There’s a great challenge in the financial profession when it comes to gathering information from clients. Many advisers are left waiting for clients to fill out long, boring forms that ask more questions than are really needed.

As I say this, in recent years, there have been efforts to “digitalise” this process (building long, online enquiry forms), and of course that’s a bit better but is filling out a form online really faster than filling out a form on paper?

Have a think about this example; The other day on the bus home from work, I overheard another passenger chatting to a friend about their upcoming house move and how they had filled in an online form to start the process off (the dreaded fact-find). The form was huuuuuuuuuuge and took a while to fill, and sadly at the end of the process when they hit submit they lost data connection and all the data they had carefully entered into the form. Uh oh! Disaster!

When it comes to modern, online financial businesses, user experience should be a top priority and those types of forms suck.

In this article, I will be talking about moving away from the outdated methods of the past and moving into the simplistic technology of interactive and friendly chatbots.

So, what are chatbots?

Chatbots are a highly interactive way of collecting information that feels both modern and user friendly. They are the new kids on the block, and fill a much needed gap in day-to-day data collection. .

Why chatbots?

When filling out a form, I almost always see two main demanding statements: “This field is required” and “Make sure to fill out this field in as much detail as possible”. With chatbots, you can ask a friendly question that turns the requirement into a simple, nice request. I can’t be the only one who prefers “Hey, do you mind letting me know your contact number so we can call you” instead of “Enter your contact number (this field is required.)”.

Another problem with traditional paper-based and online forms are that they can be long and tiresome to fill out. Sometimes the length of them can put people off filling them out altogether! Take the average financial fact-find form for example; On A4 paper, it’s around 4-8 pages and online, it’s around 100+ questions! As a chat bot, it could be as simple as a couple of conversations.

Chatbots give you the freedom to turn long, scary forms into something much more user-friendly and digestible.

Chatbots have hundreds of benefits over traditional forms, but if we had to pick a few, we would say they excel because:

 

  • You have the ability to break down forms into multiple, friendly “conversations” which can be filled out in stages or at once.
  • You can automatically save information as the user progresses through the conversations. This solves issues such as losing connection part way through a form, like that person on the bus!
  • You have the ability to interact with modern financial services and APIs like insurance comparison engines for example.
  • You can make the form-filling experience more enjoyable and human-like. I’ve seen people use a chat bot thinking they were talking to a real person on the other end!

 

We really feel that chat-bots are going to completely revolutionise the way financial businesses gather client information. We’re so excited that we want to start “enabling” firms with easier ways to use chatbots and you might be interested in a little something we’ve been working on...