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BFSI Turning To AI, Moving From SMS To Omnichannel Chatbots AI is transforming every aspect of our lives and it's quite prominent in the banking industry. Today, with the help of omnichannel chatbots, customers enjoy seamless and personalized service across every touchpoint

By Gaurav Singh

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Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is increasingly picking up and becoming an integral part of our world. Various industries are adopting it to remain relevant in their fields and create value at scale. The BFSI (banking, financial services, insurance) sector is no exception.

History has witnessed that banks have assimilated the latest technology to refine the way customers interact with them. Be it ATMs and credit cards or banking on the go; this sector has seen broad adoption of technology over the years. COVID-19 has further accelerated digital adoption. To compete successfully and thrive in a digital-first world, banks and other financial services are embracing AI technologies to provide value and distinct customer experiences.

Customer expectations have evolved, as well. They want their banks to be present in all aspects of their journey, understand their context correctly and have a frictionless experience, anytime anywhere. Gone are the days when banks would send SMS for updates and promotions. In the 90s, the only option a business had to reach customers on their cell phones was SMS. With the rise of smartphones and smart devices, financial services have moved to multi-channel interactions. But today's customers expect more.

Customers want an omnichannel experience that allows them to have seamless, personalized service across every touchpoint. Unlike a multi-channel infrastructure, where each channel is managed separately, an omnichannel experience provides cohesity and continuity.

BFSI industries are turning to AI to bridge the gap between the offline and online channels in order to provide a top-notch omnichannel experience that exceeds customer expectations. As the world becomes ever more digital, capitalizing on the omnichannel opportunity could be the difference between businesses that thrive and those that can no longer compete.

According to a Mckinsey survey of banks in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, approximately 60 per cent of active banking customers use digital channels and 80 per cent of all customer touchpoints occur on digital channels. Therefore, an increasing number of banks are developing digital systems to become ubiquitous in customer's lives.

Through an intuitive omnichannel experience, banks can reimagine the way they engage with the customers. This experience will allow customers to move across multiple platforms (Web, mobile, branch, smart devices) seamlessly and retain continuity by updating the latest context of interaction.

One way to achieve this is through conversational banking. Customer automation platforms build chatbots where BFSI businesses' customers can check account balance, transfer funds, open a new account, and manage finances on any platform of their choice. Each touchpoint is captured, synced with the institution's internal systems and updated across channels in real-time. This provides an uninterrupted banking service that has emerged as the need of the hour.

The customers can begin their interaction with the bank on their website or a landing page and then transit to a WhatsApp/Facebook chat or mobile banking app. This seamless and frictionless customer journey that maintains the continuity of the conversation, interaction and transaction, is what makes omnichannel chatbots special.

To ensure an exceptional experience, banks need to maintain a complete and up-to-date repository of every customer. Anytime a customer interacts with a bank, regardless of the channel, the agent needs to see the entire history the bank has had with this customer. This provides context and a smooth experience that keeps the customer coming back. Banks and conversational chatbot platforms use AI to carry this through.

Using deep learning techniques, the customer's intent is captured across channels to build a rich database. The captured intent can be structured or unstructured (such as video, audio, etc.) Advanced machine learning (ML) and natural language understanding (NLU) models are deployed to convert this into structured and accurate data. This data is analyzed and actionable insights are derived that help banks to keep solutions ready even before the customers need them.

By using a conversational, omnichannel chatbot, banks and financial services can provide customers with the experience they want. For banks, the omnichannel chatbot also helps achieve higher profits through automation, at-scale personalization, unique experiences, and shorter sales cycles. We have seen BFSI companies achieve three times more customer conversations and 40 per cent more sales productivity. With the vast troves of data available to banks and chatbot platforms, they can harness the power of AI to improve customer experience and relationships.

Gaurav Singh

Founder & CEO,

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