You did it ! You attracted potential clients with an open-to-everyone Whatsapp contact number, and you now are engaging with a prospect that you want to convert to a client. According to the Whatsapp terms & conditions, communication is end-to-end encrypted, meaning that privacy is insured by data encryption between the prospect’s device and you – well at least until the gateway service you use to interface your Whatsapp-for-business account.

  • At which point do you decide that you need to transition from Whatsapp to a more secure channel?

  • As of when do you not only need to guarantee the privacy of the exchanged information for good, but also the integrity and the non-repudiation and traceability of the exchanged information ?

This must be clearly defined by you, depending on your local regulations and your risk appetite:

  • Do you only exchange publicly available information that could also be found on your public website ?

  • Do you exchange customer identifying data to enroll the prospect as a client ?

  • What about complete financial situations that helps you understand your prospect’s situation ?

  • Do you give already advice which products might suit best ?

  • Do you even accept orders or even transactions ?

All this must be clearly identified in your terms & conditions accepted by the prospect accept on Whatsapp, and probably, at one or another of these points you just have to decide that you have to transition the client to a channel that is 100% controlled by you, and which is a closed communication platform (commercial alert ! such as the conversational platform SecuChat).

As of that point, you need to convince both your staff and the prospect that it is in the best interest of everyone to use a secure instant messenger that is specially designed for the financial industry, and which has a convenient and secure activation on first use, a user-friendly authentication upon usage, and a simple re-activation if your prospect (and soon client!) has a new mobile phone.

Here are some more steps you might find useful to make the transition as easy as possible for your clients and your staff:

  • Explain the benefits: Start by explaining the benefits of using a secure chat platform, especially regarding convenience: execution of payments without callbacks, electronic signing of contracts without paper, one-click interactions with your portfolio.

  • Explain the consequences of non-compliance : there are ample examples of fines that have been issued to banks that did not ensure the traceability of critical exchanges with their customers, and they sum up to a couple of billions in the US alone. It is unfortunate, but non-compliance with clear rules must have immediate and tangible personal consequences, this to enforce the rules in place and to protect your organization from liabilities.

  • Seamlessly integrate the transition in the user journey of your prospect who becomes client. One possibility could be to have the prospect download the secure messenger, and handle the KYC & identification process through it : the channel becomes identified and authenticated alongside the prospect.

  • Provide training and support: Offer training and support to help your staff and your clients get started with the tool. Provide clear instructions, answer any questions they may have, and provide resources such as tutorials or guides.

  • Integrate the secure channel closely with the tools that the advisors use anyhow : the customer relationship management (CRM) system, the workflow management system or the client lifecycle management (CLM) system.

  • Keep an alternative communication channel open: Make sure to keep alternative communication channels like standard phone calls open and respond promptly to any questions or concerns your clients may have during the transition process. Make sure not to create security breaches by doing so !

Overall, the consciousness of the need that a transition to a secure messaging system has to be made, is as important as determining the policy of when exactly it has to be done and how this in implemented in a smooth and successful process.

And now go engage with your client 😊

SecuChat is available as a white-labeled app that can be adjusted to your corporate design and logo, as well as an SDK, that can be integrated into an already existing environment (such as web or mobile banking).

Integrations and synchronizations are possible with database such as active directory and single-sign-on solutions (SSO). SecuChat can be hosted on premise (with all data on your own server directly under your control) or in a private or preferred cloud space. When integrated with and to other external systems such as CRMs or core banking systems, the complexity of the integration process increases, which implies a longer implementation period, as more analysis is necessary to refine the requirements for the integration with the ecosystem of the bank.

Although it is generally very difficult to predict an exact or even approximative timeframe for an implementation, the following exemplary Timeframes can serve for rough orientation :

  • White labelled stand-alone version: 1-2 months integration time

  • Integration in existing ecosystem: 6-12 months incl project initiation to delivery

Signatures play a crucial role in authentication, verification, and legal recognition of documents and agreements. In times of increasing digitization of processes, electronic signatures are ideal for signing documents with clients, partners and even within your organization during KYC processes, authentication or legally accepting an offer.

