"Hey Alexa, where's the nearest restaurant?" "What time does it open?" Interest in voice apps is really beginning to take off. They give us the potential to get directions, set alarms and reminders and can even help us control our smart home.
Currently, we're mostly using these devices for simple things; listening to music and asking for basic information, such as the weather forecast. But, increasingly, we're becoming accustomed to using them to buy everything from groceries to clothes. Now, voice services such as Amazon Alexa or Siri are also making banking transactions easier.
Banks will need to adapt to their customer's changing lifestyles, as the future of banking customer experience doesn't involve standing in a branch queue. It's already much more about engaging with consumers in the digital ways they expect.
Creating new ways for banks to engage with customers
Online banking has been, and for many customers still is, a wonderful time-saver. But, for 'always-on' millennial customers, logging into a banking app on their phone is already a norm and they continue to expect more frictionless experiences from their banks. With Voice-Banking they don't have the hassle of keyboards or touchscreens; they simply talk to digital technology as they would to a human.
Suzanne's experience is a good example. She's just returned from a weekend exploring Paris with her sister and remembers she needs to send her some money. "Siri, can you open Mybank and make a transfer to Natalie?" she asks. Siri has a voice recognition feature and Suzanne is registered as the authorized user.
Siri asks Suzanne to unlock her phone with her fingerprint as a part of the authentication and then choose an account she would like to use. Suzanne selects the account and gives Siri a voice order to send €200 from her account to Natalie. To validate the transaction, Suzanne receives a text message and One Time Password (OTP).
Siri makes the transfer, within seconds. Suzanne can also use voice orders to check payment due dates or recent transactions on any of her accounts or credit cards. This type of Voice-Banking is starting to play a key role in Omni-Channel banking, as customers expect to interact with voice assistants at home, at work or in their car.
Expanding the Voice-Banking experience
Voice activation isn't limited to simple transactions. For example, when John checks his account balance with Alexa, he discovers that his bank has sent him a mortgage offer notification. John expresses his interest and that prompts Alexa to ask questions, such as "are you still working for X company?" "Is your current salary X amount?" This way, the bank captures the KYC (Know Your Customer) information right then and there.
Following John's answers, Alexa is able to fetch eligible mortgage amount from the bank's loan origination system along with the relevant interest rate. "We can offer an interest rate of 2.2% per annum on this loan. Are you interested in availing this offer?" Alexa asks. If the answer is yes, Alexa continues and asks: "Would you like me to set up an appointment with one of our advisors to discuss this offer in more detail?" When John confirms he is, Alexa schedules an appointment at the bank branch or arranges for an agent to visit John at home or his office.
Overcoming challenges to a seamless customer journey
Voice banking is conquering the financial services industry, however there are still some concerns particularly around customer trust and acceptance of the value-added benefits of Voice-Banking. With more customers becoming more used to conversing with digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri, the acceptance of this new technology for banking services is expected to increase significantly in the future. It will also completely transform the way they interact with the technology.
Deploying AI and conversational banking technology successfully requires a customer-first approach. An ecosystem of connected voice assistants can enable cross-channel interaction where contextual conversation, using real-time data, flows from one channel to another. Customer insights from all departments of the bank are needed to ensure the conversational experience feels natural, engaging and seamless; there's no room for traditional product segmentation or channel silos.
This is where the rich channel coverage of VeriPark's VeriChannel can help. VeriChannel offers a secure unified platform that allows banks to manage seamless customer journeys across multiple customer touchpoints. The platform ensures customers and employees can access the personalized data they need anytime, anywhere and on any device.
VeriChannel also offers voice banking to the customers who don't have access to devices such as Alexa or Siri. By using the LUIS powered APIs in its applications, VeriChannel eliminates the need of being connected to an additional device.
LUIS, Microsoft's machine learning-based service to build natural language into apps, bots, and IoT devices, helps VeriChannel to be voice-activated even if it's running in a browser on your laptop or hand-held device. It enables the customers to make many transactions such as payments faster by using voice commands only, without a single click.
Voice-Banking is to become a key pillar in frictionless Omni-Channel banking alongside online, mobile and a smaller digitally-enabled branch network. The ultimate goal is to move more interactions to voice, supporting sales and customer care with greater personalization and zero friction. Forward-thinking banks are already thinking about how to integrate Voice-Banking into their customer offer – to foster engagement with real-time insights and create brand differentiation.
Remember, for this new generation of digital customers, tapping screens to find information or make payments will feel as frustrating as remembering PIN numbers or standing in queues.
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