To begin with, there is the temptation to create a proprietary bank application. But there is no real reason to re-invent the wheel. The best option is to simply build the cart that sits atop the existing wheels: This means using third-party messenger platforms or using virtual assistants and devices to deliver chat functionality. Solutions on popular third-party platforms provide the best experience and acceptability of bank chatbots. When platformification of banking becomes a realityIV there will be a plethora of third-party apps which will use banks’ APIs to deliver financial services on these platforms.
This brings us to the question of the number of platforms on which a chatbot should be built. Should a bank build a chatbot for Google Assistant, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, etc., so as not to leave out any of its customers? The answer is, “Probably not.” There are services like MyKai, Chatfuel, Beepbeep, Botkit and Smooch, which allow building and deploying a chatbot to multiple messenger platforms in one go. This helps maintain uniformity and context. It also makes it easy to synchronize content across platforms – a fact that is especially useful when a customer uses multiple messengers.
While chatbots, undoubtedly, have some way to go before we see mass adoption, there is no doubt that they will gather pace. For the immediate future, banks would do well to keep their chatbot strategy simple and invest in an AI platform that can power them in the future.
II. Like WhatsApp or FB Messenger
III. Predicts 2017: Artificial Intelligence, Whit Andrews, et al.; November, 23, 2016
IV. Driven by requirements such as Payment Services Directive2 in the EU