What, in an analogue process, always comes down to the same combinated use of a pen and is verified through your own handwriting is a bit more complex to emulate digitally: Some processes just require a simple approval, a ‘check’ mark, whereas other more legally binding actions have to be ensured by what is called an advanced or even qualified electronic signature. While the terms “simple,” “advanced,” and “qualified” signatures might not be universally standardized, they generally refer to different levels of authentication and security associated with digital or electronic signatures. Below is a general explanation of these terms:

1) Simple Signature:

A simple signature, also known as a basic electronic signature, is the most basic form of electronic signature. It typically involves a digital representation of a person’s handwritten signature or an “OK” button, which is applied to a document using electronic means.

Simple signatures are often used for informal agreements and documents where the primary concern is to establish the signer’s intent. They may not provide the highest level of security and authentication and might not be legally recognized in all jurisdictions for important documents, but are in most cases sufficient to prove another one’s consent.

2) Advanced Signature:

An advanced electronic signature goes beyond the basic level of authentication and offers additional security measures. It often involves more complex cryptographic techniques to ensure the integrity of the signed document and the identity of the signer. Advanced signatures may involve the use of digital certificates issued by a trusted certification authority. They are generally more secure and are more likely to be legally accepted for a wider range of documents and transactions.

The standard version of SecuChat has its own advanced signature included among its functionalities.

It can be used for the following use cases:

  • e-Signature of PDF documents with digital certificate

  • two factor user authenication

  • Guarantee of document integrity

  • Timestamping

  • Signing on Mobile

3) Qualified Signature:

A qualified electronic signature has is the highest level of electronic signature according to certain legal frameworks, such as the European Union’s eIDAS Regulation, or Switzerland’s ZertES. A qualified signature is created using a qualified electronic signature creation device and is backed by a qualified certificate issued by a qualified trust service provider, such as offered by Swisscom or LuxTrust, for example. Qualified signatures have the same legal status as handwritten signatures and are considered highly secure and reliable for legal transactions. They can be connected and integrated within SecuChat.

Qualified signatures are typically used for important and legally binding documents or transactions that require the highest level of security, authenticity, and legal recognition. These signatures are particularly relevant in the context of electronic signatures within the European Union (EU) and its member states, where they are defined and regulated by the eIDAS Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 910/2014).

Some common use cases include:

  • Legal Contracts and Agreements: Qualified signatures are suitable for signing legally binding contracts, agreements, and documents that hold significant legal and financial implications. This could include agreements related to real estate transactions, employment contracts, loan agreements, and more.

  • Financial Transactions: Transactions involving financial institutions, such as opening bank accounts, authorizing electronic fund transfers, and signing loan documents, may require the use of qualified signatures to ensure the security and authenticity of the process.

  • Government Transactions: Qualified signatures are often used for government-related transactions, such as submitting tax returns, applying for licenses, permits, or certifications, and participating in government tenders.

  • Healthcare and Medical Records: In healthcare contexts, qualified signatures can be used to sign medical records, prescriptions, and other medical documents that need to be securely signed by authorized personnel.

  • Notarizations: Qualified signatures can be used for digital notarizations, allowing notaries to electronically notarize documents, thereby enhancing the efficiency and security of the notarization process.

  • Regulated Industries: Certain industries that are subject to strict regulatory compliance, such as pharmaceuticals and aerospace, may use qualified signatures to ensure the integrity of critical documents and compliance with regulations.

  • Intellectual Property: Documents related to intellectual property rights, such as patents and copyright assignments, may require qualified signatures to establish legal ownership and authenticity.

SecuChat offers the option of qualified signatures by partners LuxTrust and Swisscom, but is basically able to integrate any signature solution that can be connected via API.

Mobile banking and conversational banking are both ways of doing banking, but they differ in their interfaces and user interactions.
Let’s explore their key characteristics:

Mobile banking refers to the use of a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, to access and manage your bank accounts and carry out financial transactions. It involves using a dedicated mobile banking app provided by the bank or a mobile-optimised website.

Typically, regular mobile banking includes the following features and capabilities, that are typically accessible by clicking on dedicated tabs within the app:

  • Access to account balances and transaction history.

  • Transfers between accounts within the same bank or to other banks.

  • Bill payments and mobile top-ups.

  • Deposit cheques via mobile image capture.

  • Card management, including blocking and unblocking.

