Conversational Banking: The Future Is Now

By Kevin Flanagan, Marketing Director, Micronotes

 Always on the lookout for interesting articles about engaging with digital banking users, I saw one recently from The Financial Brand that I want to share and comment on.

The article, by Financial Brand co-publisher Jim Marous, is “Digital Banking Success Requires Conversational Engagement.” With a title like that, how could I not read what Jim had to say on a topic so central to what Micronotes delivers to our clients?

Let me jump to the end (spoiler alert?) and quote the article’s last sentence: “Organizations that create excellent conversational banking solutions will enjoy the rewards of the most engaged and loyal consumers available.” Well, I couldn’t agree more with that statement.

Immediately preceding that line is this one: “[O]rganizations that do not provide the latest in simple, smart and contextual engagement will fall behind—not only from a customer satisfaction perspective, but also with regard to revenues since sales and loyalty opportunities will be missed.” Again, this concept is consistent with Micronotes’ assessment of the market and it’s why our clients are able to drive revenue growth and build community by using our artificially intelligent marketing automation solution to engage with their digital banking users.

But while the article made a lot of great points that are consistent with Micronotes’ mission, there is a section titled “The Future of Conversational AI” that I just can’t support. It’s not that I don’t think conversational AI is the future of banking, it’s just that it’s not only the future—it’s the present, too. That’s especially true for the banks and credit unions that successfully use Micronotes.

In a section on smarter interactions, the article says that conversational AI “will begin to support” more complex questions and a broader range of nuances. Well, given the rapidly growing number of financial institutions that rely on Micronotes’ AI platform, “will begin” should really be “already does.”

A section on consistent engagements says “rather than having the frustration of repeating what has happened in the past, the consumer will receive personalized engagement that recognizes the conversation flow of the past.” Why, that sounds a lotlike how Micronotes uses machine learning to constantly learn and adapt based on how digital banking users answer questions.

For example, during a Micronotes conversation during or at the conclusion of a digital banking session, if a product is offered to a customer, and he or she declines to learn more or discuss the offer with bank representatives, the system learns from that response and doesn’t keep asking the same question to that user in future conversations. That’s a simplified version of how machine learning quickly evolves and learns from people’s responses, but the point is that this capability won’t be here in the future. It’s already here.