April 22, 2020

Overcoming the challenges of customer service in banking with chatbots

Illustration showing the challenges of customer service for banks and fintechs and how to solve them with conversational AI

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Customer service quality is the main reason customers like their bank.

That said, this department is also one of the most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Border closures, cancellations, national quarantines, and financial uncertainty are some of the things generating high demand in most industries.

Related article: Coronavirus: How to handle the crisis from customer service

Banks are no exception in this situation. Because face-to-face support is one of their most important points of contact, now banks are dealing with multiple issues to guarantee continuity of operations, provide confidence and stay on top of the situation.

Challenges in banking

So let’s analyze some of the major challenges in customer service faced by banks during the COVID-19 crisis and how they can be overcome.

Face-to-face support isn't an option now

While most banks remain open during the quarantine, one of the main challenges is avoiding crowds at branches.

Getting rid of bureaucratic and unnecessary steps, ensuring service on digital channels and making self-management easier are priorities so that all users can access their information remotely.

To do this, you can utilize automated solutions that serve customers instantly and simplify the banking process.

In Argentina, Banco Comafi was a banking pioneer by relying on this technology to ensure service and provide it remotely during the quarantine, decentralizing branch service. Helped by Sofia, their virtual assistant, customers can clear their PIN code and withdraw money from an ATM without a debit card and without home banking.

This move came about from the high demand from seniors in Argentina needing to withdraw their pensions. Red tape and problems with managing virtual banking led to big crowds at branches, posing a health risk for all retirees, the most endangered group.

With this new tool, Banco Comafi’s customers only need to contact the chatbot, request a code that's sent automatically and instantly, and go to the ATM. This minimizes exposure, is a simple process and protects the health of elderly customers.

Limited digital channels

Providing support on all channels and at any time has come to be a key factor in dealing with the current situation. Customers need their problems solved immediately, regardless of which contact channel they pick.

This need is exacerbated in these times of coronavirus. First, because as already discussed, service has to be decentralized in physical branches. And second, because telephone service has also been affected by the situation.

In many counties, quarantines forced call centers to close, and the ones still open haven’t been able to keep up with the high demand.

In this situation, digital channels are the most accessible contact point. While most banks have strong home banking infrastructure, very few are able to answer inquiries through digital media.

Technology plays a crucial role in providing support to your customers constantly and efficiently. Conversational solutions automatically manage inquiries coming from your website, mobile app and even WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Related article: How do chatbots help in the financial industry?

Banks are relying on chatbots to quickly answer users' most frequent and simplest questions. Chatbots are connected to live chat platforms so any complex requests are transferred to a human agent without changing the channel or making users wait.

Slowness and long wait times

One of the most common challenges banks face is long resolution times. This is true even during normal times, and now high demand is exacerbating it even more.

In most cases, when someone contacts a bank’s customer service, they're put on hold on until a representative is available. And sometimes inquiries must be transferred to another specialized department.

This back and forth causes unnecessary delay, and of course in times of crisis, customers need answers right away.

Once again, technology can speed up the customer service process. A digital banking assistant, or chatbot, can handle the most frequent inquiries automatically and immediately. A study by Juniper Research concluded that in the banking industry, chatbots can reduce each interaction time by 4 minutes.

Inability to provide a personalized experience

Most people see banks as dehumanized entities that don’t care about their customers’ individual problems. While regular customers are often called by name and get personalized service at branches, doing so over mobile or digital banking is a huge deal.

Most online and mobile banking apps are standardized, and it’s like talking to a machine. For a simple question like “Am I eligible for a personal loan?”, instead of a direct answer, you’ll get a complete resource guide to find out yourself.

Empathy and personalization are two fundamental aspects of banking support during this crisis. Any kind of artificial intelligence (AI) or e-learning on your website and mobile apps can help you guarantee them.

It’s not just about knowing someone's name and providing customized guidance. It’s also about knowing their financial history, offering more flexible plans and being responsive to their emergency situation.

Conversational AI

These are some of the major challenges banks are facing with customer service during the COVID-19 crisis. In these circumstances, technology is a great partner for solving many of the issues.

Learn how you can automate outstanding customer experiences using conversational AI.

Are you looking for new ways to improve your CX?

Our customer service solutions powered by conversational AI can help you deliver an efficient, 24/7 experience  to your customers. Get in touch with one of our specialists to further discuss how they can help your business.