Why Banking Needs Artificial Intelligence?
Chatbot Tomoko for Toyota Bank & Toyota Leasing
The constant need to implement innovative solutions for bank customers increase exponentially in times of limited mobility. Financial institutions literally outdo each other in the quest to best meet the needs of their customers particularly in terms of customer service, access to services or marketing. Toyota Bank, focusing on innovative and technologically advanced solutions, has reached for AI technologies that support communication with and service to its customers.
Banking AI Challenges
In recent years, new generations of customers have been defined by Internet access. The popularization of
smartphones and tablets, the flourishing of knowledge through social media lead customers to solve problems differently. Paying with a watch, taking a microloan within a few minutes, access to customer service even on Sundays or holidays are examples of the challenges that financial institutions have to face in order to meet the expectations of customers from generation C. This generation, also known as Homo Digitals, must be constantly “connected to the Internet.” (connected). Young consumers desire convenient online services, so banking and mobile payments have become standard. They are not interested in visiting bank branches if they can do everything with a smartphone.
Banks are usually the first testers new technologies, eventually ensuring the greatest possible simplicity and usefulness for their clients. Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have allowed banking organizations to launch chatbot solutions – reducing service costs and opening up to more technologically advanced customers. AI facilitates two-way communication where Virtual Advisors often replace channels such as email or telephone, allowing customers to ask questions using their natural language.
Chatbots in Banking, i.e. Customer Service on the Spot
Chatbots are simply AI algorithm-based conversation interfaces that can conduct intelligent and accessible conversations on behalf of the bank with clients, at a fraction of the cost. These chatbots are perfectly capable of handling simple and repetitive problems so that consultants can take the time to solve complex and complicated issues. Virtual bank assistants increase the positive experience of users: they are available right away without having to wait in line. According to this year’s survey of bank helplines of the ARC Market and Opinion Institute there is often a two minute wait for a phone call to the bank and two days for an e-mail response. Chatbot’s answer is almost immediate.
My name is Tomoko and I am Chatbot at Toyota Bank and Toyota Leasing
Tomoko in Japanese is associated with the meanings 智子 “child of wisdom” or 知子 “knowledge, child”. Tomoko is also Toyota Bank’s Virtual Advisor who usually answers questions about leasing services, accounts, loans and deposits. Toyota Bank decided to implement a comprehensive InteliWISE Hybrid Chat, i.e. a combination of AI-Chatbot and Live Chat service. Thanks to this solution, more complicated questions are immediately forwarded to the consultant along with a record of the previous conversation. Such a solution allows to reduce a single cost of service, and the clients gain time thanks to the continuity of the chat. They do not have to present their problem again.
Possibilities of Bank Chatbots on the Example of Tomoko
The two basic tasks of Chatbot Tomoko are the support of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and support of account services – Tomoko is the center of knowledge about Toyota Bank’s offer.
After clicking on the Chatbot Tomoko widget, you can choose the topic of conversation from among topics related to accounts, cards, deposits, leasing and loans and credits. We can also simply enter the question we are interested in into the window and Tomoko will immediately send us back to the appropriate department – additionally making sure what service we have in mind. Tomoko is also a support in situations where the response time is crucial, e.g. in connection with the loss or theft of a credit card wallet.
Integration of Chat and Chatbot with Hotline
If the user needs to contact direct support, the chatbot will propose such redirection in the conversation window. Switching to chat with a consultant is also possible during the conversation after clicking the “Switch to Live Chat” button. After redirecting the conversation, the consultant has an overview of the entire conversation history of the client with Tomoko. The service is available during consultants’ working hours. After hours there is a redirection to the form and the user can leave a phone number and a contact request.
In this way, Tomoko passes on more complex queries to online consultants. Bank specialists can therefore deal with complex cases, leaving answers to repeated inquiries from their clients to the Virtual Advisor.
Lead Acquisition Support and Other Additional Automation Benefits
Apart from customer service, chatbots are also irreplaceable in two other important processes: lead generation and feedback.
