Chatbots are a hot topic in banking. As the shift towards a digital-first world accelerates, we are quickly approaching the intersection of business value and consumer expectations. Banks and credit unions are seeing the benefits of automation – lowered support costs via robust self-service all while fulfilling the consumer expectation of being able to complete basic tasks and answer questions. This shift is removing the need for costly human interaction for standard queries while also providing a better and faster experience.   

While many banks and credit unions explore support options such as live chat and chatbots, here are 5 reasons why banks and credit unions need to be strongly considering a chatbot solution.

1. Improve the Consumer Experience

Recent data published from Rivel Research Group shows that the number 1 reason that your consumers switch is because they “get the runaround”. They start on your digital channels, can’t find the answers they need, and are forced to call into the contact center. Research from Engageware shows that over half of consumer support inquiries happen on nights and weekends. So your consumers are turning to your digital channels (mobile & online banking and website) and are not finding the answers they need to simple questions. They are forced to call or visit, and for over half of them, that is either the next day or on Monday, when they are back at work and have moved on.

Consumer using a chatbot on their phone while looking at computer

A recent study by CFI Group found that 72% of consumers look to solve issues themselves, and they are starting with your website and mobile banking applications.

Your consumers are demanding the ability to self-serve across your digital channels and chatbots, when done properly, are a great way to provide them the answers they need. 

2. Improve the Employee Experience

Call center representatives (or CSRs) is one of the highest turnover jobs in the United States.  The QATC estimates that industry turnover is between 30 and 45% annually.  They have to deal with emotional consumers, high call volumes and other high stress situations. And recent data from LiveVox indicates that the high volumes in banking will only continue as chats are expected to increase by 61%, email inquiries by 21% and call volumes by 17% in 2020. 

bank employee smiling

While there will always be the need to call or visit a branch, a Bain & Company report shows that as much as “70% of calls calls to present-day bank contact centers are avoidable and better handled by digital channels.”

Imagine the impact on your employee efficiency and happiness if you were able to offload even a percentage of the high-volume calls that are clogging up your call center today? What would your service levels look like and 

what would the employee satisfaction be if your agents were freed up to have the meaningful conversations they desire vs. rushing off the phone to get to the next consumer?

3. Lower Support Costs

Automated support is much cheaper than human support. Bain & Company, in the same report, found that each mobile interaction has a variable cost of $.10 vs $4 for a teller or call-agent interaction.  For every inquiry that you are able to handle digitally vs. human (teller or call-agent) you are able to save almost $4.

Mobile interactions have a cost of $.10 vs. $4 for a teller or call-agent interaction.

What type of usage should you expect? At Engageware, our data shows that for each 25,000 accounts you have, you can expect digital support and chatbots to offload 2,000 inquiries per month. This assumes that you are following the best practices of including support in your mobile & online banking as well as your website and that you are making it as accessible as possible. 

Chatbots provide a great way to provide the first line of support by answering the high-volume inquiries that are driving up your support costs. 

4. Increase Product Engagement

As previously stated, our data shows that for each 25,000 accounts you have, you can expect digital support and chatbots to offload 2,000 inquiries per month. While those might not be all calls that are currently coming into your call center, they are opportunities. Opportunities not just to provide support, but opportunities for deeper product engagement.  In fact, we see that upwards of 25% of those queries are product and services related – what are current rates, how can I apply for a credit card online, online account opening, student loans, how do I sign up for direct deposit. 

customers using computer

Chatbots provide a great tool to engage consumers, drive them through an experience to deliver not just more product engagement, but also higher conversion rates.

5. Gain Valuable Insights

One of the top challenges for businesses, including banks and credit unions, is collecting data on its consumers. While there are endless data points on their spending habits, there are far fewer data points on their journey’s, from becoming a customer to what they are looking for once they are a customer. Chatbots provide invaluable data that give insights into what your consumers are asking, how they are behaving and how you can proactively provide a better experience. 

While there are endless examples, here is one quick one:

Review your top questions via chatbot each month. Remember, for every consumer asking a question, there are others that have similar questions that just aren’t asking. Let’s say that one of the top questions is around debit card activation. That data can be used to provide more training to your frontline staff during onboarding as well as creating a new onboarding campaign aimed at how to activate your debit card – turn a top question into proactive education that improves the experience and reduces friction (and call volumes).

Remember, two of the top three reasons that consumers switch financial institutions is because they are getting the runaround and banks & credit unions are not being proactive. With chatbots, you have access to the data needed to inform your ongoing consumer experience. 

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