With FinTech innovations sweeping through the payments ecosystem at a rapid pace, traditional financial institutions and businesses alike are finding ways to get tasks done more efficiently. When it comes to credit card processing, however, there’s one looming question: Where do chatbots fit into the equation?
Of course, there are some obvious benefits chatbots bring to the credit card processing table. To start, the ability of a chatbot to connect with a customer anytime, anywhere and through multiple devices is an obvious customer-service perk. Particularly when it comes to mundane tasks like updating payment card credentials or answering basic account questions, a bot can often be the most efficient method.
With any new technology on the market, deciding where it fits into your company’s strategy comes down to weighing the benefits, the drawbacks and seeing whether an investment in new innovations in the marketplace is worth the gamble.
Pros and Cons of Chatbots for Credit Card Processing
There is no simple answer to the concept of integrating chatbots into the credit card processing ecosystem.
On the contrary, there’s a reason chatbots haven’t taken the credit card processing world by storm quite yet. Simply put, a machine can’t always replace human interaction — especially because customers often have a question unique to their own situation. Because chatbots don’t have the ability to interpret a customer’s tone, or manage a frustrated customer, understand slang, or manage a complicated matter, relying on the technology could put your customer service reputation at risk.
For that reason alone, when thinking about how chatbots fit into the credit card processing relationship, you shouldn’t think of them as the “easy button” to solve all issues. Chatbots should be viewed as an option to extend a connection to your customers during times when you may not be able to assist them, or when a simple answer is all they need.
That’s where the next pro for chatbots comes into play. When thinking about reducing spending on call centers, chatbots serve as an excellent service to cut the amount your organization is paying to train and staff those centers. With chatbots, you’re also reassured your customers are getting the same information, which isn’t always the case with an actual customer representatives answering questions.
Chatbots can also help reduce the number of inquiries coming into call centers. Because many of the questions customers have required a basic answer, they may not need or want to spend time talking to an actual person. Research from Botworx, a California-based creator of AI technology, suggests that call centers can reduce activity by 15 percent by implementing chatbots.
Another benefit? Some customers may actually look at this service as a perk, which could also help on your customer loyalty side. Increasingly, people are turning toward technology to address their everyday needs, so why not let that experience be replicated in the credit card processing experience? For basic tasks and routine questions, chatbots can save a lot of time, money and resources.
The downside in these cases comes when there isn’t a simple answer to a question, when there isn’t a simple type of payment to be processed — or when there is a security risk involved. Because chatbots are so new in the payments ecosystem, there may be vulnerabilities across credit card processing platforms linked to a system that relies on a chatbot to conduct the interaction between the business and the customer.
In the case where the interaction between the chatbot and the customer goes awry, without an actual human managing the relationship, a negative experience could develop. Not to mention the security risk if the chatbot wasn’t able to recognize fraudulent activity. Companies also need to be transparent with people when using a chatbot, otherwise, trust issues may be created.
These reasons alone should make businesses determine where chatbots make sense for their company, and where it’s best to just stick to an old-fashioned relationship. In any instance, chatbots can provide plenty of benefits, but they should not be viewed as a way to replace human interaction altogether.
Like most things in payments innovation and credit card processing, all new technologies have an immense amount of opportunities, but also a number of limitations. To determine where chatbots fit into your customer relationship formula, think about finding a balance between convenience, cost and security and never sacrifice one for another.
Anna Kragie is a content contributor for Payline Data. She previously wrote for PYMNTS.com, as a Sr. Content Producer, where she focused on financial services and payments innovation, fraud and security, emerging payments, and FinTech news, research and thought-leadership content across the payments industry.