Generating leads which regards interest and inquiries about offers is a challenge in the era of high competitiveness. Chatbots add attractiveness and novelty to the whole process. Embedded on a website or in social media, they often start a conversation in order to find out what the user is interested in (what product or service). Such information can then be forwarded to the sales department for further action and completion.
The second important process is collecting feedback from customers. The Chatbot can ask a customer about their experience through a short survey. This can be refreshing from the traditional form of survey by being more interesting and less time consuming.
Toyota’s Automation of the Service in the Eyes of Toyota
Dominika Cepek, Director of the Business Development and Innovation Department at Toyota Bank Polska S.A tells more about what the use of chatbots looks like within Toyota.
“When implementing chatbot and livechat both on the website and in FB Messenger, we assumed a gradual development of the tool by successive stages, as well as e.g. implementation of Interbot supporting employees or planned full integration with systems. Our main area of focus was to relieve the Contact Center of repeated inquiries, which the bot can handle calmly, as well as availability for customers 24/7. Our activities were preceded by an intensive educational campaign among our employees to benefit from the ’employment’ of the bot. The security of our clients and their data is also crucial for us, so we have secured our clients with customized solutions, especially in the FB Messenger channel.
The support from the bot came very quickly. Already 4 months after launching the tool, during the implementation of the PSD2 project, we were able to handle much more traffic. The chatbot inquiries represent at this point on average 60% of all contacts from the Hotline and Livechat and about 6% of all traffic. Over the months we were able to save up to 2.5 FTE per month and this in the initial phase of the several-stage implementation of the automation project – which has already translated into measurable budget savings.
Another support came just as quickly and took on new meaning. In the second half of March 2020, the pandemic triggered a sudden jump of inquiries – our role was to supply the bot with knowledge as quickly as possible and to deliver it to customers. The bot perfectly supported Contact Center employees in the situation when it was necessary to switch to the ‘home office’ mode.
Further development of the bot gives us the opportunity to redirect more traffic to our Tomoko and gradually replace part of the working hours of the Contact Center. However, this requires developing the knowledge base and endless testing of new ideas. Not without significance is the direction we are analyzing in terms of gaining new business through this channel.” (Dominika Cepek, Director of the Business Development and Innovation Department at Toyota Bank Polska S.A.)
And How Does it Look From the InteliWISE Side?
Marcin Strzałkowski, CEO of InteliWISE, has this to say about the revolution of customer care and AI,
” Banks today have been thrown out of their ‘comfort zone’ all over the world. Money virtualization, new financial services, non-stop access to customer service – even such services provided by banking institutions for individual and business customers will change radically – even within a dozen months.
The reasons for the fundamental changes, in my opinion, can be traced back to 3 elements: the evolution of customer behavior, the use of “breakthrough” AI technologies and regulatory changes. Customers are key here – increasingly accustomed to accessing and managing their resources “here and now”. To manage their money today, especially young, high-yielding customers do not need to look at the outlets, talk to advisors or even visit ATMs. The standard is intuitive access to financial services and information, from many devices and applications, through text (messages, SMS) or, increasingly, voice.
As you can see in the implementation in the Toyota bank, technologies such as Chatboty have come out of the concept stage and are being implemented by the biggest banks in the world.
Supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and knowledge of customers’ previous problems and intentions, they work 100% automatically, collecting data, allowing for learning and improvement. Virtual Assistants are a highly scalable technology, allowing banks to increase margin on products on many” (Marcin Strzałkowski, CEO of InteliWISE.)
The Future of Chatbots in the Banking Sector
Bank leaders who want to stay in the marketplace and succeed in the digital economy have to make fundamental changes in the way they operate. They will have to learn to react to innovation, introduce new services quickly, test new products and learn from the market response. Only by adopting a new digital mindset will banks be able to create value for their customers. This is the added value of Chatbots, Virtual Assistants of Banks.
In customer service from Chatbots there is only one step to Voicebots and Voice Assistants. Virtual Advisors such as Tomoko can be expanded to Voicebots supporting the hotline in being able to provide instant service through all available channels, and then to Home Assistants. This allows access to services and operations through voice commands from your living room couch.
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