  • Mobile wallets and digital payments.

  • Loan applications and other banking services.

Method of interaction: Mobile banking relies primarily on touch-based interactions, where users navigate through the application interface by tapping, swiping and typing. Some mobile banking applications may include basic voice commands for specific functions, but the primary input method is touch-based and structured through a rigid navigation.

Conversational banking, also known as chat banking or voice banking, involves the use of natural language conversations to interact with either a human, virtual assistant or chatbot provided by the bank. It allows users to perform banking tasks by typing or speaking their queries and commands in everyday language, similar to how they would speak to a human bank representative.

In general, conversational banking should cover all banking needs, like mobile banking, but currently most banks add this method to their already existing standard mobile or web banking as an organic method for :

  • Balance enquiries and transaction history.

  • Transfers and payments.

  • Account and transaction queries.

  • Financial advice and product recommendations.

  • Personalized banking assistance.

Method of interaction: Besides a 1-on-1 human dialogue through text, audio or video chat, conversational banking relies on natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to understand and respond to user input. Users can interact with the human or  virtual assistant through messaging platforms such SecuChat, SMS, dedicated banking apps with chat support, or in some cases even voice-activated smart speakers such as Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Key differences:

Interface: Mobile banking uses a dedicated app or mobile website interface, while conversational banking involves communicating through a platform (chat, audio, video) with either a virtual assistant through natural language conversations or a human advisor.

Input method: Mobile banking relies primarily on touch-based interactions, while conversational banking allows users to type or speak their queries and commands in natural language.

Complexity: Mobile banking offers a wide range of features and functions, including complex transactions, while conversational banking tends to focus on simpler, everyday banking tasks.

Contextual understanding: Conversational banking requires a higher level of AI-driven contextual understanding to correctly interpret and respond to user queries.

In summary, mobile banking provides a comprehensive banking experience through a dedicated app or mobile website, with defined functionalities and workflows. Conversational banking enables transactions triggered through natural language with a focus on interactions with a human advisor, virtual assistant or chatbot ranging from basic to more complex banking tasks.

The technology stack of SecuChat comprises a combination of powerful tools and frameworks that enable its secure communication platform. Here’s an overview of SecuChat’s technology stack:

  • Back-end/API: SecuChat utilizes Java with Spring Boot, a popular framework that provides a robust and scalable foundation for the back-end development.

  • Web Front-end: The web front-end of SecuChat is built using ReactJS, a widely adopted JavaScript library known for its flexibility and efficient rendering of dynamic user interfaces.

  • Mobile Applications: SecuChat employs native technologies for its mobile applications. On Android we code in Kotlin while on iOS, SWIFT is utilized. These native approaches ensure optimal performance and seamless integration with the respective mobile platforms.

  • Full-text Search and Content Extraction: SecuChat leverages Elastic search, a powerful search engine, for enabling efficient full-text search functionality. Additionally, Tika, a content analysis toolkit, is employed to assist in extracting information from various file formats, facilitating effective indexing and searching within the application.

  • Databases: SecuChat supports multiple databases for data storage and management. The options include PostgreSQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server, providing reliable and secure storage solutions.

  • Deployment: SecuChat’s deployment process revolves around Docker containers, which package applications and their dependencies for easy portability and consistent deployment. SecuChat supports Kubernetes and OpenShift for container orchestration and management, ensuring scalability and operational efficiency. However, it’s worth noting that SecuChat can also deploy Docker containers on machines without container management, offering deployment flexibility.

Asynchronous communication refers to a method of exchanging messages or information where individuals can communicate without the need for immediate or real-time interaction. Unlike synchronous communication, which includes phone calls or face-to-face conversations, asynchronous communication allows participants to engage at their convenience, without requiring simultaneous availability.

