Smartphone held in a man's hand shows icons of information floating above the screen.

Within two years, 80% of financial brands will have natural language virtual  chatbots serving customers according to an Oracle survey of 800 firms. This nearly universal adoption of artificial intelligence chatbots may seem surprising to companies just beginning to explore all of the customer-focused virtual assistant platforms that are now hitting the market. What is driving this rush to launch intelligent technologies for customers?

The proliferation of smartphone-mobile internet, voice-enabled connected devices and the epidemic growth of messaging apps, topping one billion messages per month, is changing the marketplace. Many of these same factors transforming how day to day business is conducted are also helping drive the financial sector to adopt virtual agents as part of their integrated marketing, sales and customer service strategies.

At the heart of this constellation of factors is a paradox, two incongruous customer preferences. First, customers overwhelmingly prefer self-service and non-human interactions. Second, customers still demand personalized offers and customer service.

A few years ago satisfying these two goals would be a daunting task for the majority of corporations. Perhaps the largest challenge is the ability to deliver consistent, effective personalized marketing and service at scale. Research has revealed that only 43% are putting current data they collect to use in creating customer profiles or for predicting their individual client’s sentiments or desires. Fewer still can synthesize insights from multiple data sources.

Intelligent virtual agents have arrived to answer this challenge. Machine learning chatbots can tap into multiple data sources and continue to learn interaction by interaction, provides consistent, tailored marketing and service to customers in real-time.

Virtual agents take many forms but they all have artificial intelligent features such as natural language processing to carry on human-like interactions with customers, and machine learning that allow agents to understand the customer’s frame of reference all giving context to each interaction with the client:

  • account and conversation history
  • demographic and psychographic similarities
  • current events
  • promotions from the firm and competitors

Virtual chatbots make sense for the financial industry. With many customers exclusively using online and automated means to take care of business — buying products, checking balances, receiving alerts, the transition to online, natural conversations is a welcome improvement. Well-defined tasks easily transition to messaging apps with a virtual chatbot or to a voice assistant. These high-frequency transactions are projected to save the financial industry $8 billion per year if moved from live customer service to chatbot agents. Time will tell how much the efficiencies of AI chatbots will save, however, two attributes of chatbots multiply their returns. They can scale up or back depending on demand, and instantly adapt to changing conditions, saving on expensive labor and training expenses.

Cost efficiency and communication preferences are convincing reasons to invest in chatbots for customer service channels, but they become essential when companies use them to differentiate their brands in an increasingly competitive landscape. With fewer human touch points to build rapport with customers, well designed and executed intelligent virtual agents solve the challenge of commodification in the financial industry.

To see how Elafris Virtual Insurance Agents can help your company, speak with us to schedule a free online demo.

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