Let’s Chat: Catering to Remittance Customers With Chatbots

December 1, 2017     By : Josh Gordon-Blake

Robots are coming. But don’t worry – they’re here to help.

Over the next few years, chatbots will take on a bigger role within the remittance industry. Reports on the overall chatbot market show an expected compound annual growth rate of 35.2% from 2016 to 2021 – eventually topping $3 billion. However, if done right, the opportunity within remittances could be much more.

Wondering what all the fuss is about? From transforming the user experience, to improving fraud detection, to delivering new levels of customer service, chatbots are primed to bring significant improvements to the world of money transfer.

Ditching the form – a new user experience

There’s no doubt that mobile devices are revolutionizing the way we make payments. Instead of relying on in-person interactions, customers are more likely to opt for the convenience of mobile. In the US alone, mobile payments volume will more than triple by 2021.

For remittances, chatbots can similarly transform the tedious data collection process. Mobile devices enable consumers to make payments anytime, anywhere but the experience can still leave much to be desired. Never-ending forms and interfaces that aren’t optimized for mobile have the potential to alienate consumers who want a faster way to submit payment information.

With chatbots, that issue may become a thing of the past.

Through a series of questions to collect and confirm important details, chatbots can create a money transfer experience that is both simple and convenient. This should speed up the process, improve the quality of information provided, and tailor the set of questions to the minimum information needed from that customer for that transfer. Moreover, a chatbot experience has the potential to capture customer attention and increase referrals.

By using a chatbot that efficiently collects payment information, the stage is set for a more enjoyable experience that will keep customers coming back more.

Fraud mitigation

Fraud is one of the top concerns for any mobile payments company. Efforts by remittance companies to stop fraudsters often clutter the customer’s experience and slow the settlement process. Machine learning is the wave of the present for fighting fraud, both because of its effectiveness and the user experience it enables. However, this behind-the-scenes magic is dependent on a key factor – data inputs.

With a chatbot, remittance companies will have access to data rarely present in the payment industry, including language, spelling, punctuation, and response time. Each of these data points can be used as data inputs for a remittance company’s machine learning fraud prevention engine.

Increased engagement through chatbots will create a stronger digital fingerprint for new customers and help remittance companies streamline the experience for loyal customers. Better yet, remittance companies will lower costs by making it harder for bad guys to game the system – creating a competitive advantage and savings that can be passed along to the customer.

Real-time customer service

For most consumers, one element of the payment experience rises above the rest – speed. Nearly three out of four consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good customer service. Chatbots make it even easier to be available to customers when they need help without sacrificing their overall experience.  

Perhaps most importantly, chatbots help transfer control back to the consumer. It is not uncommon for questions to pop up during the remittance process. Chatbots can ensure real-time answers. Rather than picking up the phone or meeting with a customer service representative in person, consumers can immediately get the help they need.

Though chatbots may not yet offer the same personal touch as an in-person interaction, the speed, and convenience of the experience isn’t too far off. In each case, the results remain the same – real-time answers at a moment’s notice.

The shift from an in-person to chatbot-enabled remittance experience isn’t too concerning for most people. In fact, 40 percent of consumers don’t care whether a chatbot or a person answers their customer service questions. Rather than focusing on the way in which answers are delivered, consumers are much more enamored with getting in, getting out and getting on their way.

A chatbot-enabled future  

For the past few decades, technology has propelled the payments industry forward. With the rise of the internet and mobile devices, global remittances are taking place more than ever before. And with that, chatbots are reintroducing the ability to ask questions – and get answers – at a moment’s notice.

When it comes to remittances, the benefits of chatbots are twofold. Not only can consumers continue to enjoy the convenience of digitally fueled money transfers, but they also have the opportunity to calm any fraud- or service-related concerns before going ahead with a transaction. Taking a chance on chatbot technology opens the door to delivering a payment experience marked by increased control, security, and convenience.

*Featured image credit: Chatbots Magazine.

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Josh Gordon-Blake

Josh Gordon-Blake

VP of Global Partnerships at Pangea
Josh Gordon-Blake is the VP of Global Partnerships at Pangea Money Transfer, a Chicago-based international money transfer app, where he manages a team of professionals who develop and cultivate relationships with banks, processors, startups, foreign exchange houses, mobile wallets and retailers to expand Pangea and move money effortlessly throughout the world.
Josh Gordon-Blake

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