Chatbots: A Pronounced Way for Customer Engagement But Comes with Gender Biases and Ageism
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Remember the days when customers used to spend hours to get in touch with customer care executives to resolve issues they faced in their transactions? Even getting an answer for the simplest query was painstaking, compelling existing and potential customers to visit the brick and mortar offices.
But times are changing. The world of banking, finance and investments are in whirlwinds of technological adoptions and chatbots are one of those technologies. Chatbots’ tech-enabled assistance are simplifying issues and enhancing customer engagement. Giving a human-like customer experience is the most basic purpose that these chatbots serve. These have eased customers interaction with the companies through text and audio interactions.
Tailoring chatbots involve bringing together Artificial Intelligence (AI), Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and Machine Learning.
Chatbots are quite handy for both businesses and customers – each benefitting in different ways. While customers are getting assisted with quick automated responses, businesses are not only able to enhance customer experience by assisting their customers, but also are able to cut down on human errors and costs of hiring their customer care executives. Pertaining to its fast customer support, these chatbots can reach out to a larger number of customers and resolve their grievances.
The gender biases towards these bots keep raising eyebrows. Either these bots are given a feminine identity or some entertaining gender neutral names. A couple of factors are associated with this.
Reports have stated that users have shown more inclination towards women chatbots more than men chatbots for interaction. Politeness, caring, intelligent, humorous are the characteristics that users of these chatbots are said to be looking for and women are stereotypically more in sync with all these characteristics than men. On top of that, these chatbots are designed to answer simple questions and pertaining to the uncomplicated tasks that these chat assistants perform, people question about the gender biases even more.
There is another questionable side to these chatbots, which is ageism. The chatbots are always designed as young individuals. Be it a visual assistant or a voice assistant, young characters are always positioned for this role.
Here are some of the Indian banks, finance and insurance companies that have eased the users:
State Bank of India (SBI) – The year 2017 saw SBI embracing the Artificial Intelligence (AI) based chatbot SBI Intelligent Assistant or SIA.
Developed by Mumbai based Allincall in hands of the startup cell of IIT Bombay, the AI-powered chatbot has been designed to provide general information related to banking.
As per available reports, SIA answers queries of the website visitors banking services such as home loans, education loans, car loans, personal loans, recurring deposits and term deposits.
Using audio and text, the chatbot will guide the customer, and take him/her along to the most useful sections of the website.
HDFC Bank – Eva is an in-house built AI-based chatbot. Like every other banking chatbots, Eva, which is India's first and largest Artificial Intelligence powered banking chatbot also caters similar services like any other banking chatbots.
Axis Aha from Axis Bank – A conversational banking assistant, Axis Aha assists users with transferring funds, ordering a cheque book, clearing credit card, bill payments, recharging your mobile phones, extending credit card limits, switching off debit card temporarily, blocking your credit, debit and/or forex card, etc.
Like SBI, HDFC, Axis Bank other Indian banks from both public and private sectors have also introduced chatbots. Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Keya, Yes Bank’s Yes mPower, and several others.
Muthoot Finance had introduced its AI-based chatbot Muthoot Advanced Technology Transformation Unit (MATTU) and Muthoot Intelligent Technology Transformation Utility (MITTU), in short MATTU & MITTU.
The platform offers 24/7 customer support and responds to its customer's queries.
Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance
DISHA 2.0 – That’s the name of the chatbot of this insurance brand. DISHA responds instantly to all enquiries related to policy details, fund value, tax certificate etc. without any human intervention.
The private general insurance company introduced its chatbot BOING last year with Google Assistant. Like other assistants, BOING enhances customer experience by helping them with instant query resolution invoice format.
One of the rarest companies to introduce a male chatbot in India is PNB Metlife. It is known as Dr Jeevan, which is a 24x7 available AI-powered interactive chatbot designed for Facebook Messenger platform.
The chatbot helps in gaining health insights and educates them on Cancer and Heart, with the help of interactive videos.