With an aim to enhance customer experience and bring more efficiency to the work, financial sector plans to implement Chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI). Banks have strictly maintained that the use of ‘computer programs to communicate with human users’ will not snatch away the jobs from those currently employed in the banking sector.
Whereas Experts have repeatedly said that the use of artificial intelligence would result in job losses in various sectors; however, banks have argued that the use of technology is to complement the efforts of their staff.
AI Projects in the pipeline for Banks
Currently, the State Bank of India (SBI) is working with IBM to implement Watson – it is computer software which will assist the staff and employees in answering the customer queries. The bank is also looking at AI-led solutions for the standard requests that are currently handled by ‘human’ customer care executives.
The “Banking on the Future: Vision 2020” report by Deloitte had pointed out that, “HDFC Bank has identified five startups whose services it plans to offer to its customers, in its bid to further boost its digital banking operations. One of the AI startups, based in Bengaluru, addresses customers’ queries and resolves issues using an artificial intelligence platform, across mobiles and websites, in English.” Now HDFC has circled on NIKI- artificial intelligence chat bot. HDFC has plans to bring in interactive banking software with the help of NIKI. Similarly, Yes Bank launched AI-led conversing software with the assistance of Payjo. The bank is working on speed recognition application and has also launched an application based on Chatbot, Yes Tag, to engage with customers on five chat platform, namely, Messenger, Skype, Twitter, WeChat and Telegram. Through Yes Tag, customers will be able to seamlessly chat with bank representatives.
What Industry speaks on this new technology transformation
Nitin Chugh, Digital Banking Head at HDFC Bank, said that the website chatbot has already had one lakh conversations in a week, with the bot running 700-750 conversations at the same time. Chugh, however, points out that bots will not replace customer executives instead they will complement their existing strengths and skills and will ultimately, deliver a richer banking experience to the customers. He added, “In any case the routine queries are moving to the self-service mode. Most of the calls now pertain to when the caller is worried about a transaction and wants to speak to a human.”
According to B Madhivanan, Chief Technology and Digital Officer at ICICI Bank, ICICI Bank has already seen success in using chatbots in India for the purpose of answering queries related to remittance. He further said, “In remittances using Swift we have noticed that customers are always concerned on whether the money has reached the beneficiaries banks account. The queries are standard.”
Madhivanan said that ICICI is still at the first stage when it comes to maturity. The next level that he sees would be equivalent to the sophisticated software such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. Ritesh Pai, Chief Digital Officer at YES BANK, is of the view that artificial intelligence will bring a high degree of standardization in answers to the customer queries and the recruitment capacity of the call centers may peter out gradually as more and more bots will be answering standards queries.
According to Deloitte’s “Banking on the Future: Vision 2020” report, “ICICI Bank created “Technology and Digital Group” (TDG) that it hopes will help it develop its digital services in commercial, retail and wholesale banking. It is already planning to deploy artificial intelligence chatbots as loan advisors to its customers.”
Changing trends: Artificial Intelligence and Insurance companies
Insurance companies are also catching up with the technological revolution in the banking sector. Recently, HDFC Life launched its first ever life insurance chatbot in partnership with Haptik. It is a chatbot platform that takes 60 seconds to answer the user’s queries with best suited plans. Birla Sun Life Insurance came up with an efficient chatbots which is supposedly quicker than all other customer touch points. It engages in a ‘normal’ conversation with the customer or user and provides them instant details, registers a claim seamlessly and can generate a quote within a few seconds. Even it explains the coverage details in a smooth manner.
Dr. Jeevan is an AI-powered platform used by PNB Metlife. NBFC launched Asha which deals with customers of loan acquisition and fulfillment.
The cause of worry for Job Market
Despite of what the banking sector says, artificial intelligence, regardless of the industry type, will lead to a staggering loss of jobs or reduce the capacity of creating new jobs; even many job roles would go under gigantic transformations. Even the US won’t remain unaffected. The White House said in a December 2016 report that, “The growing popularity of artificial intelligence technology will likely lead to millions of lost jobs, especially among less-educated workers, and could exacerbate the economic divide between socioeconomic classes in the United States.” Even Bank of Canada has warned the same to its country people.