Does the Future of Indian Banking Lie in Chatbots? The next big thing in customer service in banking is the use of artificial intelligence to create chatbots for easy user experience

By Sanchita Dash

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The Indian banking industry has evolved ,gone are the days when one used to stand in the queue for hours (after taking a half day leave at work) to get their bank work done. Today, all of it is done through a tap on their phone, thanks to technology!

Technology implementation in banking has helped Indian banks cross many barriers, reach out to more people and all of this, while saving time. Customer service has occupied a major part of the technology overhaul. Banks are looking at various ways to make it easy for the customers to reach out to them, often even while sitting at home.

The next big thing in customer service in banking is the use of artificial intelligence to create chatbots for easy user experience. Entrepreneur India takes a look at how chatbots are taking over the banking industry.

Chatbots in Indian Banks

Chatbots have already begun to make their mark in the Indian banking industry. Kotak Mahindra Bank (Kotak) recently launched Keya - India's first AI-powered voicebot in the banking sector. Integrated with Kotak's phone-banking helpline, it will augment the traditional interactive voice response (IVR) system.

Talking about the product, Puneet Kapoor, Senior Executive Vice President, Kotak Mahindra Bank released a statement, "Voice commands forms a significant share of search online. In addition, the nature of the call is changing with customers using voice as an escalation channel. Keya is an intelligent voicebot developed keeping in mind the customers' changing preference for voice over text. It is built on a technology that understands a customer's query and steers the conversation to provide a quick and relevant response."

The chatbot combines the benefits of virtual and human assistance and provides a differentiated customer experience. Kapoor believes that this technology will also enable them to derive real customer insights and thereby, identify new automation opportunities.

Meanwhile, Akhil Handa, Head of Fintech Initiatives at Bank of Baroda, believes that chatbots are an important addition to the family of robotic process automation tools which provides value for the firm. "At Bank of Baroda, we have deployed a chatbot to handle customer queries related to products. This leads to greater customer satisfaction, quick response and much lower cost. However in terms of technical capabilities, chatbots are still a WIP and will keep improving," he said.

Conversational Banking Will Transform Consumer Experience

Over the years, we have seen the rise of the banking industry. Prasanna Lohar, Innovation Head, DCB Bank, takes us through the journey of technological innovation in banking. Lohar mentions internet banking as one of the first steps towards changing consumer behaviour the way it is today. "The way we look at chatbots in banking today as a revolution, internet banking was the same years ago," he said.

Next came mobile or smartphones, which again contributed to the growth of banking. Further, the growth of prepaid wallet companies gave a boost to the mobile ecosystem or mobile commerce, he said. "It changed the experience of carrying out transactions," he said.

The rise of UPI has again brought in a momentum in mobile payments. Payment operators aren't just doing payments, they are adding services like bill payments, ticketing etc. which are non-banking transactions, said Lohar.

Lohar explained that apps will take over the front offices will be taken over by apps, while the backend will be enabled by data analytics and blockchain.

Talking about bots, Lohar said that they will transform consumer experience. "There will be three kinds of bots primarily, a text-based bot, speech chatbot and video chatbot. Every bank will now create a conversational app, where even voice can be used for authentication. Chatbots and conversational banking are definitely the way forward. They will make banking easy and frictionless leading to the rise of open banking," he said.

Sanchita Dash

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform). 

Stories, movies and PJs are my thing. 

If you hear 'The Office' opening score randomly, don't worry it's just my phone ringing. 


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