Fueling the Gig Economy: How AI Can Help Fintech Companies Serve this Booming Workforce

Written by Amy Wallace  on   May 11, 2022

In light of rising inflation, pandemic-era job losses and the work-life balance mindset, a growing number of individuals have embraced gig economy work. A 2022 Gig Payments Report pointed out that, in 2021, there were about 23.9 million independent workers in the United States, an increase from 12.9 million in 2017. Moreover, the number of freelancers across the country is projected to grow to 86.5 million by 2027. The study also found that 85% of respondents have recently increased their gig work or plan to increase it, with 58% citing inflation as their primary reason for doing so.

Traditional financial services, however, are not tailored for the needs of gig workers, both because many banks are more often heavily focused on more premium and higher-income customers, and they also lack access to data about the financial behaviors of gig workers, who often have to keep their financial activity unregistered. Additionally, with jobs coming and going, their paycheques often fluctuate from one month to the next. This lack of a steady income means that these workers struggle to access investment accounts, loans, insurance and other financial products, which also means they are likely to face difficulties when paying for unexpected emergencies, such as costly medical treatments.

For fintech companies, an opportunity awaits. Rising up to address the gaps in this market, many fintech ventures have come to recognize gig workers as potential customers who are underserved by the traditional banks, and are now playing a key role in powering the gig economy. For instance, Nigerian fintech startup ImaliPay allows eRide hailing drivers and gig workers to power their gigs with services such as buy now, pay later (BNPL), insurance and savings (the opportunities for workers in this region are booming, with the African gig economy likely to have over 80 million workers by 2030)!

Read more about how fintechs can provide a stellar customer experience across the board in our ebook, How Conversational AI Is Rewriting the Rules for Fintech Customer Experience!

AI + Fintech Companies = The Ultimate CX for Gig Economy Workers

According to the Gig Payments Report, when it comes to receiving payments, many gig workers prioritize speed of service. Nearly 70% of these workers prefer to receive their pay within the same day they work, 39% prefer immediately after each job and 29% at the end of each day. What’s more, with rising inflation impacting both work and personal expenses for 57% of respondents, having access to funds in a timely manner is crucial to meet financial needs.

With a burgeoning gig economy workforce looking to fintechs to manage their finances, there is bound to be support-related queries that follow. How can the support teams of fintech companies rise up to offer the necessary support, especially support that aligns with the expectations and preferences of their customers today? Herein lies the opportunity for these companies to incorporate modern AI-powered support systems into their technology stacks to provide immediate resolutions to customer issues.

Providing Swift and Immediate Resolutions

Redefining the customer support landscape, AI-powered chatbots for customer service have greatly improved efficiency by delivering personalized resolutions immediately and automatically, for a truly effortless experience. AI can automate resolutions to high-volume, repeatable tickets, such as resetting passwords and paying monthly bills, freeing up human agents to focus on the more complex issues, and decreasing resolution times. The result? Faster and more consistent support for customers, and less fielding of common and repetitive issues for support agents. For instance, if a customer is inquiring about the loan application process, a chatbot could easily serve up a hyper-relevant article from a company’s knowledge base that covers this topic in detail, or if connected to the right backend systems, can even provide the real-time status on an application.

AI-powered solutions enable fintech companies to better support their customers’ needs at more touch points along their journey, which includes access to 24/7 support outside of standard working hours when support teams are unavailable to respond to queries. This also reduces the actual cost of keeping a human support team on standby in case of an unexpected spike in tickets. This type of always-on support is ideal for those gig workers who work irregular hours and schedules but still need access to support from their financial institution.

Providing Personalized and Contextual Responses

Able to tailor interactions based on customer profile and behavior, an advanced AI assistant can show that it understands past interactions and customer preferences – noting, for instance, that a customer had previously inquired about financing options. The chatbots can then respond on an individual level, providing meaningful interactions, and responses that are more personalized and contextualized. Additionally, by integrating data stored in customer relationship management systems (CRMs) with chatbots, conversational AI can engage in more well-informed conversations, and support teams have more context on each customer. For example, here is Sarah, a freelance visual designer who has also been working as a DoorDash delivery courier for the past year, earns approximately $8,000 per month and is seriously considering applying for a loan. Which options would be best for her? What could the terms of her loan be?

