Financial plans are important documents and take a substantial amount of time to create and communicate to the customer. But, should they really take that long from start to finish? The answer might surprise you in this article comparing two very different banks.
To showcase how a finance chatbot could revolutionize customer experience, this article details the traditional financial planning approach versus the newly transformed, automation-enhanced approach.
At many institutions, the process of creating, verifying, approving, and delivering a financial plan is a long, drawn-out process. A total timeline of two or three months is not uncommon. In researching how this process unfolds, the bottlenecks identified were intriguing, because there seems to be a workaround for these issues. But before getting ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the case study in detail.
A financial plan constructed within the four walls of a traditional bank goes through a particular cadence, which could vary from company to company, but in general the process is slow and labour intensive. The onus is placed on the bank’s employee to collect information and manually input many pieces of data.
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When a client requests a financial plan from a bank, it sets off a series of events, as follows:
- The client fills out a questionnaire about their desired financial plan and current information.
- The client books a call with a financial advisor.
- The advisor goes through the questionnaire inputs the data manually into a separate system for internal use.
- A separate entity, housed in an entirely different business unit, then takes the data from the financial advisor and inputs it into their own system, manually.
- High-level financial planners then review and overlook the plan and the process.
- The financial plan is then relayed to the client via the original financial planner.
Heaven forbid a change request is received at any point during or after this process, such that it then needs to start all over again. The client has already waited over a month, and more than likely 6–8 weeks to receive the first plan. Now, another lengthy process awaits, and the financial advisor is the go-between, often having to manage expectations of the client, while working in an antiquated system.
Within the steps above, information is entered manually, by humans, three times. And while there is a level of checking and double-checking happening here that is good for correctness, there’s also an equally likely chance that data could be entered incorrectly by people. Oversight in finance is great. But redundant human data entry is ripe for disruption.
Now think about how much faster (and more accurate) the process could be if automation was put in place. Anywhere that data entry is heavy, automation is the key to offload monotonous tasks from employees and to ensure that data is captured correctly (just once).
Automation and artificial intelligence are technologies at the heart of chatbots. And while many forms of automation could be put to use in this process, chatbots make it easy for financial advisors to do their jobs, providing a human-like interface to work with.
There are forward-thinking financial institutions that have already started to embrace this technology to speed up their financial planning service delivery. The process is condensed:
- The client fills out a questionnaire on their needs and current financial information.
- The client books a call with a financial advisor.
- Automated software takes the information from the client’s questionnaire and inputs it directly into the financial planning software for the advisor to review.
- The financial advisor reviews the plan and sends it to the client.
The automated process, saving the financial advisor on manual data entry, and instead allowing them to focus on the higher-level planning, also saves the customer time. They receive their financial plan in two to three weeks. Speed is obviously important in today’s customer service industries, but by cutting down on the time it takes to create the financial plan, it’s more likely that the plan itself will still be useful. Think about how much changed in 2020 and now into 2021. A plan constructed at one time may no longer be valid three months later.
When the client requests a change to their financial plan at this automation-embracing bank, they simply fill in a new questionnaire with the updated information. The automated system then updates the plan, and they have the numbers in a matter of days, not weeks. The only time required is that of the financial advisor looking over the updated numbers, and not on a long process of data entry, oversight, and manual data transfer processes. Automation allows for banks to provide more flexible services that don’t require a complete re-do of the financial plan.
Not only are customers delighted by how much faster they receive their financial plan, but the financial planners/advisors have a much better employee experience. Eliminating boring tasks, like data entry, help to give financial professionals more time on complex problem solving and planning. In addition, with AI technology backing them up, allowing for better turnaround times and even more accurate reports, they look better to their clients. Relationships between customers and financial experts are strengthened when finance chatbots are part of the process.
Consider how your financial institution might be able to put a finance chatbot to work in your processes. Chatbots have already been carefully developed with compliance in mind, specifically for the financial industry. You could even add functionality to improve accessibility to your products and services. For example, adding a voice component to your chatbot would improve accessibility to those who have a visual impairment.
If this article got your brain waves flowing about how finance chatbots could be used in your company, reach out to one of our chatbot consultants today. We’d love to discuss your ideas and bring your vision to life.
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