One of the biggest frustrations in the financial services industry for both customers and employees are the multiple channels, handoffs, paperwork and processes that it takes to complete a complex transaction such as a new account opening, mortgage, insurance claims processing, etc.  From a customer experience perspective, these poor digital experiences lead to loss of sales and lower customer satisfaction.  From an employee perspective, these inefficiencies lead to a lack of productivity and higher costs.  Fortunately, there are new digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Voice Recognition that can solve some of these problems and bring banks into the digital era.  Chatbots are one of the newest ways that businesses are harnessing these technologies to lower costs and improve the customer experience.

Chat tools such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and others are some of the fastest growing platforms on the web today[1].  Amazingly, these tools are growing faster than social networking or other popular platforms, and not only do customers prefer to communicate via chat in their daily lives, but businesses prefer them as well given they are cheaper to deploy than traditional face to face or contact center channels. Research shows that many banks will start to deploy chatbots over the next few years to lower customer support costs.[2]

While chatbots have come a long way, many people still need human backup in order to handle the questions and concerns that a chatbot can’t answer.  That’s why at Cisco we’ve combined the best of chatbots and messaging with collaborative capabilities such as real-time voice, video, and content sharing to enable customers to start with one capability such as chat, but then escalate into a voice or video call with a live human when needed. This is what we call Cisco Spark and is what powers the next-generation of chatbots and collaboration for banking clients.

Imagine a client searching your website for mortgage rates or insurance quotes.  Many will find what they need, but others will get stumped and go to a competitor.  If there was a chatbot on the website they could talk to and quickly get an answer to their specific question, customer satisfaction would rise and more would engage with your firm.  Not only that, if the customer couldn’t find the answer on the website, the chatbot might deflect a call that would have went to a call center, driving down costs. This is a win-win for both business and clients.  Now imagine that the same chatbot, once the question was answered, referred the customer to a real-time chat with a live agent to help start the mortgage application or insurance quote process.  Now the chatbot is a sales machine sending qualified leads to a real person to help drive business.  Now imagine that the customer and agent escalate into a full video call to collaborate together, give advice and help with complex questions.

This is the vision we have at Cisco and why we built Spark.  McKinsey writes that across the Financial Services Industry, there have been little digital transformation to date, with less than 39% of respondents claiming any change at all. [3] What this means is that there’s a lot of room for your firm to innovate and compete on digital, and Cisco can help.

For more information on Cisco Spark please visit: https://www.ciscospark.com/

For more information on Cisco Financial Services please visit: www.cisco.com/go/financialservices

[1] The State of Messaging Apps in 5 Charts, Contently, 2015

[2] Financial Institutions Bullish on Chatbots, The Financial Banker, 2017

[3] The Case for Digital Reinvention, McKinsey, 2017



Steve Ridder

Practice Advisor - Wealth

Management, Americas Business Transformation