Meeting Customers Where They Are

Not bound to any one location, gig economy workers are constantly on the move. AI-powered solutions offer resolution across channels – email, chat, messaging, SMS and voice – for support when they need it most.

Moreover, gig workers are busy, and for many, gig work is solely a side hustle to supplement their income (Branch and Marqeta’s report found that only 27% rely on gig work as their primary source of income). By leveraging AI, fintech companies can offer customer service that is proactive – addressing a customer’s issue prior to when they encounter one, by detecting or anticipating the issue in advance, and extending the necessary support needed to resolve it. Sample use cases include warning a customer that a bill is soon due, reminding them to transfer balances from one account to another, or alerting them that there may be a better savings account option for them than their current plan. Such proactive, predictive and preemptive support is ideal for this hustling workforce.

How Conversational AI Is Rewriting the Rules for Gig Workers

As the gig economy continues to boom worldwide, and more and more fintech companies develop financial products and services for this market, AI-powered solutions power proactive, instantaneous and always-on customer service. In turn, fintech companies can focus on creating better customer relationships, and scaling their own growth.

Ebook: How Conversational AI Is Rewriting the Rules for Fintech Customer Experience

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Mar 1, 2021

Fintech companies are only getting half of the Customer Experience right. Fintechs have deftly unbundled traditional financial services into a growing variety of laser-focused and streamlined mobile-only and digital-first experiences. By focusing on the AI Customer Experience, fintechs have set new standards for ease of use and customer centricity.

Unfortunately, this innovation has not extended to support. While fintechs tend to excel at the core competency of onboarding customers and helping them use the app or service, they often fail to incorporate modern AI-powered support systems into their technology stacks to provide immediate resolutions to customer issues. As fintechs scale, they risk running into support problems.

To evolve into global brands capable of handling tens of millions of customers, tech-savvy fintechs need to embrace better customer support technologies and conversational AI in order to deliver effortless experiences for customers and rapid resolutions to support queries. 

Why The “Support Light” Option Is No Longer An Option

Just as fintechs are on the cutting edge of creating more efficient ways to use financial management tools, they need to offer a complete solution for customers. This means upping their support game and leveling up their holistic customer experience approach to make products more hospitable for all users – not just for digital natives and early adopters.

While most of them are doing a very good job on Customer Experience for onboarding and using the application, few have spent time studying the true pain points in support. Just as streamlining and automating processes has given fintechs a leg up on traditional banks, the upstarts can gain unfair advantage if they can apply their smarts to delivering support experiences as seamless as their apps.

The Conversational AI Arms Race In Financial Services

A growing number of large financial services institutions are investing big bucks in building Natural Language Processing banking chatbots like Capital One with Eno and Bank of America with Erica.

Erica, Eno and other pricey efforts have sparked an AI-driven arms race in customer experience and its close cousin – customer support. Financial services customers now expect and demand to interact in real-time with an intelligent conversational agent – human or bot – that provides good answers to complicated problems. This expectation is making more advanced customer service chatbots and proactive customer support table stakes and a linchpin in the war to attract and keep customers. In particular for fintech companies and direct or digital-first banks and payment platforms, users expect cutting edge CX and interactive chatbots as well as other intelligent support right off the bat. 

The six pillars of stellar financial digital customer support 

From digital millennials to Baby Boomers, adoption of digital channels for financial services applications are booming. In our interactions with financial services customers, we have identified the following key pillars of building a great digital CX. 

  1. Prioritize development of comprehensive mobile in-app support
  2. Elevate omnichannel with seamless integration
  3. Identify key customer processes and make them frictionless
  4. Be always-on and always-available
  5. Empower chatbot tools and conversational AI to handle quick tasks instantly
  6. Provide proactive service wherever possible

Conclusion: Fintechs Must Provide Holistic Customer Experiences Including Robust Support 

The way that people engage with financial services is rapidly shifting to mobile and digital and fintechs are leading the charge. By building their businesses as digital first and often mobile-only, modern fintechs are creating engaging, streamlined and intuitive user experiences in tune with the raised expectations of modern customers. That said, fintech upstarts have often not developed out their Customer Support technology or delved into advanced forms of automation and AI to improve support.

