Engageware today released its Labs report highlighting Conversational Banking “Micro-Trends,” the detailed, low-level data driving the newest wave in digital banking. The report shows what credit unions and banks are experiencing as they deploy virtual assistants to build out their conversational banking strategy. This is not a survey of what people claim to do. This is real-time data showing real usage from financial institutions with virtual assistants in production. The October 2020 monthly report is based on usage covering 200+ financial institutions and 11.9 million end user sessions across the service spectrum from sales through transaction processing. 

This report highlights general trends in conversational banking with particular interest on the personal nature of virtual assistants. 

  • 80% Reduced Usage Sundays.  Virtual assistants get Sundays off. Sunday sees the lowest usage of the week and Monday sees the highest – rising more than 90%, every Monday. Saturdays are not much better, where usage is just slightly ahead of Sunday. Clearly people stop asking questions on weekends. This is contrary to Digital Banking usage trends where weekend usage remains strong compared to mid-week. 
  • Top 3 Questions – Routing, Rates and Transfers.  People are looking for help with Routing Number and Rates, those are the top questions asked to virtual assistants; respectively. Zelle and P2P transfers round out the top three questions. Way to go banks for pushing your new P2P solution. Venmo is way down the list…apparently, a few people still think credit unions (CUs) and banks can do Venmo. 
  • #1 Utterance – Say Hello. Virtual Assistants are personal. The first thing people say when interacting with a virtual assistant is “hello.”  “Hello,” or “Hi,” are the most used phrase when beginning a conversation with a bot. Yes, people personalize these darn things…. People treat the assistant as an actual entity and take the time to say, “hello” before asking a question. And they do so politely. The 9th most used phrase is “Thank You.” J 
  • 27% Sales Focus – Sales Are King. Sales queries lead the pack, right behind our favorite question about routing number. Sales inquiries account for 27% of the top 10 questions asked to a virtual assistant on bank and CU digital channels. Rates top the types of questions as well as info about checking accounts and auto loans. Clearly a virtual assistant needs to be an effective sales resource. Sell, bot, sell. 
  • COVID& Corona Top 20.  In a sign of the times, the terms “COVID” and “Corona” made the top 20 phrase list. These are instances where questions were asked directly about the two terms. There were many other related queries about branch hours, call center availability, etc., all of which spiked during the early days of the pandemic, and these questions still linger as we enter the winter months. Virtual Assistants are helping to manage the crash of calls credit unions and banks are receiving during these COVID-times. 

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