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Freshen Up | Welcoming Bots with Open Arms

By Kevin Barth 25 Apr 2017

Spring is here again, and to be fully transparent, it is probably my favorite season of the year.  The weather is (usually) the best on the east coast during spring, the flowers begin to bloom again, the days (and brilliant sunlight) are longer, my birthday is during the spring season, and so is my wife's (we were born on the same day!).  I could continue to wax poetically about the virtues of spring in Pennsylvania, but I think you get the gist - I love spring… well… at least 95% of it.


There is that remaining 5% that I could do without – namely spring cleaning and the ongoing spring landscaping that lasts well into the late summer months. Well, knowing that spring was around the corner I wanted to head off some of that 5% that takes away from my favorite season. So, my wife and I recently invested in a robot that vacuums your house. I am sure you have heard of Roomba before - that’s the brand we chose to start automating some cleaning in our house. I was pretty skeptical before making this purchase and held off for a long time before finally making the financial commitment to, hopefully, add 1% to the 95%. In short, it’s an amazing product and it vacuums as well (and probably much better) as I do. It also saves my wife and I precious hours of the day (two shedding dogs and one cat = numerous days a week vacuuming) which could be better spent outside enjoying the beautiful spring season!  With my newfound love for robots automating a small piece of my weekly chores, I decided to expand on that and research more to see if robots could get me even closer to 100%.  Guess what… not only can robots vacuum my house; they can mow my lawn too!  I am currently deciding what robot will fit my needs best to handle that fairly large and time-consuming task I do on a weekly basis throughout spring. You can say that I have embraced this new robotic revolution. I am all for simplification and automation that will make my daily life just a bit better and provide me with instant gratification (since I now can skip out on the vacuuming… and hopefully the lawn mowing in the very near future).


It turns out that my love of robots and automation is also being seen in the financial services industry as well. Banks and credit unions are starting to use chatbots to improve the overall user experience. As noted in “Financial Institutions Bullish on Chatbots” and “Hello, May I Speak to My Personal Bot?” both by The Financial Brand, shed some light on this new tool that financial institution are beginning to add to their arsenal and separate them from the competition. To begin, take a look at this:



So, not only a majority of financial institutions surveyed see chatbots as an opportunity; they are utilizing them now or will be working on a project in the near future to incorporate these robots into their organizations. I think you can safely say the future of these type of robots is now and using chatbots will continue to refine and differentiate the user experience for your account holders from the competition. In the end, with all of the increasing competition in the financial services industry, the user experience will be a driving factor in the future success of a bank or credit union.


Chatbots can be utilized for a wide variety of things, and best of all, they can be available at ANYTIME of the day for the account holder. The term “banker hours” can officially be laid to rest!  Whether the chatbot helps with money management by reminding about (or paying!) a an upcoming bill, or providing sound and targeted advice for banking, insurance, and retirement services… the possibilities are endless when using chatbots to continue to provide that level of service that is going to be expected from your account holders. 


Now, using these chatbots isn’t going to happen overnight, financial institutions will need to prepare. Also, the chatbots have to be utilized in a fashion that is going to bring value to the account holder relationship, and in turn, make them want to share that experience with someone else. The articles I spoke about in the above paragraphs went on to discuss eight requirements of intelligent bots. Carrying an intelligent conversation, leveraging real-time data, getting smarter over time, and anticipating customer needs are just a small sampling of those eight requirements. If a bank or credit union wants to start using chatbots these eight requirements should not be ignored.


As I stated before, the future is now and automation and the use of chatbots will have a big impact on the financial industry. These chatbots will work in real-time and provide personalized and contextual answers to account holder questions. They can be accessible at any time of the day for that financial services consumer and the financial institution can elevate the user experience that much more. These bots can’t and won’t eliminate that human interaction that is still a priority in the financial services industry. However, to continue to be competitive in the industry, having these chatbots will be a necessity going forward. 


Now, I wonder if I can find a laundry robot…

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