In a few years, we’ll be doing most of our financial chores over chat. Wells Fargo has joined the many banks making a dive into artificial intelligence with their Wells Fargo chatbot for Facebook Messenger. The company started an AI team in February and soon hopes to help customers with basic tasks over automated conversation.
The bot is currently still in-progress, with the bank piloting it with “several hundred employees,” but the company has made plans to extends testing to “a few thousand customers later this spring.” This means we might see the unnamed bot within the year!
Wells Fargo’s new bot will allows users to obtain account information like their account balances or the nearest bank ATM. Forgetful customers can also reset passwords through the bot and ask common questions or service issues. Surprisingly, there’s nothing online about whether or not the bot will have money transfer services. Money transfer has been the main feature for so many other bank and finance chatbots like Capital One’s Eno or Western Union’s bot. Steve Ellis, head of Wells Fargo’s Innovation Group, says in a press statement that the bot will create “more personalized services” and “bring those services directly to our customers.”
It sounds like Wells Fargo’s bot will be most useful to those who don’t want to comb through online websites, not customers who want to do any exceptional tasks. Ellis continues: “Our goal is to deliver information ‘in the moment’ to help customers make better informed financial decisions. AI technology allows us to take an experience that would have required our customers to navigate through several pages on our website, and turn it into a simple conversation in a chat environment.”
While we’re not completely sure that the services will be equipping customers for “better informed financial decisions” (if anything, wouldn’t quicker access to an ATM potentially fuel worse decisions?), the bot comes in as a convenient way to reach out to the company’s prominent Facebook audience. The bank adopted Messenger as its main Facebook channel spring of last year to address “customers’ common questions and service issues.” Since users are already on the platform, incorporating a bot feels like a very natural and intuitive step.
The offerings are very simple, and as a result there are fewer concerns about safety and privacy we had with other financial bots.
What do you think about Wells Fargos upcoming chatbot? Is it something you’d use for yourself? Let us know in the comments below.