Five years back, people would have laughed off the idea of chatbots taking up most of the internal and external operations of a bank. But, with banks successfully riding the chatbot wave to revolutionize areas including customer service and sales, detractors will now have to think twice before dismissing the idea. Chatbots have now become an integral part of their digital transformation strategies. The focus is now on expanding improve the scope of conversational AI to other business functions.
With banks now eying exponential increase in the scope of chatbots, traditional modes of service delivery have come under the scanner. Higher lead time and lower data security make the traditional models inapplicable to the current business environment, which is marked by a series of high-paced change. As an alternative to both in-house and third-party development of chatbots, the platform model of chatbot delivery has risen, which will make the banks more and nimble and agile when it comes to addressing customer requirements.
Chatbot platform as a business model
Chatbot platforms are innovative platforms that automates the process of chatbot development enabling the banks to launch a bespoke conversational agent literally off the shelf. The following tenants of this business model makes it the go-to option for banks (any business organization for that matter) which are considering to implement a chatbot.
1. Reduced capital expenditure
When it comes to technology’s business adoption, huge capital investment upfront is a major hurdle especially for the small and medium enterprises. A platform, with is flexible payment options and tiered pricing, will help SMEs to overcome this hurdle. It offers them a chance to reap benefits out of a growing technology without actually getting into the complications of having to develop one from scratch and without having to burn a hole in the pocket.
2. Reduced lead times
Typically, it takes 6-8 months of planning, development and testing before an enterprise chatbot could go live. A chatbot platform turns the traditional delivery cycle on his head and tilts it heavily in the favour of businesses. There are platforms available in the market that would allow businesses to launch enterprise-level chatbots in considerably lower time. Lower lead times will allow businesses to innovate continually, keeping up with the pace of an extremely volatile digital marketplace.
3. Reduced cost of maintenance
According to a Venture Beat report, the average set up cost for an in-house or third-party developed bot is approximately between US$5,000-US$10,000. This figure, however, doesn’t include the maintenance charges, that spikes up the total cost of ownership (TCO). Every time you upgrade your bot, charges are involved. Chatbot platforms help businesses to save money by reducing dependency on third-party service providers. Also, by offering customizable packages instead of slapping on pre-defined ones, platforms offer tremendous flexibility to the users that translates into savings.
4. Reduced skill requirement
Platforms automate the process of building a chatbot. There are platforms available in the market that would allow you to launch an enterprise-level bot even without writing a single code. Whether you are trying to build an in-house chatbot development team, or trying to hire a third-party vendor, access to talent is always a difficult and costly affair. Platforms with their drag and drop user interface considerably lowers the skill requirement so that even people with little or no knowledge would be able to develop a platform. This means that the organisation could now focus more on the domain modelling part of the chatbot development rather than fidgeting with the technical aspects. This, along with advancements in areas like Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and Machine Learning(ML), would ultimately result in chatbots which could handle complex use cases with utmost ease.
5. Increased technical Support
Technical support that the platform could either be direct or indirect. Direct support include access to exclusive study/reference materials, videos and customer contact centres. Some providers even use the platform as a channel of communication with the users, offering on-the-fly fixes. The indirect support is through memberships to the exclusive communities which would allow the users to learn and interact.
6. Improved scalability
On-demand scalability both in terms of the scope of the chatbot and channels into which they have embedded another advantage of chatbot platform. Expansion of the bot’s knowledge base, adding new use cases, and extending the services of the bots to other platforms can be done relatively easily.