) to ensure banks can serve their customers with full transparency. If you are looking for a confident technology partner to stand beside you, Eleviant Tech is committed to banking success.

Learn how chatbots are helping navigate the customer service aspects of banking in our on-demand webinar – Banks are Overwhelmed and Chatbots are the Cure.

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