Complete conversational AI solution keeps eluding financial institutions

As COVID-19 concerns continue to form a barrier between retail bankers and the consumers they serve, something better must be found to supplant chatbots that people only trust to handle everyday financial matters. A blend of video, audio, text, human and artificial intelligence may be the answer.

Conversational artificial intelligence has gotten a lot of buzz lately, and for good reason. As lockdowns closed financial institution branches and pushed banking online, usage of chatbots and virtual agents soared.

Bank of America’s AI financial assistant “Erica,” for example, gained one million users from March through May. A free chatbot available in the BofA app, Erica, uses predictive analytics and natural language to provide account balances, execute transfers, send money over Zelle, and even schedule meetings with financial advisors. The AI bot communicates with customers via voice, text or through tappable prompts that appear on a mobile phone’s screen.

Chatbots like Erica are commonly found in fintech. Their automation standardizes customer service, generates business intelligence and reduces strain on a bank’s resources. However, those benefits come at a price.

Money is an emotional topic. Customers may reach out to banks for any number of exciting or difficult reasons, from buying a home to the loss of a family member. Personal finance is a touchy subject, and handing customers off to a robot can feel, well, impersonal.


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