Want to learn more? Download your copy of How Conversational AI Is Rewriting the Rules for Fintech Customer Experience today! 

Click any of the links below to get more of our insights on FinTech customer service solutions.

The 10 Best Banking Chatbots (And How Your Financial Institution Can Use Them, Too)

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Feb 24, 2021

Banks and credit unions are deploying AI-powered chatbots to modernize the ai customer experience and remove friction from everyday banking. Chatbot statistics can help prove that these banking chatbot solutions, or AI virtual assistants, are game changers for the financial industry. Tasks that used to be completed by talking to a human in a branch or on the phone now take place in a conversational interface with virtual assistants for automated support, in real-time. These banking chatbots allow financial institutions to talk to millions of customers at once and proactively alert customers to potential issues or upcoming payments. 

As people continue to avoid branches in favor of digital banking, expect even more banks to launch virtual assistants. 

What Are The Top Use Cases For Chatbots In Banking?

Chatbot vendors in the banking industry can help make everyday banking tasks easier. An AI chatbot makes it easy for customers to:  

  • Retrieve account balance and information such as account and routing numbers
  • Get historical spending analysis and budgeting recommendations
  • Receive bill pay alerts and payment notifications
  • Receive fraud, repeat charges and suspicious activity notifications
  • Transfer money, buy stocks and mutual funds
  • Report upcoming travel
  • Report lost or stolen cards
  • Activate new cards
  • Check rewards and points balances

Learn how conversational AI is rewriting the rules for banking and fintech in this eBook.


Which banks have chatbots? A roundup of the 10 best-of-the-best banking chatbot solutions

Here are some of the most well-known banking chatbots. 

1. Ally Assist from Ally Bank

One of the first banks to launch a chatbot, Ally Bank rolled out Ally Assist in 2015 in an effort to provide users with seamless personalized customer service to manage their account. Accessible within the Ally Bank iPhone app, Ally Assist performs bill payment, transfers and account information requests. The bank also launched an Ally Skill on Amazon’s Alexa giving people perform simple banking tasks via voice commands. 

2. Amy from HSBC

HSBC’s Virtual Assistant Chatbot Amy is available on the bank’s website on various product pages. Amy understands English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese and helps customers get instant answers to common questions on the bank’s products and services. 

3. Ceba from Commonwealth Bank (Australia)

Ceba is a virtual banking assistant that answers a range of day-to-day banking questions. Ceba is available on the bank’s app and Website. Ceba is one of the only banking chatbots to have human escalation and directs customers to other channels based on their specific need.

4. Citi Bot SG from Citi

Citi Bank’s Citi Bot SG is a chatbot that enables customers to ask about basic account information through Facebook Messenger. Customers can get answers to questions around account balance, transactions, rewards and payment information for credit cards, checking and savings accounts. 

5. Clari from TD

Available within the TD banking app, Clari answers common banking questions. Clari can find information on spending, bank accounts and more. Banking customers can ask about opening an investing account, account balance, historic spending and categories, and sending money. 

6. Eno from Capital One

Available on the bank’s website, mobile app and SMS, Capital One’s digital assistant Eno uses sophisticated natural language processing to understand 2,200 different ways someone might ask for their balance. Eno also proactively reaches out if a bill is higher than normal, if it suspects fraud, or if it detects a particularly high tip. Another unique feature is monitoring free-trials to remind customers before they end. 

7. Erica from Bank of America

Available within the BofA app, the virtual financial assistant Erica is designed to help customers more easily manage their money. Within the interactive interface, Erica provides reward and account balances, spending summaries, refund confirmations and credit scores. She can also identify duplicate charges and send bill reminders. 

The AI-powered chatbot’s capabilities don’t stop there: Erica helps support BofA subsidiary Merrill clients through insights on portfolio performance, trading, investment balances, quotes and holdings. 

In 2020, Erica helped more than 5 million customers complete over 75 million requests. Since launching in 2020, Erica has helped 15 million customers with over 175 million requests. Every day, Erica engages in approximately 400,000 interactions. 

