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Get instant access to various banking services and information via Standard Bank’s Chatbot on WhatsApp

28 July 2021 Standard Bank

Standard Bank South Africa says that customer can access a broad range of products, services and information via its WhatsApp-based chatbot following recent updates made to the solution.

Get quotes for different types of insurance cover and submit claims

The insurance cover and claims capability that has been enabled on the Standard Bank Chatbot on WhatsApp is an industry first for sub-Saharan Africa.

Standard Bank says that the insurance capability, which was launched just over a month ago, has already received positive uptake with around 3 000 claims submitted through its chatbot on WhatsApp, ranging from funeral to death and disability and retrenchment claims.

Standard Bank first launched its chatbot on WhatsApp in April last year to keep its customers up to date with its services, debt relief offerings and other important information relevant during the COVID-19 period.

“If you are looking for information around COVID-19, it’s still there for you but now, anyone can access the bot for a quick insurance quote, for example, to ensure they are covered in the event of a loss. We’ve taken out the hassle out of the claims process so that it’s one less thing to worry about,” explains Deepesh Thomas, Head of Innovation Center of Excellence at Standard Bank.

Within the chat interface, users can access information around insurance, get quotes, view their premium to make an informed decision.

Conduct everyday banking

Standard Bank, says that in the last year, the chatbot has evolved to become much more comprehensive and personalised, providing a familiar destination for customers to access product information, request call-backs, conduct digital banking, and release overseas funds among other useful features

Around 300 000 South Africans have interacted with the chatbot following its initial launch.

Users can also read latest news items, check the status of other digital banking platforms and provide feedback on the spot.

Access useful tools and calculators

Thomas says that the feedback provided informs which features are added to the bot next and that we continue to respond to customers’ needs. “For example, many people have asked for tools and calculators to calculate their estimated premiums when taking a product, which we have now included.”

Standard Bank is also integrating its LookSee home loans tool into the chatbot, which will incorporate a bond calculator, and the ability to compare purchase prices of an area with call back function, which will ease the process of buying a property.

Meeting people where they are most comfortable

Thomas adds that the chatbot is supporting customers by giving them relevant tools and information in a simplified format that they already know how to use. In keeping in line with limiting movement during the pandemic rather than going to a branch to submit a funeral claim, which many people do, they can submit on their phones and on a familiar platform.

“WhatsApp is a digital platform that most South Africans are familiar with; it’s convenient and easy to understand and consumes less data than content-rich websites. In everything we do, we are cognisant of data and how it is consumed. This means that the chatbot is bringing wider accessibility to relevant banking tools as it reduces some of the barriers to entry.”

Standard Bank says it is currently working on more features to incorporate airtime, data electricity, and vouchers, which it expects to become a popular feature as people become more comfortable with making those purchases digitally.

“The Standard Bank Chatbot on WhatsApp demonstrates the “immense strides we have taken to harness technology to drive more integrated solutions that meet the customer where they are most comfortable, therefore providing wider access to financial services that will unlock financial wellbeing for a greater number of customers”.

Quick Polls

QUESTION

As National Treasury mulls a two-bucket retirement system, mandatory contributions and preservation, regulation 28 is being amended to allow up to 40% of retirement fund assets to be invested in SA-based infrastructure… Which of the following retirement fund ‘tweaks’ would you consider most beneficial to your clients?

ANSWER

Give fund members emergency access to retirement savings
Let fund members invest 40% in infrastructure
Let fund members invest 40% offshore
Mandatory preservation when resigning from a fund
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