The disruptive force of finchat

~How chatbots and conversational AI are transforming financial institutions~

The way that consumers handle finances is undergoing a seismic shift. Physical totems of the finance sector – high street branches, paper correspondence, even coins and notes – are declining in usage.

Instead, finance management is increasingly digital. Today’s consumers are accessing and engaging with their finances online – be it through a website, an app, a messaging channel, or a blend of web-based services.

The consumer message is clear: quick, convenient clicks on a screen trump traditional interactions and all the effort they entail.

It is against this backdrop that fintech is soaring. As customers of financial services (FS) demand digital options, FS brands must meet their needs adequately. And this, in part, means digitised customer service, accessible from any portal at any time.

Enter intelligent ‘finchat’ options.

The stats

🏦 Seven out of 10 people in the UK now bank online – ONS

🌐 46% of people exclusively use digital channels for their financial needs – PwC

🏦 By 2023, customers will visit an FS branch only twice a year – CACI

🌐 In 2019, 64% of consumers worldwide have used one or more fintech platforms, up from 33% in 2017 – Ernst & Young

🏦 By 2028, cash will account for just 9% of all UK payments – UK Finance

The live chat explosion

Consumer appetite for chat is something of a communication phenomenon. Over the past decade, chat has risen up from the ranks as a non-traditional customer service channel, to rival and often even outrank telephone and email.

For today’s online customer, accessibility is golden, and convenience is key. Consumers are used to immediacy as they communicate and access information. In an era of availability, anything that consumers are looking for can be found at the touch of a screen or the click of a button.

This real-time revolution has had a profound impact on customer expectations. Namely, customers demand quick, easy support in the channel of their choice. In a move away from the telephone, customers want the option of quick-fire digital interactions that fit into modern lifestyles.

It is live chat that answers the heightened customer service call for instant online connectivity. Today, live chat is not only accepted by customers, but increasingly demanded.

Simply, chat is the quickest, easiest and most efficient way for customers to communicate with businesses in the digital age.

And financial institutions are now taking note of this fact, too.

The stats

⌨ 92% of customers feel satisfied when they use live chat to deal with businesses, more than any other communication option – Zendesk

💬 Chat has become the leading online contact source, with 42% of customers using chat versus email or social media – BETSOL

⌨ All demographics are comfortable with live chat; even one-third of Older Boomers and the Golden Generation use it for customer service – Forrester

💬 93% of consumers feel real-time help is beneficial during the online customer journey – LivePerson

⌨ 87% of consumers list live help among the three most important features of a website – Oracle

Introducing finchat

So, consumers are handling finances online. Meanwhile, consumer demand for chat has never been higher. This makes incorporating real-time web support more an imperative than an elective for today’s FS brands.

The patently opportune nature of chat is especially true in light of recent innovations. Now, chat is a central fintech focus area. Chat technology is currently undergoing major transformative development progress. Indeed, the latest live chat software entering the market is capable of more than ever before possible.

No longer is chat a standalone contact channel. A broad finchat ecosystem is emerging – one that blends bots, messaging platforms, AI, omnichannel conversations, and a mix of open APIs together with conventional live chat channels.

Financial services chat – or finchat – is ever smarter, ever more cost-effective, ever more lucrative. Chat technologists are converging to offer a disruptive new engine for digital conversations.

While chat is valuable, cutting-edge finchat is proving invaluable to the competitive FS brand.

Finchat: Financial services chat. The most advanced of which is steeped in conversational AI and able to integrate into a broader technology ecosystem.

The stats

👨‍💻 In 2017, 5.5 million web chats took place with customers of major banks – UK Finance

👩‍💻 Robo-advisors are expected to manage $2 trillion in assets by 2020 – Bloomberg

👨‍💻 63% of FS customers would be happy to use chatbots to answer everyday queries – Pinsent Masons and Innovate Finance 

👩‍💻 More than half of FS consumers want the option to switch seamlessly between channels – Accenture

👨‍💻 Successful banking-related chatbot interactions will grow 3,150% between 2019 and 2023 –  Juniper Research

A new engine for digital conversations

Finchat, then, represents a faster and more streamlined way for financial services consumers to engage with their providers. Via a powerful live chat solution rich in integrations and API permissions, consumers are beginning to experience true unified communications.

An integrated environment

It is not just technology touchpoints that are merging together. Now, human chat operators and bots are also starting to work in synergy.

It used to be the case that chatbots were left to work independently. This resulted in poor ROI; an unassisted bot deployed in its own web silo can offer only limited answers to limited question sets.

As finchat has advanced, however, chatbots have been brought inside traditional chat channels rather than introduced aside them. So, bots and operators form a slick conversational team. Operators can view bot conversations, and step in and out to assist as needed.

The bot, meanwhile, can handle tedious, repetitive and routine interactions. It can share files and attachments in the same way a human operator can, and is subject to the same rules, hours, skills assignment and reporting. Plus, to speed operator handling times, chatbots can also suggest responses for the human team member to insert.

This AI-fuelled efficiency is universally beneficial. FS consumers get their answers quickly, in a single uninterrupted thread. Operators spend less time on inserting the same FAQ responses time and again. And from a commercial perspective, contact centre costs are slashed with this all-new capacity to serve more customers, in less time, using less human resource.