8. Eva from HDFC

Eva helps customers with everyday banking needs: checking on a loan status, facilitating payments and getting instant answers to FAQs. Eva can also help customers apply for various loans.

9. HARO and DORI from Hang Seng Bank

With the ability to communicate in Chinese and English, and also understand Cantonese as well as the mixing of English and Chinese, the two bots from Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong get retail customers instant answers to a variety of needs. HARO and DORI use a combination of natural language processing and machine learning to have human-like conversations, helping banking customers get answers in real-time.

HARO stands for ‘Helpful; Attentive; Responsive; Omni” and interacts with customers on the bank’s website, mobile app and WhatsApp and answers questions related to mortgage, personal loan, credit card, medical insurance and travel insurance services.

Available on Facebook Messenger, DORI (‘Dining; Offers; Rewards; Interactive’) helps customers discover shopping and dining offers.

10. NOMI from Royal Bank of Canada

NOMI is a banking chatbot that hails from the Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest bank. NOMI is a chatbot that sends alerts, reminders, and tailored insights based on a person’s banking habits. Available in the RBC mobile app, it provides tools to help people manage day-to-day spending, including  a calculated budget recommendation based on unique spending habits. 

The use of virtual assistants by financial institutions to help banking customers save money, manage their bank accounts and XYZ is on the rise. Customers increasingly expect effortless and proactive customer support and banking bots are delivering the experience that customers expect.  

Find out what your ROI will be if you build an AI chatbot. Try our free chatbot ROI calculator.

Can we help you discover the possibilities with conversational banking? Get in touch today.

Click any of the links below to get more of our insights on FinTech customer service solutions.

How Fintech Can Use AI To Improve Customer Service and Increase Retention

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Oct 16, 2020

Disruptive fintech companies and digital-only challenger banks have shaken up an industry once plagued with little differentiation amongst products and poor customer experiences. Upstart banks and financial services companies like Brex, Chime, Monzo, and Wealthfront are digital-native and designed to provide an online customer experience on par with the best consumer apps. This is a point not lost even on legacy bank executives: 75% of banking executives believe the most critical impact fintech companies will have is driving an increased focus on the customer1

In fact, only half of the respondents from the banking sector (53%) believe their organizations are consumer-centric, compared with over 80% of fintechs2. Fintechs need to provide superior online and in-app customer support in addition to the smooth user experiences (such as sign-up flows) they provide in their products. This ease of use plus strong support builds long-term loyalty in the face of fierce competition for consumer wallets. Fintech companies are turning to AI to scale customer service, automating resolutions to repeatable tickets. AI also powers in-app and proactive service offerings that anticipate customer needs and resolve problems faster without taking users out of their flow. 

Frictionless CX for fintech companies is driving adoption 

Today’s banking and finance draw parallels to the media industry, where we’ve seen streaming upstarts steal eyeballs and attention from the legacy media behemoths. Consumers are realizing they don’t need all of the bundled extras and hidden fees from cable companies and are cutting the cord at alarming rates in favor of unbundled and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. 

This same shift is happening in financial services. Consumers are flocking to challenger banks like Chime, simple-to-use retirement apps like Betterment and Wealthfront, and frictionless financial services like Venmo to handle simple banking needs. Their success has come because, according to Deloitte, fintechs “developed a product offering and channel experience that targeted the points of the value chain where incumbents’ weaknesses were most exposed and often not easy to fix. Most commonly, this was low satisfaction with customer service levels, broken digital account opening and servicing journeys, and complex product terms with various layers of hidden add-on fees.3

Today, 1 in 4 people under the age of 37 have an account with a digital-only challenger bank like Revolut, Monzo and NuBankk4. And while the United States has lagged in terms of adoption as compared to Europe, Asia, and LATAM, US consumer appetite for alternate providers of financial services is picking up, driven, in part, by the user-friendly experiences designed to save customers time. One example of this is with opening an account with a financial services company. Opening a new account with the UK’s Monzo bank and the US’s N26 is done in less than 5 minutes on a mobile phone5. This compares to opening an account with a traditional bank, which may require in-branch meetings, faxes and paperwork, and multiple days for approval. 

