Status Data: Security and privacy in conversational banking

Learn the ins and outs of data security for conversational banking and how a partnership with Infobip can improve your offering to end-users from Stephen Gilmore of Status Data.

Content Marketing Specialist

Monika Karlović

Content Marketing Specialist

Personalized interactions have taken the front seat across industries over the last few years, and banking is no different.  

But banking interactions can contain very sensitive and confidential information that may halt banks as well as customers from jumping on the bandwagon of conversational chat apps.  

Stephen Gilmore, the owner of the data management company Status Data, is well acquainted with the challenges and concerns banks and their customers have around conversational banking, and has direct experience on how to mitigate the risks of data breaches and security. 

He provides insights into why chat apps and conversational banking can’t be ignored, and how sceptical businesses and customers can implement these personalized and data-rich communications with full compliancy.  

Watch the full interview here:

What role do chat apps play in conversational banking?

Traditionally, customer communication with banks was mainly done over voice call centers, email, or in-person interactions. These channels and solutions are not ideal for collecting data and reaching out to customers because of: 

  • Long wait times for call centers
  • Poor voice connections in certain regions
  • Scattered and unorganized data collection
  • Inconvenience for customers

Chat apps are a game changer.

Stephen Gilmore

Owner of Status Data

Chat apps remove the challenges surrounding call centers and provide a conversational solution to solving queries and getting in touch with customers. 

For example, which of these two scenarios would you most like to experience? 

Scenario 1:

You call your bank on your way home from work to activate your new credit card. 
The wait time to speak to a live agent is about 20 minutes, there are 8 people in front of you.  
On your commute you lose signal and the call drops. 
You have to call back and you’ve now lost your spot in the queue.  
The wait time is longer now, and all the agents are busy.  
You decide to call back later since you have plans after work.  
When you call back the next day you finally speak with an agent after a 30-minute wait and your card is activated.

Scenario 2:

You send your bank a WhatsApp message when you leave work to activate your new credit card.  
When you get home, you see you have received a message from your bank to provide some personal details to activate the card.  
You quickly respond and continue with your evening routine.  
You later see a message from your bank confirming that your card has been activated.  

With messaging channels like WhatsApp or Viber, customers can easily contact their bank at the most convenient time for them, get an immediate response, and solve their queries with ease. 

Chat apps can help banks: 

  • Speed up time to resolution 
  • Reduce costs on call centers 
  • Improve customer satisfaction 
  • Automate the collection of data 

Chat apps give way to conversational banking and are the natural next step in the evolution of customer experience, where personalization and convenience are key. 

What is the biggest compliance challenge in conversational banking?

As wonderful as conversational banking sounds, it comes with an array of challenges with the collection of personal data and how businesses can use that data. Compliance laws are put in place to protect customers and their privacy and help regulate how businesses communicate and use data they collect from digital interactions. 

Compliance laws and regulations may vary from place to place; South Africa has POPIA, Europe has GDPR, California has CCPA – and the list goes on. But one thing is consistent around the world, businesses must adhere to these laws to continue to communicate with customers and collect their data. 

Banks and financial institutions can lighten the stress surrounding these data compliance requirements by seeking a solution provider like Status Data that is fully compliant and can safely and securely manage sensitive customer information. 

But it goes further, Status Data must also rely on compliant partners like Infobip, if they are to offer banks secure and compliant messaging channels to communicate with customers and avoid relying on call centers. It becomes an orchestration of reliable and secure partnerships. 

So, working with experienced and compliant providers can help mitigate the challenges of adhering to regulations, but in hindsight, one of the biggest challenges lies in encouraging users to use messaging channels to communicate with their bank.

People have got the perception of data being leaked in the market, and then that trust factor becomes quite difficult. You’ve got to educate the consumer on the chat app before you can actually chat with them.

Stephen Gilmore

Owner of Status Data

In particularly regions like South Africa, where using chat apps for business messaging is relatively new, there needs to be a push to educate users about the benefits and safety of using these chat apps. In addition to voice, African banks usually use SMS as a messaging channel, but SMS cannot provide the same convenience and smooth experience in solving queries as chat apps can.

You get to a point in the conversation where you will ask for an account number, a copy of an ID or a bank statement, and the challenge is educating the user that it is safe to send personal information over a chat app.

Stephen Gilmore

Owner of Status Data

Gilmore highlights that with the right education and collaboration of stakeholders, the effort to onboard customers onto conversational chat apps is not far away. The success of conversational banking is already thriving in European countries, South America, India, and the Middle East. Status Data’s goal is to bring South African data and banking solutions to the forefront and accelerate the adoption of new technology and efficient but secure ways to use data in the region.

How can banks ensure data security and privacy with conversational banking?

Since banks deal with sensitive customer data regularly, they are accustomed to ensuring data privacy and security are at the forefront of their communication with end-users. Chatting over conversational apps like WhatsApp or Viber can be very convenient but many users still doubt that their data is secure.  

It comes back to education. Educating users is the key to encouraging them to better understand the chat app, its benefits, and how conversational banking is made safe. 

There are three main things banks should highlight when onboarding customers on to chat apps: 

  1. “All your data and personal information is stored safely” – customers need to know their banks use a secure data infrastructure, authentication and data loss prevention solutions to ensure all data collected is stored and used according to laws and regulations. 
  2. “Your conversation is completely private” – Chat apps keep your messages totally private. For example, WhatsApp chats are encrypted, and all messages are deleted from their servers after 30 days. 
  3. Delete chat history” – banks should encourage their users to delete sensitive conversations with their bank from chat apps. All the data is stored and accounted for safely on the bank’s end, but if a phone is lost or stolen, there is no way to ensure data won’t be leaked if it can be accessed through their cell phone. By deleting messages, users can enjoy the safety of conversational banking, and reduce the risk of anyone accessing their data through their own device.

Hosting and enriching customer data can’t be our core business; we’ve got to do more with our company to scale. And to do that, we have to be in the communications business.

We’ve got really good information on our customer’s customers – we know their delivery rates and who is using SMS, RCS, or email, so the next best thing to so would be to plug in a partner that we can do the messaging and communications through.

Stephen Gilmore

Owner of Status Data

By partnering with Infobip, an omnichannel solution provider, Status Data can plug in conversational channels to their services, and offer banks great data storage, delivery rates, and access to conversational banking channels.

It’s a perfect solution, it’s a working solution, and Infobip has very good technology stacks so we can integrate into many different customer systems. Partnering with Infobip will triple our revenue, so of course it’s a very important partnership.

Stephen Gilmore

Owner of Status Data

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Content Marketing Specialist

Monika Karlović

Content Marketing Specialist