Since Facebook announced support for chatbots in their Messenger app in 2016, the popularity of chatbots has been rising. Until recently, the chatbots which have been most prominent in the market have been pretty simple, able to respond to a small set amount of commands and carry out basic transactions. In fact, this type of chatbot can be pretty much set up in 5 minutes.
The future of chatbot technology is the advent of conversational artificial intelligence (AI). Complex conversational AI is the technology that will drive the revolution of chatbots in a wide range of industries, and with it, completely transform the way that organisations interact and transact with their customers, and the way they think about the customer experience.
So – just what separates conversational AI from your common or garden chatbot?
- Available and ubiquitous across your various platforms – conversational AI should be truly “omnichannel” – the bot should be available and provide a consistent experience across all channels such as your website, messaging apps, SMS, etc. Looking further ahead, bots will ideally be able to support and communicate with customers via virtual assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant. This does however require an extra level of compatibility with the syntax and language of each platform.
- The ability to learn – this a key feature which separates powerful AI from a simple chatbot. Conversational AI should leverage machine learning in order to use previous interactions with both customers and employees to learn about the users as well as grow its own vocabulary and understanding.
- Understanding context – it should be able to understand, interpret and respond to complex sentences and requests. Ideally, it should be able to deal with the natural variances of conversing with humans – spelling mistakes, abbreviations, slang, differing pronunciation (if it’s voice-based) etc.
- Integration – the AI bot should know innately who you and your customer are, through seamless integration and interaction with your back-end system. It should have instant, constant access to previous transactions and interactions in order to make the current one as smooth as possible.
- Secure – AI bots should be able to support sophisticated transactions whilst also handling the appropriate security considerations to protect the user and the organisation. This obviously becomes particularly important when deployed in financial services, where a customer could be trying to complete any level of transaction from checking their balance to purchasing an investment.
Conversational AI in financial services
In a sector like financial services, powerful conversational AI could completely transform the way that the entire industry interacts with its customers. A bot could have the capability of helping to solve complex customer service issues as well cross-selling customers products they are likely to be interested in based on previous activity, such as overdrafts, credit cards or in the wider financial field, supporting and advising on investments. Investment banks globally are already using bot technology combined with big data and big analytics to monitor and analyse the market, spotting patterns the human eye would simply miss, and advising and suggesting investment strategies accordingly.
As mentioned briefly above and in previous posts, conversational AI will help financial services organisations achieve the digital holy grail of omnichannel banking. With a complex and always-learning AI sitting seamlessly across all channels, the customer will receive a consistent experience and that all-important seamless journey. The war of financial services in 2018 and beyond is won and lost in customer service, so significant gains here will put an organisation head and shoulders above their competition. It’s so easy now to switch banks for example, that should the customer get even a whiff of a poor experience, they’ll be looking elsewhere. Using the right technology, banks and other organisations may be able to coax customers out of the arms of their competitors and welcome them with warm, automated and efficient arms.
Talk to us
At Avenir Digital, we are truly passionate about how chatbots and AI technology could transform organisations and how they interact with with their customers, in financial services as well as other industries. If you’d like to find out more about what this technology could do to productivity, efficiency and engagement in your organisation, get in touch.