When it comes to client engagement, asynchronous communication offers several advantages that can enhance the overall experience, through the entire lifecycle of the client. Here are some key benefits:

  • Flexibility and Convenience: Asynchronous communication methods provide clients with the flexibility to contact their bank at their convenience. Clients can send their queries or concerns outside of regular business hours, knowing that a response will be provided when a bank representative is available.
  • No Lost Client Engagements During Peaks: Synchronous channels have staffing needs based on peak times. Insufficient staffing can lead to lost customer engagements and increased frustration. Asynchronous communication allows for the smoothing and stretching of peaks by addressing a portion of the inquiries with slight delays during off-peak hours. This ensures that all clients will receive a response, albeit some slightly later.
  • No Active Waiting Required: Unlike phone calls or personal conversations, asynchronous communication eliminates the need for customers to actively wait in queues or on hold. Waiting in line can be frustrating, especially during peak times. With asynchronous communication, clients can send their inquiries or requests and continue with their daily activities. They are then alerted when a response becomes available. This also applies to bank representatives trying to reach out to a client. The asynchronous handling of communication reduces frustration and saves valuable time for both customers and bank representatives.
  • Thoughtful and Detailed Responses: Asynchronous communication allows bank representatives to carefully consider and craft their responses. They have the opportunity to gather necessary information, consult relevant resources, and provide more detailed and accurate answers to customer queries. Additionally, it is possible to assist with automation by suggesting a “next-best answer” that the agent can review before sending. This enhances the quality of customer service and ensures that clients receive comprehensive solutions to their problems.
  • Documentation and Reference: The very nature of asynchronous communication methods ensures that there are written records of interactions between customers and the bank. This is beneficial for both parties as it ensures accurate documentation and the ability to easily reference important details later on. The traceability of the communication process also helps resolve any misunderstandings or disputes that may arise, as there is clear evidence of the communication. Additionally, it can be used to train machine learning models for better future responses.
  • Suited for Automation: Asynchronous communication channels, with their written requests and messages, allow for automation and assistance through advisors that are augmented with prepared answers. By directing clients to recorded asynchronous channels, more requests become eligible for automation.

When comparing asynchronous communication with other commonly used customer service methods such as phone calls, emails, letters, and face-to-face conversations, we can identify the following distinctions:

  • Phone Calls:
    • Pros: Immediate interaction, ability to clarify information in real-time (especially useful for refining client questions), and potential for deepening relationships.
    • Cons: Long wait times, potential for miscommunication due to lack of visual cues, limited ability to reference past conversations, and time-consuming caller authentication processes.
  • Emails:
    • Pros: Flexibility to send and receive messages at any time, known tools, documentation of conversations, and the ability to include detailed information or attachments.
    • Cons: Unauthenticated and unencrypted communication that can be spoofed, significant source of fraud, and slower response times compared to phone calls or personal conversations due to additional security verifications.
  • Letters:
    • Pros: Formality and permanence of written communication, ability to include physical documents, and a sense of personal touch.
    • Cons: Slow response times, potential for delivery delays, limited interaction for highly mobile clients, and limited back-and-forth interaction.
  • Face-to-face Conversation:
    • Pros: Immediate feedback, ability to convey emotions and deepen relationships, and quick resolution of complex issues through real-time interaction.
    • Cons: Requires simultaneous availability at the same location, limited opportunity for referencing past conversations.

In summary, asynchronous communication offers flexibility, convenience, documentation, eliminates active waiting, and enables thoughtful responses, making it advantageous for bank customer service. While other methods have their own merits and can potentially complement asynchronous communication, it effectively addresses the need for efficiency, accessibility, and detailed assistance in an increasingly digital and interconnected world.

WhatsApp is a popular messaging platform known for its large user community and ease of use. Some advantages of WhatsApp include:

  • Large user community: WhatsApp has a vast user base, it provides a widespread network for communication. Hence, there is no need for your clients to install an additional app on their phones to connect with you.

  • Ease of use: WhatsApp offers a user-friendly interface, making it simple for individuals to send messages, make calls, and share media with their contacts.

  • WhatsApp for Business API: You can use the WhatsApp for Business API for a more seamless integration of this cannel into your IT landscape.

In comparison, SecuChat offers several advantages that distinguish it from WhatsApp:

  • Closed community: SecuChat allows you to have a closed community, enabling you to control who gets onboarded and who can communicate with each other.

  • Full control over the usage policy: With SecuChat, you have complete control over the service’s usage policy, including availability, associated costs, and you cannot be shut out from this communication channel.

  • Full control over data storage: SecuChat provides you with the flexibility to store data on-premises or with a chosen provider. Jemmic has built up regional hosting and operational capabilities with selected partners.

