08 May 2020

How can a pandemic accelerate digital transformation in banking?, in Revista Risco

As our country is going through difficult times for all economic sectors, the financial sector also faces new challenges to meet the needs of its customers.

In this context, the moratorium issued by Banco de Portugal to alleviate the financial effort of our citizens has emerged as a "lifeline" for many.
If, on the one hand, this initiative seeks to mitigate part of the impact of this pandemic, it has also created a huge procedural problem for financial institutions, with the forecast of sudden emergence of requests and consequent need for response and analysis accordingly, increased by the difficulties inherent in the situation of confinement in which we find ourselves.

In the electronic processes that have been implemented by the vast majority of banks, the traditional PDF documents have been made available in which the customer is asked to download, print, fill and sign them manually, store them and send them to an email created for this purpose. To this process little "agile" and little user friendly for customers, it joins all the subsequent back office process where, busily, without any integrations or automations, the dedicated employees of these institutions will have to evaluate and give manual progress to the processes. The order validation phase involves a number of defined steps, often requiring the customer to be contacted again, for example in cases of a lack of documents or ineligibility of the order. 

It is against this backdrop of inefficiency that technology and digital transformation can really make a difference. Noesis has sought to innovate this process in order to support its clients in the financial sector and has developed a solution that allows the full digitization of the channel, facilitating those seeking to submit a moratorium, as well as who then has the duty and mission to evaluate and provide internal support.

This innovation, in the approach and in the tools used, aims to provide a personalized service 24 7 with the use of artificial intelligence in conversation (BOT). The Bot allows you to "guide" clients of financial institutions through the different steps necessary to submit their orders. It is also responsible for validating in advance the eligibility of these applications, where possible, as well as the documentation required in each step or typology. The solution developed also allows the use of electronic signature functionality, and all information is integrated with banking systems.

This ensures an enormous speed throughout the process, from any device, with low need for technical, procedural or computer literacy and providing the customer with an easier and more efficient interaction experience with their Bank. This solution, being more accessible to all, also ensures clear efficiency gains in the analysis of processes and their consequent final dispatch.

This view that a customer, with his mobile device, can interact with a virtual assistant in a personalized and assertive way, benefiting from a completely dematerialized service without recourse to the use of paper and, while at the same time ensuring a clear reduction in the effort of both the individual and the financial institution, it may seem almost a mirage. What is certain is that this is the challenge that we have embraced and that we have already materialized for a national financial institution in just five days.

All traditional channels dedicated to the topic of moratoriums have been properly channeled to the Virtual Assistant, dramatically increasing the capacity of the institution with the handling of up to 10 times more processes in the same period of time and maintaining its human resources, from home, focused on the analysis and final validation of applications. Something that previously took hours is now executed in a few minutes. The results achieved could not be more exciting and give us an opportunity to think about many other possibilities of process digitization in the Bank.

In short, this low-investment solution, with proven results and rapid implementation, without any constraint or need for service interruption, is a clear example of the digital acceleration that the pandemic context has provided. On the other hand, this bot solution is also a clear catalyst for the improvement and differentiation of customer services.

*Published in Risco.