The impact of chat banking on Zenith Bank’s digitalization journey

Explore the impact of chat banking on Zenith Bank’s digital transformation strategy and how it has streamlined customer service and made banking more convenient.

Content Marketing Expert

Marthinus Jansen Van Vuuren

Content Marketing Expert

In the ever-evolving world of finance, chat banking is revolutionizing how financial institutions interact with their customers. As the digital landscape grows and becomes more accessible to customers, they expect a seamless and connected banking experience that places the world at their fingertips.

We sat down with Chudi Ibemere, Head of E-Business at Nigeria’s Zenith Bank, to discuss why chat banking is becoming so popular and how it has become an essential tool for banks looking to connect with their consumers.

Keep reading to discover why chat banking is becoming so important and how banks use it to reach tech-savvy customers, ultimately transforming the financial services industry.

What is chat banking?

Chat banking provides various services that leverage instant messaging platforms to personalize the customer experience. Think of it as an interactive bridge between banks and their customers.

An increasing number of banks are embracing platforms like WhatsApp Business Platform for a wide range of transactions and interactions, from opening accounts and bill payments to facilitating seamless money transfers to providing account statements and offering customer service assistance.

But chat banking extends far beyond financial transactions. It also enables services like general account services and credit card activation. The essence of chat banking lies in integrating digital banking customer support and account management into a conversational experience, capturing the essence of customer-centric financial services in the digital age.

Now that we have a better understanding of what chat banking is all about let’s find out why it’s important.

Why is chat banking important?

Chat banking elevates customer service to unprecedented heights in an era where consumers stay loyal to brands that understand and serve their unique needs.

The importance of chat banking lies in its positive impact on customer interactions, resulting in deeper connections beyond transactional exchanges. Other benefits include:

  • Streamlining processes lowering operational costs.
  • Cultivating brand loyalty through faster, conversational service delivery.
  • Robust data security and privacy, as chat banking channels often employ security measures like end-to-end encryption and mobile verification solutions
  • Collecting customer data from interactions paves the way for further personalized, conversational services, enhancing overall customer satisfaction.

Why Zenith Bank signed up for chat banking

During our chat with Chudi Ibemere, he repeated the sentiments of Zenith Bank’s CEO, who firmly believes that today’s customers are no longer loyal to the brand. They are more concerned with the experience they get.

This is why we provide an enhanced experience for our customer on a platform where they can reach out and talk to us in their native or natural language. It especially resonates with the youthful generation because it’s natural and easy for them to converse as if chatting with a friend while you’re actually talking to your bank and getting responses on it.

Chudi Ibemere

Head of E-Business at Zenith Bank

The bank successfully introduced chat banking through WhatsApp Business Platform. Their chatbot, named ZiVA, allows customers to engage in real-time conversations with the bank, make inquiries, and seamlessly conduct financial transactions. All of this is available 24/7 on their favorite messaging app.

Zenith Bank uses chat banking to meet and adapt to shifting customer expectations. They want every chat to be positive and helpful.

By using ZiVA, Zenith customers can:

  • Open new accounts
  • Receive instant notifications
  • Check their account balance
  • Transfer funds
  • Top up airtime
  • Confirm cheques
  • Pay bills
  • Apply for loans

Learn how Zenith Bank reduced costs and increased reach with WhatsApp Business Platform.

Reaching the next generation

Ibemere is particularly passionate about chat banking’s ability to make banking more accessible to younger customers. They get to engage in conversations with the bank as easily as chatting to a friend.

The younger generation finds conversational chat banking appealing because it provides accessibility that traditional banking methods don’t usually offer.

Conversational banking will continue to evolve and become more common in financial services, satisfying customers who prefer to communicate in their natural language. We believe it will be one of the key drivers for changing the banking landscape over the next five years.

Chudi Ibemere

Head of E-Business at Zenith Bank

The rise of chat banking doesn’t mean mobile banking apps are going away. Ibemere believes they still have an essential role to play in everyday tasks.

For example, while it may be possible to leave the house without a plastic card, consumers cannot afford to be without their mobile device, highlighting the enduring relevance of mobile banking.

How WhatsApp and chat apps are transforming banking

Ibemere explains how adding WhatsApp and chat apps to banking isn’t just about changing how transactions work – it’s about reshaping the banking industry. With chat banking, customers can do much more than typical financial tasks thanks to its accessible and user-friendly environment.

Adding automation into these conversations speeds up processes and enhances efficiency. And when queries or interactions become too complex for the bot, customers are transferred to human agents to solve any issues while maintaining the human touch.

Mixing automation with personal interaction speeds up digital transformation and brings in more customers. It’s a fast-moving change that’s all about living up to customer expectations while staying at the forefront of the digital era.

Learn more about conversational and chat banking and its benefits.

Staying compliant with chat banking

Achieving compliance in chat banking may seem complicated, requiring a tricky balance between following regulations and simplifying the customer journey. Ibemere says the challenge lies in navigating through various compliance frameworks.

We are not in the business of compliance or control trying to do banking. So our first goal and objective is to do banking, but we have to do it within the confines of compliance and regulation.

Chudi Ibemere

Head of E-Business at Zenith Bank

Verifying customers while protecting sensitive information requires a multi-pronged approach. Zenith Bank deals with this by implementing stringent authentication measures, reducing transaction limits, and continuously enhancing security protocols.

Zenith Bank understands that compliance is an ongoing process due to rules and regulations constantly changing. As a result, they need to stay alert to ensure a secure and compliant banking environment.

You have to comply with the GDPR. Then, you also have the issue of regulation, and regulators will possibly bring out changes that will affect how we converse. Then, within the conversation, you also need to add layers of security to ensure the transactions carried out are with a verified customer. So there are many things which we have to adhere to.

Chudi Ibemere

Head of E-Business at Zenith Bank

Protecting personal information while maintaining authenticity in conversations with customers is important. With GDPR compliance as a cornerstone, Zenith Bank authenticates users and ensures they store and retrieve data securely. This meticulous approach builds trust and safeguards their interests in the event of any disputes.

As Ibemere looks ahead, he foresees a mobile-driven future with intuitive platforms to empower customers to conduct transactions seamlessly when and wherever they want.

Infobip x Zenith: A fusion of expertise

Zenith values their partnership with Infobip, highlighting our synergy in delivering a seamless communication chain throughout the digitalization journey.

You can’t do business as a bank without technology, and Infobip are the ones bringing the technology. They have been in the trenches with us right from the moment when our focus was on corporate banking. Now that we’ve diversified our business into the retail sector, Infobip is still with us. It’s a beautiful marriage, a fusion of expertise.

Chudi Ibemere

Head of E-Business at Zenith Bank

Infobip has played a crucial role in Zenith Bank’s success with conversational banking. Their CPaaS solutions have been instrumental in implementing initiatives like WhatsApp banking.

Zenith Bank is exploring new frontiers in advancing technology and digital payments. Through our partnership, they look to expand their messaging security features and particularly in delivering one-time pin codes (OTPs) via WhatsApp and the adoption of Rich Communication Service (RCS) to enhance the customer experience.

Our collaboration goes beyond the conventional, opening doors to innovative solutions. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Feb 27th, 2024
6 min read
Content Marketing Expert

Marthinus Jansen Van Vuuren

Content Marketing Expert