In brief

In brief

  • Read how Indian banks can harness AI-enabled conversational banking to remain relevant in the digital landscape.
  • Leading banks in India were quick to catch on to the global trend of deploying CUIs, but they’re losing steam.
  • Indian banks have a unique opportunity to go beyond nascent chatbots and shift to AI-enabled conversational banking.
  • This shift will entail an organization-wide change in mindset that requires new skills, new operating models and New IT.

The era of ai-powered conversational banking

The exponential growth of Conversational User Interfaces (CUIs) like messaging apps, bots and voice-enabled devices has significantly impacted consumers’ lives and changed the way they live and act. This is backed by the fast-approaching dawn of Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs), which enable direct communication between the brain and a computer to support ‘human-like’ interaction between machines and customers. As a result, banking services have become much more intuitive and intelligent – both to customers and employees. They’re designed for a more natural mode of human communication – using text or voice to engage in a dialog rather than clicking and scrolling through content.

CUIs are just one example of the infinite possibilities of AI in banking. According to the Accenture Banking Technology Vision 2019, as AI evolves to offer cognitive capabilities that can sense, understand, act, and learn, AI-powered bots will interact far more naturally with both customers and employees.

Opening new gateways in Indian banking

A few leading banks in India have already taken cues from their global counterparts and are at the nascent stage of adopting CUIs. HDFC Bank’s chatbot Eva, Kotak Mahindra Bank’s bilingual virtual assistant, Keya, and Axis Bank’s AI-powered assistant Axix Aha, are popular examples.

While the first wave of adoption came in strong and led to Indian banks deploying bots, largely for query resolution, there has been little evolution since – both in design and use cases. Without a strategic focus on AI adoption, banks in India are losing out on the opportunity to capture exponential value across the customer lifecycle and unlock trapped efficiency.

Seventy-nine percent bankers believe AI will become a co-worker, collaborator and trusted advisor in 2 years, as per the Accenture Banking Technology Vision 2019. They predict machines to be the next “face” of the organization.

Setting the stage for conversational banking in India

Conversational banking warrants a paradigm shift in the way banks operate – it entails New IT (for example, AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data), new skills and a new operating model. With execution challenges threatening to impede the real potential of conversational banking, it is imperative for banks to have the right implementation approach and business model.

Key steps for making conversational banking a reality:

Create a conversational banking strategy
The first step for banks is to identify appropriate use cases and choose areas of maximum impact in terms of customer value and rate of return. They will need to deploy a range of bots – including application bots, mail bots, credit bots and recon bots – simultaneously or in quick succession to tap the full benefits of the transformational technology.

Design a framework and roadmap
A clearly defined framework will help banks systematically shift toward the effective use of AI for building conversational banking capabilities. The roadmap will help prioritize use cases, along with putting in place knowledge and content repositories, and training to enable intelligent bots.

Build AI capabilities
Banks need to build three sets of capabilities. First, they must focus on a core data management platform that consolidates their structured and unstructured data. Second, banks need to set up an AI workbench that brings together the core AI technologies. Third, they must build products for specific use cases to resolve discreet business challenges.

Focus on the missing enablers
While multiple banks have experimented with limited AI plays like chatbot, they are yet to see substantial returns. This is because they’re overlooking investment in enablers around training data, content and algorithms. Acquiring skills for these roles will be a challenge.

Re-imagine the operating model and internal culture
Banks will need to reinvent their operating model to accommodate CUIs that’re powered by teams comprising humans and bots. This will mean completely new skills around managing AI – skills to train, explain and sustain AI.

Conversational banking is here to stay

Conversational banking promises a considerable upside for banks amid intense competition and gives them an opportunity to become part of the everyday life of their customers. Our experience with global banks shows conversational banking can accelerate revenue growth by 25 percent and reduce costs by up to 30 percent. Contact the Accenture team to know how your organization can cash in on the conversational banking advantage. Download our report to know how banks in India can reduce the conversational divide and reinvent to remain relevant in the AI-powered future.


Estimated turnaround time improvement in asset processing.


Estimated FTE optimization in call center.


Estimated improvement in fraud detection and collection.

Sonali Kulkarni

Managing Director – Financial Services, Accenture in India

Pranav Arora

Managing Director – Financial Services, Accenture in India


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