  • Bank-grade security: SecuChat ensures banking grade security standards by using the same technologies than mobile banking systems. Users are onboarded securely, preventing scams and impersonation attempts.

  • Centralized message auditing: While SecuChat encrypts messages between the phone and server, it offers centralized auditing capabilities, ensuring compliance with regulations.

  • Enforced biometric authentication: SecuChat enhances security through enforced biometric authentication according to best practices in the banking environment.

  • White box audits: Clients can conduct white box audits to thoroughly investigate SecuChat’s security mechanisms, providing transparency and assurance.

  • Asymmetric privileges: SecuChat allows the implementation of custom policies with asymmetric privileges, catering to specific use cases between bank advisors and clients.

  • Integrated electronic signature: SecuChat offers integrated advanced or qualified electronic signature capabilities, enabling secure document signing within a conversation.

  • Screensharing and audio/video recording: SecuChat integrates screensharing functionality for support cases or guiding clients through contracts. It also allows automatic recording and archiving of audio and video.

  • Structured data forms: SecuChat enables the exchange of structured data through forms, streamlining information gathering and communication processes.

  • Conversation history access: Adding users to a conversation in SecuChat provides them with access to the conversation’s history, facilitating context and collaboration.

  • Customized branding: SecuChat offers the option to have a dedicated app branded with the client’s colors and name on users’ phones, enhancing brand recognition.

In summary, while WhatsApp has a large user community and installed on many phones, SecuChat provides a secure and controlled communication environment with features tailored to the specific needs of financial institutions. It offers a closed community, comprehensive control over usage and data storage, bank-grade security, auditing capabilities, and integrated functionalities such as electronic signatures and screensharing. SecuChat ensures compliance, facilitates collaboration, and allows for a personalized user experience.

From a customer point-of-view, having a live chat in your mobile or web banking solution is a very comfortable feature: instead of having to browse through a predefined web interface or long FAQ sections for finding an answer to my question, I can just easily type a request into a chat window.

 For the advisor however, a chat may just appear as very time consuming. Even more questions from customers lead to an increased workload. 
 But let’s take a closer look at how an integrated chat can help reduce costs for a bank: 

 1) Lower staffing costs: Chat support allows companies to handle multiple customer inquiries simultaneously with fewer customer service representatives. Compared to phone calls, where each representative can handle only one conversation at a time, chat support enables agents to handle multiple chat sessions concurrently, reducing the need for a large team.

2) Increased efficiencyA customer chat often provides agents with access to knowledge bases and pre-written responses, enabling them to quickly retrieve and share information with customers. This efficiency reduces the time spent on each interaction and allows agents to handle a higher volume of inquiries.

3) Automated solutions: Many chat systems allow to incorporate automation, such as chatbots or forms, to handle simple and repetitive customer queries. These automated solutions can provide instant responses, reducing the need for human intervention and freeing up agents to handle more complex or specialized issues.

4) Reduced call durationIssues are often resolved more efficiently via chat than via phone. If necessary, agents can quickly jump to a video or audio call to address customer concerns, clarify doubts, and guide them through the necessary steps. Starting by default in a chat interaction and only switching when necessary to a voice or video interaction can significantly reduce the average call duration, leading to cost savings.

5) Lower infrastructure costsLast but not least, chat support typically requires less infrastructure compared to traditional call centers. With chat support, companies can leverage software solutions that can be easily integrated into existing customer service systems, eliminating the need for extensive telephone infrastructure and associated maintenance costs.

6) Analytics and optimization: Chat support systems often provide detailed analytics and reporting capabilities, allowing companies to track and analyze customer interactions. These insights can help identify common issues, areas for improvement, and optimize support processes, ultimately reducing costs by streamlining operations. 

7) Lower bounce rates: Advanced chat platforms like jemmic’s SecuChat feature built-in functionalities like electronic signatures or pre-defined forms that allow to validate transactions immediately and without having to exit the chat. This way, the customer stays in the conversation and gets things done “right away”. This means a higher conversion rate for the bank and more customer satisfaction on the other end.

Overall, chat offers a cost-effective solution for customer service, combining efficiency, automation, and streamlined processes to handle customer inquiries more effectively while reducing operational expenses.