Innovation of the month: imaginBank chatbot
Efma’s innovation of the month award for July goes to imaginBank, the CaixaBank mobile-only bank, for its chatbot solution which offers special promotions to users on Facebook Messenger.
imaginBank was the first financial institution in Spain to launch a chatbot on Facebook. It allows users of the social network to check exclusive offers and discounts for customers interactively and is intended to increase the engagement of existing customers and attract new ones.
“A large proportion of imaginBank’s services consists of non-financial advantages,” explains David Urbano, Director of imaginBank. “Therefore, a simple system was needed to keep customers permanently informed of discounts and other advantages available. It was also hoped that the scheme would make it possible to experiment with new forms of interaction with customers, taking advantage of the latest technological advances. We also wanted to offer customers a more user-friendly experience, showing them over 200 discounts in an orderly, accessible format, prioritising those that would interest them most.”
The Facebook chatbot arose as an excellent solution for this need, its use being encouraged by the fact that it is integrated in the most popular social network used by imaginBank customers. The familiar conversational style of the bot and the option to activate recurrent alerts make it a good tool for developing loyalty and capturing new customers, which is very much in line with the style of the brand.
The solution takes advantage of artificial intelligence (AI). “New trends in artificial intelligence open up new options for relations with customers, especially those using imaginBank, many of whom are millennials interested in discounts and active in social networks,” says Urbano. “The bank’s average customer is aged 18-30 and is a frequent user of Whatsapp, Facebook and instagram. We decided to concentrate on one of these networks and designed a bot linked to imaginBank’s Facebook page, accessible from desktop computers and mobile phones, which would allow customers to check exclusive advantages and discounts more easily, with a view to increasing take up and customer engagement with the bank.”
When a user starts to chat on the page, the bot opens up and invites them to view the offers available. Users can choose from the options offered by the bot or enter simple commands, such as “help” to change from Spanish to Catalan or vice versa.
If users are interested in a particular category of offer (‘restaurants’, for example), they can subscribe to the category. The bot will then advise them of the new offers available each day.
The bot uses informal language so that the interaction is natural and pleasant. It is able to detect when the user greets it, thanks it or leaves, answering in a lively tone and using emoticons, a very familiar element of communication for the millennial generation.
In two months the bot has been used over 20,000 times and 25% of users have activated alerts to receive news of new promotions. One in every four customers who have interacted with the bot have activated an alert.
“The fact that on average each user speaks to the bot once a week and that 32% of conversations are initiated by non-customers shows that there is great interest in current offers and discounts and that both customers and non-customers want to know what is available,” Urbano concludes.
imaginBank chatbot will be automatically selected as a nominee for the 2017 Efma Accenture Distribution and Marketing Innovation Awards 2017. Submit your innovations before 7 September on the Efma Innovation in Banking portal. Participation is free of charge and open to all banks and payment institutions.