The advent and growth of PSD2, Open Banking and the like has seen FS firms – whether long established or disruptive – setting their sights on growth through digital innovation.
There is budget available for such growth. Carter Murray’s research reveals that 88% of FS professionals say their digital marketing budget has increased over the last five years.
European banks are seen as some way behind their counterparts in, for example, North America and APAC. In EY’s 2018 Global Banking Outlook, only 15% of European banks describe themselves as digitally mature or a digital leader – but 68% expect to be by 2020.
There are a number of obstacles in place, not least the cost of removing or replacing the legacy core systems in place.
FS firms with budget will continue to attribute funds to ‘crazy dreamers’ or engineers to think large-scale and industry-wide. But there are other smaller and quicker wins.
Chatbots are one such tool.
They require considerably less coding than standalone banking apps. In addition, they can be run on existing messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger – saving banks and FS firms the cost of developing new channels.
In May 2018, Facebook announced that its bot platform has been used to create 300,000 bots. That’s up from the 100,000 milestone announced 13 months earlier.
Additionally, Deloitte stats show that 67% of industry professionals believe chatbots will outperform mobile apps in the next five years.
The examples are almost endless. There’s Bank of America’s Erica – sending notifications to customers, balance info, credit updates and more. Unlike some, Erica is housed within the overarching app and has expanded to become closer to a virtual assistant.
HSBC (Hong Kong) has Amy – a customer servicing platform for corporate banking, offering instant 24/7 support to customers. The customer feedback mechanism allows Amy to learn and enrich its knowledge to deal with broader queries.
JP Morgan’s chatbot COIN is for internal use, rather than serving the client –allowing employees access to software systems and handling basic IT requests.
In essence, Deloitte’s study states, there are three types of chatbot, the complexity and cost of which increase upwards as follows:
1. Informational. The simplest type. Usually answering FAQs, offering new stories and notifications.
2. Transactional. Typically requires user to be authenticated into their user account.
3. Advisory. Self-learning chatbots. Able to learn based on customer interactions to determine the appropriate next steps.
Back in 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke about the potential for his platform to host client-business interaction through chatbots.
“We think you should just be able to message a business in the same way you message a friend,” he said. “You should get a quick response. And it shouldn’t take your full attention like a phone call would. And you shouldn’t have to install a new app.”
How old fashioned that now sounds. Of course, you should be able to do these things. The only question is, does your audience actually want it?