Poor service drives churn in fintech 

With more competition, churn remains a major issue for fintech companies. One study found that one day after signing up for financial apps, only 34.8% of users remain; a week later, this drops to 14.9%; and three months later to just 3.4%5. Respondents consistently cited “poor service” as their reason for churning off apps6.  

Fintech companies need to meet the demands of the modern consumer who doesn’t like waiting, craves simplicity and ease, and is often completing tasks on their smartphones. By prioritizing existing customer happiness and providing the support that they expect, fintech companies will grow revenue by reducing churn. This is because seven in 10 US consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers excellent service, and 95% of consumers cite customer service as important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand. 

The four pillars of excellent fintech customer service  

Digital-first millennials who have expectations for truly seamless, immediate and convenient customer support are the primary and earliest adopters of fintechs. To retain these customers, fintech companies need to implement four key customer service strategies. 

  1. Provide meaningful, 1:1 in-app support: While omni-channel support is essential, for fintech companies in particular, most of the interaction with the customer is taking place within apps. Don’t force a person to exit the app, call a support line or send an email to get in touch. Providing support within the apps where services are provided gives customers access to the information they need at their fingertips. Deploy live chat functionality to enable a person to receive support in the exact moment of need. 
  2. Be always-on and always-available: Customers run into issues 24/7/365. And especially when money is involved, customers crave immediate support. Don’t restrict customers to business hours or keep them waiting for a response. Respond immediately, no matter if it’s after-hours, the weekend or a holiday. 
  3. Leverage AI to automate resolutions to basic issues: Self-service is core to all fintech experiences and a key reason people become customers in the first place. An AI-powered customer service chatbot can immediately resolve issues, including resetting passwords, checking account balances, transferring funds between accounts or paying monthly bills.  With AI chatbots managing many repeatable tasks, live agents focus on more complex or urgent tasks. AI chatbots differ from first-generation bots as they enable customers to engage in natural, human-like conversation, not tied to rigid decision trees.   
  4. Get out in front of issues with proactive service: Solving issues before customers even know they exist brings the idea of convenience to a new level. By leveraging AI, fintech companies can understand when a problem is likely to arise, when a customer might get frustrated or when specific information would be valuable. Fintechs can then preemptively intervene before a customer has to reach out.  

As soon as an account is set up, for instance, fintech companies can reach out with precise information drips to proactively answer the most common questions after onboarding. After 3-6 months, a person’s questions have likely changed, so targeted education can reduce customer frustration. To implement proactive service, identify friction areas, the top customer service tickets that arise along the customer journey, and differentiation amongst customer segments. You can then identify low-impact, high-value opportunities to offer proactive service. 

Closing: How AI can help fintech companies excel at customer success  

As competition in the financial services industry heats up with new entrants and incumbent banks taking massive steps to reinvent their customer experience, differentiation increasingly comes from customer service. Meeting customer expectations for immediate, convenient and frictionless support is directly correlated with long-term customer happiness and growth. 

To turn customer support into a competitive edge and meet quick-rising demands for quick, convenient and personal resolutions, fintech companies need to bring AI into the workforce to resolve issues immediately, and introduce always-on, proactive and in-app service.

Find out what your ROI will be if you build an AI chatbot. Try our free chatbot ROI calculator.

Are you a fintech company looking to create frictionless customer service interactions? Get in touch for a demo today! 

Click any of the links below to get more of our insights on FinTech customer service solutions.

References 

  1. PWC: https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/financial-services/fintech-survey/blurred-lines.html 
  2. PWC 2: https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/financial-services/publications/fintech-is-reshaping-banking.html 
  3. Deloitte: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/financial-services/us-dna-of-digital-challenger-banks.pdf 
  4. SI Digital: https://sidigital.co/blog/customer-retention-financial-services 
  5. Tear Sheet: https://tearsheet.co/marketing/5-techniques-fintech-and-banking-apps-use-to-engage-and-retain-users/ 
  6. Qualtrics: https://www.qualtrics.com/customer-experience/banking-report/#section3