How Conversational AI Is Transforming CX & Lead Capture in Financial Services 

Meeting consumers where they are is becoming more critical, as is being ready to provide personalized, responsive service at the moments that matter. But one big challenge is that a human isn’t always available when a consumer reaches out to a financial services organization.  

Consumers often manage their financial needs in the evenings after they’re done with their own work. For example, roughly 50% of mortgage leads come in outside operating hours. The other issue is unpredictable volume: staff might be busy helping other customers and unable to take a new inquiry.  

But consumers often aren’t willing to wait. They judge the lack of prompt response as poor service and take their business elsewhere. Or, just as likely, they’re shopping around—and will go with the first business to respond to their needs. 

This is where conversational AI tools have transformed the CX world. Forrester says 7 in 10 companies have invested in offering an AI chatbot—up from just 15% in 2018. Yet there’s a disconnect in terms of what consumers want from conversational AI—and what many of these AI tools actually deliver: Research shows consumers increasingly prefer AI chatbots to other digital channels of communication. However, half of consumers say their conversational AI experiences end in frustration. 

Verse, a Total Expert Marketplace partner, is one innovative tech vendor pushing conversational AI ahead of consumer expectations. How? By bringing in the critical element of human expertise to complement the incredible capabilities of state-of-the-art AI. We sat down with Damien Swendsen, SVP of Revenue at Verse, to talk about how financial services organizations should be thinking about how conversational AI can directly solve some of their biggest pain points and drive measurable outcomes that align with some of their biggest strategic objectives. 

When it comes to engaging and nurturing leads, what key challenges does Verse’s conversational AI solution solve?  

We believe that Verse represents the future of engaging and nurturing leads. It solves challenges with staffing, budget, and time—three big ones, I would say, for any company. Our platform solves for human time as well as human error with immediate lead response—at any time—plus, automated lead follow-up. So, your leads don’t have to wait for a response, no matter the time of day—and no lead is ever left behind. While a salesperson might give up after one or two calls, our AI nurtures leads for up to six months.

Verse ensures salespeople aren’t wasting their time. Our platform does the work that salespeople don’t want to do—engaging every lead, following up, and qualifying those leads. We hand your salespeople warm leads that want to talk.

This is important stuff. According to a lead response management study, data shows that leads are 21x more likely to convert if they are contacted within five minutes of filling out a form. Even after just an hour, the likelihood of successfully contacting a lead drops by 10x. People just aren’t willing to wait: We also know that 50% of leads will choose the organization that contacts them first. So, Verse enables companies not only to save time and money but win more deals and generate more revenue.

We also continue to nurture leads that aren’t ready to buy. Studies also show that nurtured leads make purchases 47% larger than non-nurtured leads.

Do any specific shifts in the market create new challenges for conversational AI?  

We all know about the regulations around calling or spamming people and how there are laws to curtail those practices. Now, we’re seeing both the government and private companies like Google and Yahoo increase communication regulations.  

In February, they started enforcing new rules around emailing customers who use their email accounts. Thresholds of 0.3% for spam rates, authentication barriers, and easy opt-outs are forcing senders to be more diligent around their communication, and those same companies are now looking for other compliant ways to engage with their prospects and customers. Many are looking to the most effective form of communication today—texting—as a possible solution. 

Verse provides a solution that capitalizes on the power of texting and solves the compliance problem. Our expert team handles compliance for our customers, allowing them to communicate with customers according to their preferences without worry. 

Why are Total Expert and Verse partnering?  

First, we wanted to partner with an industry leader who knows and understands the nuances and intricacies of our customers’ challenges. It’s hard to find a partner who simply “gets it” from the start. 

Our solutions are so perfectly complementary. The Total Expert platform helps companies manage customer engagement holistically, and the Verse solution brings together a whole new way of engagement, which is a turnkey, AI + human texting solution. Integrating Verse into the Total Expert platform will carry engagement even further than we could separately. 

What differentiates the Verse solution from others in the market? Where do the do-it-yourself SMS setups fall short? What are the implications for the organization?  

One of Verse’s biggest differentiators is the compliance suite. Texting is the number one channel for customer communication, preferred by 90% of customers. But businesses don’t do it. Why? Because of compliance. It’s too complicated to solve for yourself. 

The stakes are high: non-compliance can lead to lawsuits in the tens of millions of dollars, not to mention the trust lost with customers. 

Verse puts our expert compliance team on your side. We ensure and enable compliance for all of our customers, conducting manual reviews and audits, setting up your A2P registration, obtaining your Trust Score from TCR, and ensuring you have caller ID so your calls never show up as spam.  

In addition, we monitor your deliverability and opt-out rates. Many companies struggle to see their deliverability rates, but we can, and we’ll let you know. Our end goal is to enable customer success, so we guide our customers—not just on how to be compliant but also on how to be effective. 

How does the Verse integration solve for common gaps seen with other solutions like DIY setups? 

The Verse platform is a fully managed solution. We handle the integration for you. That’s very different than most other solutions, which may not be fully managed and can take months upon months to integrate properly. Our team ensures that integration is easy, quick, and compliant.  

Again, compliance is very risky to tackle yourself with a DIY setup. I’ll tell you right now: There are more bases to cover with compliance than you think. With Verse, compliance is built in and monitored by experts. 

Lastly, we integrate with Total Expert, so you can see Verse’s full reporting and real-time analytics right from your CRM.

What success stories can you share around ROI—and how Verse helps with risk mitigation and operational inefficiencies?  

 The average Verse customer sees a 16x ROI. As for a recent customer story, we helped Acra Lending boost their response rates by 133% with 24/7 lead coverage and instant text engagement. 

One of the main operational inefficiencies that our platform combats is saving time for salespeople. Human capital is a valuable resource, but sales teams often spend too much time chasing unqualified leads. Verse solves that problem by qualifying leads for sales. Plus, we take action quickly. When there aren’t enough salespeople to contact leads quickly, our AI is there to respond immediately. This has limitless potential for ROI. 

Verse’s compliance suite is a game-changer in terms of risk mitigation. Companies that don’t know what they’re doing with compliance are risking millions of dollars and consumer trust. Those are risks you don’t want to take. 

How do I learn more about Verse and their partnership with Total Expert? 

You can learn more about the Verse integration here. 

And you can explore the full range of best-in-class vendor partners in the Total Expert Marketplace.