Financial service providers are racing to invest in contextualized voice and chat capabilities — but how much do they really drive engagement and streamline communication? Don’t miss this VB Live event, where you’ll learn how to use conversational technologies to create more meaningful experiences for your customers.

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Financial services companies should be able to offer their customers answers to their questions as quickly and succinctly as possible – anywhere, any time, and on any device, says Frank Coates, executive managing director at Envestnet | Yodlee Analytics.

“The decision-making on available data needs to be more ubiquitous, so people don’t have to take a break from what they’re doing. They shouldn’t have to jump on a computer, search a website, or do a lot of exploring to get answers to their more complicated questions,” Coates says. “They can simply talk or text and get answers when they need them, so they can take action much more quickly.”

Coates believes that voice is the future for how we’re going to interact with information.

“Those of us that have been around a while remember Star Trek and the Jetsons, where people just talked to walls and mirrors and computers, and it seemed so far-fetched,” he says. “But today most of us have some kind of device we talk to on a regular basis to get information, whether it’s to play music or to control things in our house.”

That’s why chat is a powerful way to get customers more engaged in their financial life, he says. It’s a type of conversation that can help the individual investor who wants to be more involved with their financial wellness, whether that concerns their saving, spending habits, creditworthiness, or the way they invest their money. What they don’t want is to have to always talk to a human being.

“Chat becomes a really powerful way to start some processes that then get picked up by a human being working for a bank or a wealth company,” Coates says. “We think both of those combined are about letting customers be more involved, in an easier way, in their financial wellness.”

He believes that voice and chat will have enormous penetration among financial institutions within the next three years — as significant as 80 percent penetration overall, and 100 percent in the big global and national banks.

“The big banks are already doing it. By augmenting human beings with AI and computers, they can provide great customer experience, and a cheaper service experience,” he says. “It saves a lot of money and allows the bank to narrow down the customer’s problem before they get on the phone with a human being — if that’s needed.”

For financial services companies ready to leap into the fray, however, there are some hurdles to overcome first, he believes.

“The three big things are security, personalization, and understanding how to help the consumer know how to use a voice-driven app, as opposed to a different type of application where they can see screens,” he says.

Security is a large issue, clearly, particularly around sensitive financial information. What you say or what you text has to be recorded in order for financial institutions to be in compliance with regulations, Coates explains. For instance, broker dealers are required to record conversations with clients when they ask for trades or ask about their investments.

Customer control over what’s recorded is not completely there yet, for example how long the data is saved, and how companies can surveil things like the voices they’re capturing from our customers or internal employees.

Coates also notes financial institutions that want to implement chat are going to have to take a deep dive into personalization technologies and strategies. “As you think about the future, if we want to evolve the conversation to more in-depth interactions, like ‘Do I need insurance? Do I have the right kind of insurance? What can I do to improve my credit score right now?’ that requires you to understand who’s asking the question,” he explains.

The third and probably trickiest thing is that people don’t know what they can ask. Firms that are going to deploy voice need to ensure the customer knows what questions to ask. A customer is unlikely to be willing to ask 10 questions and only get the answer to one.

But we’re getting closer to perfection, he says.

“This is an exciting, brave new world,” he says. “There’s a lot of work to be done in the background to build the AI that understands the human language and can personify people. There’s a lot of work to be done around what data you actually own. But we’re just really excited about how regular conversations that people can have with us will allow them to get more involved and take more ownership over their own financial wellness.”

And while the machines are just grinding into motion, as financial institutions prepare themselves to implement conversational technology into strategies, Coates reminds us that consumers are already way ahead of the curve.

“About 50 percent of millennials have some kind of voice-driven device they use on a daily basis,” he says. “We just need to catch up.”

To learn more about how you can prepare for the next step in customer engagement, how to kick off your conversational technology strategy, and more, don’t miss this VB Live event.

Don’t miss out.

Register here for free.

Webinar attendees will learn:

  • How are conversational technologies changing the financial services landscape?
  • Things to consider when looking to deploy a voice-enabled solution
  • How can voice and Chat support a broad range of financial wellness solutions?
  • Capitalizing on conversational interfaces to capture and improve customer loyalty


  • Frank Coates, Executive Managing Director, Envestnet | Yodlee Analytics
  • Ken Dodelin, VP Conversational AI Products, Capital One
  • Sandi Boga, Director, Product Innovation, ATB Financial
  • Evan Schuman, Moderator, VentureBeat

Sponsored by Envestnet | Yodlee