A modern finchat interaction

🖇️ Session comes through from any integrated touchpoint

👁️ Visible visitor tracking inside the chat client

🏷️ The chat button/invitation changes based on the visitor’s profile

🔀 A bot triages the chat request

ℹ️ Bots can answer FAQ, or transfer to the relevant agent

📂 Agents can chat in any language, exchange files, and switch to call or video

💨 Smart auto-text speeds up agent handling time

🤝 Hybrid bot can tell the agent what to say

🙂 Algorithms analyse chat mood and customer sentiment

🔎 Supervisors can monitor sessions and intervene as needed

📈 Chat session data syncs into your CRM and reporting suite

Chatbot applications in financial services

With bots now being used as part of a more holistic support initiative, financial services consumers are ever more comfortable using them.

We’ve entered an era where chatbots represent a conventional route for customers to interact with financial institutions. Shadowed by humans, and brought within the advanced chat channel functionality fold, chatbots are capable of infiltrating more and more areas with competence.

The stats

🤖 826 million working hours will be saved by chatbots in 2023 alone – Juniper Research

💻 35% of financial services customers would prefer a fast response from a chatbot to waiting for a human – Pinsent Masons and Innovate Finance 

🤖 Banks can automate up to 90% of their customer interaction using chatbots – Juniper Research

💻 64% of financial services customers would like to be given the option to choose between a human adviser and a chatbot – Pinsent Masons and Innovate Finance 

🤖 Successful banking-related chatbot interactions will grow 3,150% between 2019 and 2023 – Juniper Research

Futureproofing via finchat

Finchat is more than just a means for customer contact. For financial institutions, it’s a powerful way to futureproof.

All available research indicates that financial customers have an appetite for innovation. So, it is no longer a question of “if” brands need to transform their legacy communication options. It’s a question of “when”.

With consumer-led pressure for finchat mounting, the time is ripe. Frankly, chat is necessary to stay relevant. Offering service solely via voice, email, and siloed channels no longer cuts it.

Consumers expect the ability to manage their financial affairs by moving seamlessly through whichever channel meets their needs at the given moment. (Without having to repeat themselves or get shunted from team to team.) They expect instant, any-time assistance, and they’re happy to have a chatbot meet that need.

In the world outside of regulated industry, interaction already happens in real-time with short, quick chats. Now, it’s time for the financial sector to adapt to the shift. With the popularity of chat-based apps such as Messenger and WhatsApp, the need for a finance inspired live chat service doesn’t require much explanation.

So, corporate FS leaders must focus on reducing customer communication effort. To compete with fintech disruptors, financial organisation should offer multiple integrated digital channels that span all the benefits of bots, consumer data, analytics and AI. All, that is, with access to human help as and when needed.

And an omnichannel, AI-infused and multi-integrated chat service can meet these customer communication needs consummately.

The stats

📊 88% of legacy banking organisations fear losing revenue to fintech companies – PwC

🗠 60% of financial institutions now view fintechs as potential partners – Capgemini

📊 56% of traditional financial institutions have put disruption at the heart of their strategy – Department for International Trade 

🗠 Among traditional financial organisations, 82% say they plan to increase collaboration with fintech companies in the next three to five years – PwC

📊 64% of financial services CEOs in the UK believe that a focus on emerging technologies is the number one driver that will separate high-performing firms from the rest – Department for International Trade

Finchat as a revenue avenue

Aside from its integral role in retaining revenue, finchat is also instrumental in boosting the bottom line.

Firstly, chat is a highly cost-effective way to communicate. From a contact centre perspective, it’s entirely possible for a trained operator (with conversational assistance tools) to take on six or seven chats at a time. Better still, these chats transpire at a rapid online pace. This leads to enormous cost-savings when compared to the one-at-a-time bottleneck of the telephone, or the long-winded pace of email.

And these cost-savings are even before bots are taken into consideration. Chatbots can effortlessly handle the weight of typical finance queries and tasks. They represent enormous cost-savings, on a scale not seen since the introduction of online finance self-service options. A chatbot can answer ever more questions, at any time of the day, with no wait times and no limits on active conversations. This resource reduction is vast in scale.

Outside the box, finchat also binds service lines together and feeds data into an integrated ecosystem. For financial services corporations, this presents the opportunity to gain deeper customer insights. This, in turn, paves the way for a smarter strategy moving forwards.

So, finchat is a lucrative way to power up efficiency and revenue opportunity. Simply, a cutting-edge chat platform keeps FS brands competitive, cognisant, and lean in a fast-moving financial arena.

The stats

💰 Banking providers using bots can expect average time savings of just over 4 minutes per enquiry, equating to savings of $0.50-$0.70 per interaction – Juniper Research

💵 In total, chatbots will save banks $7.3 billion by 2023 – Juniper Research

💰 Meanwhile, AI will save the insurance industry nearly $1.3 billion by 2023 – Juniper Research

💵 79% of businesses say adding live chat has had a positive impact on customer loyalty, sales, and revenue – Kayoko

💰 Live chat is 17%-30% cheaper than a phone call – Forrester

Partner with an expert taskforce of finchat technologists

WhosOn is the solution of choice for financial services brands who need advanced live chat, AI and bot technology. We specialise in sophisticated omnichannel contact centre chat deployments, with a particular focus on:

📏 Highly regulated environments

🔒 Watertight cybersecurity

🖌️ Bespoke, finely tuned rollouts

The major players in the UK finance sector put their chat projects in our capable hands. Get in touch today to start scoping your own finchat project.

NB: This article is also available as a white paper. You can download it as a PDF below.