How do you stay competitive in an increasingly bot-engaged market, with a relatively young technology, in a complex industry where a single error could be devastating? Join this VB Live event to find out how financial companies can minimize risk, maximize customer satisfaction and transform their brand.

“A lot of these bot technologies have already become table stakes—so one of the fears that financial institutions have is that there’s this window of opportunity, and there’s been a gap in the services they’re providing,” says Katy Gibson, Vice President of Product Applications at Envestnet | Yodlee, a leading data aggregation and analytics platform. “How quickly can they close it or get to parity with other service providers?”

Bots are a unique opportunity for banks to interact with their customers, Gibson says, especially as banks decentralize and work to stay nimble to keep up with an increasingly mobile world. “As they’re moving away from branches, I think building a brand around digital engagement—and having the best digital engagement—is key for banks to stay competitive,” she explains.

“And the risk for banks is that fintech disruptors are going to come and take that space,” Gibson adds.

USAA has already launched a voice-activated virtual personal assistant on their mobile app, while Bank of America just announced the release of its new chatbot, the cleverly named Erica (think “IM Erica”). She’s designed to offer improved customer service in daily banking tasks but also scan customer data and offer opportunities to optimize and consolidate finances.

“The big challenge and the secret sauce is going to be combining data intelligence with the conversational technology in the larger context of the customer experience and journey,” Gibson says. “Banks are going to have to get really good at putting it all together and creating the full experience.”

What is that going to take?

“Banks have to be careful to make sure that they are either looking at this technology themselves or they’re partnering with the right solution providers,” Gibson says. “So whomever they’re using for their natural language processing, making sure that the bot is understanding the context of the question is critical. Otherwise that can backfire. And they need to be prepared to have fallback solutions.”

The second part is access to the right data points. “It becomes very important to have the right level of data analytics on the back end to be able to recognize a question, and then provide the appropriate response,” Gibson says. Customers have little patience in general with customer service technology; with their financial information at stake, that can reach a breaking point far more rapidly, she explains.

And critically, none of this data can be siloed, no matter what product or service a customer is interacting with. “A customer may have a credit card and a mortgage and a line of credit and checking relationship; they view themselves as a full entity,” Gibson says. “And when they’re talking to your brand, they expect you to have all of that information and the correlation of all of those relationships available to the bot.”

If you send them one place to talk about their mortgage, and another for their checking account, and yet another for credit cards, they’re going to just keep walking.

But now is the time for financial institutions to start making some smart decisions about bots, and whether they’re going to buy, partner, or build, Gibson says.

“It’s a great technology,” Gibson says. “There are going to be lots of great use cases for bots. It’s going to depend on the size of the bank and their position in the marketplace. For banks with an innovation brand, they absolutely should be proactive about it.”

To find out how to leverage data for next gen chatbots, address or mitigate potentially devastating errors, and find the right AI partners, join our free VB Live event. Joining Gibson will be Forrester senior analyst Peter Wannemacher – you won’t want to miss out.

Register here for free!

By attending this VB Live event, you’ll learn how to:

  •       Re-engineer back-end systems to enable real-time action
  •       Make progress on platform improvements—or replacements
  •       Embrace APIs for faster, more dynamic future changes


  •       Peter Wannemacher, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research
  •       Katy Gibson, Vice President, Product Applications, Envestnet | Yodlee
  •       Evan Schuman, Moderator, VentureBeat