Fintech is a blanket term that applies to financial technology. It is used to describe payment and banking apps as well as AI and machine-learning apps that analyze transactional data. It also covers cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Thought leaders from the University of Essex and data specialists Hood Group recently gathered with industry leaders to talk about cyber security and artificial intelligence. As they discussed technology’s impact on the future of business, the dominant word of the day was unquestionably chatbot.
Chatbot computer programs automate fintech apps, typically by chatting with users in real-time in the form of a conversation. They are built using AI and sophisticated natural language processing. The chatbots of today are able to provide a much deeper level of interaction, which is one of the reasons they are gaining popularity.
Although the technology is still in its infancy, chatbots are already being used as customer care representatives, virtual assistants, salespeople and marketing executives. Chatbot platforms are already widely available for businesses looking to enhance user experiences and profit margins, and companies like Drift now claim the ability to “clone your best salesperson” using chatbot technology. By 2020, it’s predicted that all call centers will be using chatbots to answer some of their customer queries, and Henrik Nordmark, Head of Data Science at Profusion, has predicted that by 2020, over 85% of interactions from financial institutions will be via chat.
Advanced chatbots have the ability to personalize user responses, understand complex requests, and improve human interactions as they themselves “learn”. Consumers Advocate recently published the 10 best chatbot providers of 2018, and the best ones had several things in common: the ability to access and engage users on any channel in any location, the ability to give more personalized responses based on data using high-quality back-end sources, providing seamlessly integrated AI conversations using natural-language processing, and quickly connecting users to a live human right away, if need be.
While chatbots primarily communicate through text, they can also use images, audios, and videos. This is great for businesses who want to demonstrate their products and services. For small businesses that don’t have a large audience, chatbots can help save money by doing scheduling, document management and hiring.
Someday chatbots will even be able to show empathy. A puppy chatbot, along with a kitten and some manlike forms are part of Intuit’s Empathetic Virtual Assistant experiment. The goal of the experiment is to find out whether emotional speech analysis and natural language understanding can create a deeper emotional connection with customers. They feel that future chatbots will need to evolve beyond text-to-speech, meaning they will also need to determine whether a sentence is sad or happy.