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News : Chat Your Way Through Banking
Chennai, India, Aug 10, 2016 -- Ever wanted a quick quote on how much more you'd have to pay, if you foreclose your loan? Or say you wanted to increase the spending limit on your credit card? Now, you can do all this while chatting with bots at the bank's ends, with banks embracing chat-bots to drive better experience.
Options of calling your bank's call centre or visiting the nearest branch always exists as conversational banking is expected to bring in a much better end user experience. At the bank-end, chat-bots are expected to reduce costs long-term, as artificial intelligence (AI) helps them create a wider database on customer needs. Many banks charge their customers for branch visits as they expect customers to migrate to netbanking with increased automation. With lenders discouraging customers from visiting their branches, they have been ramping up other means of communication for the bank like phone-banking and chat-bots. But since phonebanking requires the entry of a long string of numbers from your account number to your date of birth, customers are finding the hassle-free world of chat-bots easier to navigate.
"We want to create real conversations with our chat-bots. A lot of data has been fed into the systems initially. But the best thing about AI is that it will start picking up things on its own. So the more users on the platform, the better we will be able to answer questions and sift through data. For now our chat-bots are offline. That is they are not connected to your bank account. But we are looking at connecting the bot to your account - so that any queries specificially related to you can be answered; instead of just generic ones," says Deepak Sharma, chief digital officer, Kotak Mahindra Bank.
Axis Bank's Thought Factory is another fertile ground for the pilot testing of its chat-bot initiative. "We are looking at chat-bots as the more real-world experience of FAQs that banks usually put out. Customers have multiple queries on a wide range of subjects. Now a bank's teleoperator might be able to answer a range of questions pertaining to the account or transactions, but might not be able to give more in-depth perspective on myriad topics. We also want our customers to have a connect with us through friendly, easy chats with an almost-human interface," says Rajiv Anand, executive director & head retail banking, Axis Bank.
Chat-bots have become an integral part of the shift towards customer experience-led services. "The current move is not to wait till the customer raises a query, rather respond based on their waiting time in the web page or their struggle in getting through the IVR or any other. If they are online, the chatbot will pick up and set up a chat with the context of its prompting," says a representative from Maveric Systems, which is working with one global major and an Indian bank on chatbots.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, August 11, 2016