Introduction to the Conversational Interfaces Blog Series

Kishor Nagula

As the cost of accessing the latest in machine learning and artificial intelligence drops, more and more organizations are depending on technology to reduce the cost and improve the quality of core business functions. By leveraging this technology in interactive conversations via conversational interfaces (CIs), customers across different demographics can now receive current, guided assistance, whether they want to know more about the latest agricultural practices or new financial services.

With the advent of these technologies, financial service providers (FSPs) are  digitizing more of the support and services that extend basic financial services to new and future customers, especially to last-mile customers. These technologies—data dissemination platforms, data collection and management tools, alternative credit scoring platforms, digital payment platforms, and e-learning platforms —have the potential to transform FSPs in the following ways:

  • Increase the number of potential customers that can access their services by building solutions that leverage the reach of mobile networks;
  • Decrease the cost of extending services to new and current customers by using low-cost digital tools and services;
  • And improve the accuracy of customer service through automation by using chatbots and conversational interfaces to handle customer inquiries.

Over the past few months, the Mastercard Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa (FiDA Partnership), delivered by Caribou Digital, has been investigating the role that one of these technologies—conversational interfaces—are playing to contribute to financial inclusion across Africa in three ways:

Over the next few weeks, FiDA will release the following blog posts highlighting our findings across different business considerations on the topic:

  • Key considerations when thinking about using a conversational interface: These three sub-posts, spread across a week, will highlight different design and revenue considerations for those building CIs.
  • Partnership considerations: This post will discuss the different knowledge gaps large organizations tend to have when considering using a conversational interface.
  • Future considerations: With different legislation and technologies emerging, this post looks at the role these might play in the future of conversational interfaces in emerging markets.

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