Customers are demanding better and faster services from every company they do business with. And the finance industry is no exception – when they sign up for a new auto loan, they expect questions to be answered quickly.
Many questions are simple or routine requests, such as queries on the status of their application or when they can expect to receive funding. In other cases, customers may have more complex requests that warrant a more detailed resolution. Providing a swift response to all incoming enquiries can prove difficult without a large customer service department or call centre at your disposal.
Here’s where AI comes in.
Chatbot AI is a booming industry at the moment, with more than 2,000 vendors offering different types of capabilities. If adoption continues to increase while the AI improves, we can expect to see a massive increase in cost savings for businesses: “banks are likely to see savings of between 20 to 25 percent across IT operations, infrastructure, maintenance, and operations costs,” according to an Accenture report cited by Computerworld.
24/7 customer service
Chatbots are an excellent way to handle straightforward customer queries. If your company receives a specific question more than ten times per week, it makes sense to automate the response. That’s where customer service chatbots can help. They are capable of answering routine, rule-based questions around the clock.
Chatbots also provide a convenient method of communication; customers are more likely to ask questions about products if a chatbot query option is available. This provides an early positive interaction with the company, increasing the likelihood of making a sale.
Giving your staff a virtual hand
An immediate benefit of chatbot implementations is staff morale: your staff can work on more varied and interesting tasks, spending less time on common queries with copy-paste answers. By moving simple, routine questions to chatbots, your customer service team can respond to complicated cases faster.
Sales and customer service representatives provide your operations with a deeper knowledge base for resolving complex issues and queries. Chatbots allow your staff to better allocate their time and resources to providing help where it’s most needed.
Streamline your operations
AI-powered chatbots can learn the more they are used, effectively improving over time, learning which responses are the most helpful and providing data and analytics on the most common questions and queries you receive.
Where chatbots are unable to assist a customer, they can signpost relevant information by matching keywords used in the query before handing over to a human operator. While this is a huge benefit in terms of identifying customers who need additional assistance, it also provides staff with the conversational history to learn the context of the query before engaging with the customer.
Chatbots in practice
We’ve examined the key ways in which market leaders in the finance and automotive industries have utilized chatbots to support internal operations and improve their customer service.
1. BMW Financial Services
BMW Financial Services’ approach to chatbots shows that you don’t have to develop the technology in-house. The company has partnered with a startup called CarLabs to bring chatbots online. In BMW’s case, chatbots are used to achieve two goals. First, chatbots help BMW reduce operational expenses for customer service. Specifically, the chatbot is focused on addressing common payment questions like “Did you get my payment?” or “Why has my payment gone up?”
That’s just the beginning for BMW. The company is also planning to use chatbots to boost revenue. For lease retention, the company will use chatbots and AI to better connect with customers and make more appealing offers. For example, if BMW has data that a customer’s household has increased, with new children and other family members, they can use the opportunity to make a targeted offer of a vehicle with more seats.
2. Toyota Financial Services
Unlike other chatbot implementations, Toyota’s move to chatbots is part of a broader technology change. According to Auto Finance News, “Toyota Financial Services is “in the planning stages” of replacing its entire telephony system to allow further integration with other customer service channels, including messaging and chatbots.
3. ALD Automotive
In 2017, ALD Automotive launched an AI chatbot via its Facebook page to make customer service more convenient for customers. Building on this success, the company introduced a chatbot to help customers manage calendar conflicts involved in managing fleets. This technology could also be adapted to asset finance. For example, using chatbots to let customers schedule or reschedule appointments with lenders.
Launched in 2016, the Royal Bank of Scotland has been an early adopter of chatbot technology. Based on IBM technology, the chatbot started by handling 10% of customer service inquiries. According to a recent profile, Luvo can “answer ten simple queries with plans to expand in the future.”
5. JP Morgan
JP Morgan uses an internal chatbot dubbed COIN to improve internal operations. It covers back-office and administrative functions like granting access to systems and distributing data reports. So far, using COIN has saved the company more than 300,000 labour hours.
Chatbots beyond customer service
Swifter customer service is one of the best ways to add to your bottom line with chatbots. However, it’s not the only option; other companies are putting AI and chatbots to good use for a variety of tasks, from 1-800 Flowers, a flower delivery company in the US, using chatbots to take orders, to H&M, a clothing company in the UK, which uses chatbots to engage with customers by offering tailored fashion advice and suggestions.
Although asset finance tends to involve more complex steps and documentation than the above retail examples, they do, however, suggest asset finance companies may also be able to utilize chatbots to fulfil low risk or low complexity loans.
Two ways to get started with chatbots this year
While chatbots are in the early phases of adoption in asset finance, the technology has been proven in many other industries over the last five years; according to IBM, up to 80% of routine customer service questions can be answered by a chatbot, with the additional benefit of being able to reduce customer service costs by 30%. By implementing the technology now, you still have the opportunity to seize the advantage over competitors. To get started, you can choose to go it alone or seek help from an experienced technology partner.
With an in-house solution, you have the advantage of working with people who already know your business. The main problem with this approach is that staff may not have the capacity or experience necessary to take on chatbot technology as well as maintaining your current technology infrastructure.
Alternatively, you could work with us. At White Clarke Group, we know asset finance companies and some of the best ways to configure chatbot technology quickly. If you take the wrong approach with chatbots, you can end up wasting a lot of time automating answers to the wrong kind of questions.
Find out how a chatbot solution could benefit your business – get in touch today.