Chatbots in Investment: Thinking Beyond Robo-Advisors
In the investment world, timing is everything.
Picking entry and exit points, watching prices and seeing news as soon as it breaks are all things consumers do all day, every day. Those who provide investment advice, software and educational resources are now expected to deliver an on-demand experience 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How can a chatbot help them do it?
Consumers of financial services have changed
They've morphed from slow, uninformed and uneducated people into demanding, ever-present and well-informed novice investors.
They're well aware of all the services and software available to them.
They know full well that if you can't provide what they need, many other companies can, and will.
Pleasing these humans goes well beyond a mobile website and live price tickers. Nowadays, we're talking personalised, concierge-style services that are multilingual and seamlessly integrated into the consumer's life.
Conversational (aka chatbot) technology exists to communicate information. The very idea of it is to provide the lowest barrier of entry to on-demand information.
Natural voice and text communication are what humans are best at. After all, we estimate human language developed around 100,000 years ago. Every other form of communication is harder for us and has higher barriers to entry. Smoke signals, faxes, texting, WhatsApp-ing, reading emails and watching the news on TV are all slower and more complicated than simple spoken and written language.
This is how chatbot technology can help users stay up-to-date with things like security prices, market news and even placing and closing trades.
Investment chatbots in the real world
Brian has an FX account with a UK broker which he manages himself. He has a London-based wealth management company looking after his UK equity investments and some ETFs and index funds which he holds over the longer term.
Brian keeps up-to-date with his investments daily, he has a white collar job and monitors price and news on his phone.
Suffice to say; Brian is a keen investor and an active trader.
Investment companies like Brians. They create volume, follow blogs and click on ads. Brians are good for business.
Lots of investment companies are fishing for Brians and trying to attract them to their services. They all offer online support, online brokerage accounts, mobile apps and live this-and-that.
The conversational differentiator
Forward-looking investment companies realise it's now all about differentiation, personalisation and service. If everyone is operating at a norm, it's time to create the new norm, right?
Robo-advice or robo-advisors are just the start of this new norm. They're paving the way to changing consumer sentiment. Brians (and lesser keen versions) are accepting financial advice from algorithms and mathematics.
Not only that, they're also accepting less interaction with other humans. They are starting to realise that by talking to a machine things tend to get done quicker and more accurately.
Financial companies are beginning to offer machine-led conversational services to their consumers; in fact, we've built a few before.
Chatbot technology offers personalised services
You see, it's all about offering a personal service with your company and content being available on-demand, through a communication channel your consumer wants.
Gone are the days of:
"Login to your account to see your news feed and check prices - but don't worry we have a mobile app".
"Click here to subscribe to our email service."
Now is the day of:
"Beep beep goes SMS or Slack or Facebook Messenger or [insert 28 other channels here]. Hello Brian, just a quick message to let you know we've spotted your EUR/USD trade is up over 25 points, here's a picture of the chart from one minute ago."
"Beep beep. Morning Brian, we've just released some research on the SPDR - S&P 500 ETF and I know you're invested so thought you might like a read...".
Conversational technology powers personalised communication, at scale.
Think of it as a personal financial assistant for Brians. This personal assistant carries your brand, your tone of voice, your data and your research. It's an extension of your company that Brian willingly talks to every day.
It lives on the communication channels Brian uses. He's on Slack at work and Facebook Messenger at home. His financial assistant knows this and talks to him through these channels. Your chatbot delivers what we call PUSH and PULL content.
It can PUSH personalised information to Brian. Note the word "personalised". We're not talking spam, irrelevant company updates or advertising. We're talking timely, knowledgeable information based on his world, his requirements and his personal circumstances.
It enables Brian to PULL information from you when he needs it. He may have just seen some news and wants to get your company view on it, get an update on his EUR/USD trade or perhaps he just read a new financial term and wants to pull some training material from your knowledge base.
This isn't science fiction. This is now.
This is the new norm.