HDFC Bank takes conversational banking to the next level

Nitin Chugh, Country Head- Digital Banking, HDFC Bank
Nitin Chugh, Country Head- Digital Banking, HDFC Bank

Customer Experience is the single most differentiator in a highly competitive market, and banks like HDFC Bank are making sure that they understand their customer perfectly with the right messaging and information. As social media websites and apps are one of the most used platforms, it makes perfect sense for a bank to be part of the same platform that users are familiar with. For example, HDFC Bank, analyzed that more than 200 million users in India, were spending more than 2 hours daily on social media platforms. A major part of this user base belonged to users who were between 18 to 25 years old. The bank believed that there was a need to become part of the lifestyle of these users by being present on the social media platforms.

HDFC Bank observed that consumers often had to download separate apps for daily requirements like cab bookings, bill payments and other services. This had led to a cluttered mobile screen, which did not translate into a user-friendly experience. The bank started looking at options, and decided that Facebook Messenger was a perfect tool, that consumers could use for accessing the bank’s services, without the need for downloading an additional app.

Looking at these needs, the bank developed ‘HDFC Bank OnChat’, an AI based conversational platform on Facebook Messenger. The Messenger chatbot was integrated with HDFCBank OnChat Facebook page and hosted on Facebook Developers platform. The platform uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand a user’s intent based on free text input. A user just needs to chat with HDFC Bank OnChat to do any transaction.

Says Nitin Chugh, Country Head- Digital Banking, HDFC Bank, “We have seen a huge month-on-month growth in terms of the transaction value. With this platform, the ability to personalize a transaction is huge and we can offer a differentiated experience.”

A customer can recharge, pay utility bills, book a cab or book event and bus tickets directly from Facebook Messenger. The overall objective was to build a social banking channel that is based on conversational banking, free from any of the complicated menu based interface and provides its users with comprehensive set of services like e – commerce, banking, customer service etc.

The bank has developed the messaging bot with Niki.ai. The bot also facilitates bill payments for Utility, Postpaid, Prepaid mobile plans. Till date, more than 3,00,000 consumers have interacted with HFDC Bank OnChat and the value of transactions is close to Rs 2.5 crore.