Banking on chat: How AI makes ‘cents’ for finance companies

(Last Updated On: 3 November 2023)

South Africa | The digital customer experience (CX) landscape is continually evolving, with AI playing an ever-growing role in helping businesses, including those in the finance sector, build their relationship with their customers, helping to set them apart from their competition.

Conversational AI is a gamechanger for banks and financial institutions, enabling the complete reimagining of the digital customer experience by driving meaningful business value via increased operational efficiency.

“Early changes in the application environment saw multi-channel communication taking centre stage where customers could interact using channels such as voice, chat, web self-service, email, and the like,” says Brendan van Staaden, who heads up MoData Interactive.

“Recent changes have seen further evolution, moving these channels from rule based, menu option driven applications to fully fledged automated conversational channels.”

The importance of digital self-service and personalised application delivery can’t be over-emphasised, especially as customers become increasingly digitally savvy and demand instant solutions to issues and queries.

“Customers too have evolved with the digital landscape and a one-size-fits-all approach no longer cuts it. Customers want services, solutions and information crafted around their personal preferences and conversational AI (C-Ai) enables this,” says Van Staaden.

This is particularly relevant in the finance sector, where many legacy environments remain far too rigid and inflexible to deliver optimal customer satisfaction.

“By utilising C-Ai banks and financial institutions can address this issue head on helping to retain customers and increase satisfaction.

“Any business unable to keep up with the demand or unable to keep pace with the speed of change in customer propensity will suffer significant customer churn simply due to their preferences shifting to more immediate service options,” says Van Staaden.

Banking on the benefits

Conversational AI combines Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and automatic speech recognition to provide support to customers when they interact with a business on their preferred channel of communication.

“Although artificial intelligence has evolved and automation has been in play for some time already, the game changer is the conversational business applications brought about through the maturation of generative artificial intelligence and the ability to leverage off this to boost the adoption of conversational AI,” says Van Staaden.

“Conversational AI enhances personalisation through the ability to collect customer data specific to their behavioural attributes and enhances personal experiences and preferences.”

The benefits for customers are immense. As well as offering a thoroughly personalised experience based of their previous behaviour and interactions, it ensures quick and efficient resolution of customer issues 24/7/365.

“Through automation of mundane and repetitive tasks, conversational AI will save time in getting to the root cause of the customer issue through direct questions and conversational answering.

This saves the customer time and frustration in getting the issue resolved.” It also can assist in improving fraud detection and mitigation through personalised service and allows opportunities for customers to make better investment decisions because they are served options based specifically on their financial status and situation.

It’s a win-win situation, says Van Staaden, who points out that banks benefit too. “A good customer experience means customers feel like their business matters to you and that they are front and centre of your operations. It builds customer loyalty and boosts word of mouth marketing – they are much more likely to refer a friend if they’ve had a positive experience.”

It also reduces costs for the bank as conversational AI reduces the need for extensive training for human customer care representatives and frees them up to deal with more complex tasks that require a human touch.

Leveraging MoData’s Conversational AI expertise

For more than 30 years MoData’s team of experts has been at the forefront of innovation helping the region’s financial sector navigate the ever-changing digital landscape with their leading-edge solutions.

“Since the early days of bi-directional SMS communication through to the AI driven anti-Fraud applications, MoData has supported some of South Africa’s largest banks in the deployment of artificial intelligence to carry out automated business flows in reconciliations, cash management and anti-fraud, anti-money laundering toolsets,” says Van Staaden.

“Our delivery and early adoption of conversational AI is a clear display of market awareness and critical appreciation of our customer propensity in an evolving digital world.”

MoData has partnered with leading AI-solutions provider Druid AI to offer a Collaborative Conversational AI platform to their clients.

The platform provides a cutting-edge proprietary NLP/NLU engine with over 95% accuracy that interprets user intent and provides real-time contextual information based on behaviour and preferences for a flawless conversational experience. Deployment requires minimal effort, and it can be ready to go in just a few days.

“Our professional services business unit drives practical implementation of the conversational AI applications for our clients by identifying the relevant use-case requirements, then following through with implementation and ongoing support,” says Van Staaden.

Van Staaden emphasises that security and privacy is key given that significant amounts of customer data is collected.

“An in-depth understanding of the ethical implications of AI and the safe deployment of the automation process are key considerations, given that this is such a young and dynamic industry. The privacy of customer data is fundamental to the successful continuity of AI initiatives,” says Van Staaden.

Most importantly, the model complexity and data requirements underpin the success of the campaigns in any AI environment. Training on large data models and ensuring the minimal model complexity will allow the MoData team the flexibility to manage and maintain the application in a professional and meaningful way, in accordance with the requisite service level agreements and KPIs.

Industry innovation is consistently delivering new and exciting solutions to what are becoming increasingly complex business problems that need resolution, and conversational AI is currently at the forefront of driving excellent digital customer experience for banks and financial institutions.

“Finding the right partner to help you get ahead of the curve by delivering better, more efficient and personalised ways of banking is imperative,” says Van Staaden.

“At MoData we pride ourselves on addressing financial sector challenges head on and providing leading edge solutions, and we are already seeing the benefits Conversational AI is bringing to our forward-thinking clients in this sector,” he adds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *