Should financial institutions consider upgrading their existing call center system before considering an Intelligent Virtual Assistant?

Srinivas Njay
Srinivas Njay

The answer is ‘No.’

This is because the Intelligent Virtual Assistant(IVA) could be set up even if you don't have a call center system in place. Also, upgrading the existing call center will cause a delay leading to a significant opportunity cost.

Let me explain this in more detail.

Call centers remain the most used customer service channel by banking customers today. Even with the ever-increasing use of self-serve channels, over 60% of the banking customers still prefer using this channel to interact with financial institutions in the United States[1][2][3].

Financial institutions invest significantly in running call centers more efficiently because call centers are the most popular channel of interaction for customers and impact a financial institution’s top-line, bottom-line, customer experience & brand perception.

However, achieving efficiencies in the call centers has traditionally been a challenge. Even marginal efficiency gains for a well-run call center are tough to come by. Today, with the advent of the Artificial Intelligence, Financial Institutions can enable never before seen efficiencies to call center operations.

In the Artificial Intelligence-powered Call Center, interface.ai’s IVA is set up in front of your existing call center, and it instantly responds to all the questions your customers have.

interface.ai’s AI Call Center is set up to transform financial institutions’ call centers, traditionally viewed as cost centers, to function as revenue centers.

The AI Call Center is set up in 4 to 6 weeks to offer 24x7 support to customers, automate 60% of call center calls within 60 days, leading to several millions of dollars in savings and creating new revenue opportunities up-selling and cross-selling during calls. In addition to this, call center metrics such as call wait times & call abandonment rates are brought to zero.

You can learn more about the AI Call Center here.

With the onset of the pandemic and the widespread adoption of remote work & operations, there is an increased demand for cloud-based call center systems. Of course, such a system is necessary; however, when we also consider the limited bandwidth and resources available to financial institutions, should the financial introduce an IVA before upgrading the existing call center system?

In recent months, financial institutions are prioritizing the implementation of the AI-powered call center first. Let us take a look at a few reasons for this trend in the industry.

Feasibility

interface.ai’s AI is set up in front of your existing call center, where it works with the network provider who has provisioned your customer support number. Here, the calls that are hitting the customer support number are automatically handled by AI.

If the AI cannot handle a call, the call is then seamlessly transferred to your existing call center system.

This whole set up is very straightforward where no API integrations are required, and there is no change to your existing call center system.

Impact to CX

Given the pandemic and with customers in extreme financial stress, is it a good idea for financial institutions to go AI? Shouldn’t customers have actual people - representatives of financial institutions to talk to?

interface.ai processes millions of conversations from financial institution customers and also pushed a significant technology update recently. interface.ai has pre-built Machine Learning models built on this large data set. Leveraging this, our customers have already witnessed over 95% accuracy from day 1 of the launch. Such precision is equivalent to human-level accuracy or the accuracy levels displayed by the best performing staff in financial institutions. This precision, combined with our industry-first neural voice, makes the conversation with AI just like talking to staff.

There is still a chance that the AI does not understand some questions from customers. In such cases, the system will seamlessly hand-off the call to your staff.

As the system will handle all repeat queries from customers, it will ensure the staff has sufficient bandwidth to support customers with complex issues.

Also, with interface.ai's AI call center having the ability to be set up in front of any call center system, it decouples these two systems so you can switch the underlying traditional call center system at any time without impacting the customer experience.

You can experience the AI call center here.

Gain Efficiency

The AI Call Center typically automates 60% of calls within 60 days and can automate as much as 80% of incoming calls within a few months. The threshold for automation is the core system used by the financial institution - the better the core banking solution, the more it can automate & higher the efficiencies.

interface.ai integrates with most core banking solutions in the market, thus reducing financial institutions’ friction to achieve higher automation levels.

Also, by setting up the AI call center first, financial institutions will be able to better strategize call center staffing. So, there are large CAPEX & OPEX gains to be had.

  • A financial institution with a $1B Asset size, can save $2.5M annually.
  • A financial institution with a $5B Asset size, can save $10M annually.
  • A financial institution with a $10B Asset size, can save $20M annually.

You can calculate the savings possible for your financial institution by using the ROI calculator available here.

Improve Revenues

The AI call center is programmed to explore upsell opportunities in every interaction. This capability of the system ensures new revenue streams are created continuously for the financial institution.

With AI, every interaction is analyzed as an opportunity to place the right product in front of the prospect. By continuously exploring upsell opportunities, new revenue streams are created continuously for the financial institution.

For example - If someone is calling to intimate a travel notice, the AI call center has the ability to provide them options of credit cards with no foreign transaction fee. Thereby providing the right product options to the customer at the right time & enhancing the probability of a conversion.

Increase Engagement

Customer engagement is crucial both to drive new revenues and reduce customer churn. With financial institutions currently able to fully engage only about 7% of their customers on average, there is a lot of scope for improvement. With AI, financial institutions will be able to better engage all their customers, reducing customer churn by over 30% in just a few months.

If a customer is asking a question to the AI, it will instantly respond to the question, and it will also provide additional insights that will drive engagement.

For example, if a customer asks the AI, ‘What is my balance?’, the AI will instantly share the balance and share information that the customer can expect a 1% cashback with just a little more balance.

You can experience firsthand how the AI Call Center responds to this and other questions here.

Fast Time to Value

The AI Call Center is built to be set up to minimize the time to value rapidly. The AI is set up in 2 stages -

Stage 1 - In this stage, the AI is set up to answer all Informational questions from customers and it can be set up in just 1 day with no need for any integrations with internal systems. A system in this stage typically helps automate anywhere between 20 to 30% of incoming calls for financial institutions. Customers can get answers to questions such as - How can I enroll in online banking, Where is the nearest branch, and any product related questions.

Stage 2 - In this stage, which takes between 4 to 6 weeks to set up, the AI is set up to answer all types of questions, including enabling transactions. Customers can find out their balance, transfer money, and perform other transactions post-authentication. This stage requires the AI system to integrate with the internal systems of financial institutions and automate 60% of calls in 60 days. After this, the system can push call automation even beyond the 80% mark if sufficient APIs are available.

With new machine learning models pushed every day, and the AI trained to answer a host of new questions every week - incremental value generation and improved automation are always ensured.

Affordability

The days of Artificial Intelligence not being affordable are long gone. Different aspects of AI can be utilized by financial institutions of all sizes today. With interface.ai making the AI call center affordable for financial institutions with as little as $100M in assets, a large portion of the market can benefit from such advanced technology.

In conclusion, the AI call center can help financial institutions automate, engage & grow better than any other call center solution in the market. To re-emphasize the magnitude of change the AI call center can enable, let us take an example of a financial institution with about $1B in assets.

Suppose such a financial institution invests in a cloud call center before investing in an AI call center, undertaking a setup process that usually takes anywhere between 3 - 6 months. In that case, the financial institution stands to lose anywhere between $800k to $1.2M in savings and miss out on revenues in the range of $1.5 to $2.2M. This shows a substantial opportunity cost is at stake for financial institutions that do not make the transition quickly.

You can learn more about interface.ai’s AI-powered Call Center here.

References -

[1] https://www.bain.com/insights/bank-branch-call-center-traffic-jam

[2]https://www.tmcnet.com/channels/call-center-scheduling/articles/445073-remote-agents-key-bank-call-center-success-during.htm

[3] https://biztechmagazine.com/article/2020/01/modern-contact-center-changing-banks