Chatbot Revolution in Switzerland: A New Era of Customer Engagement

New chatbot survey reveals huge potential for banks, insurers and retailers that make the first move

What sounded like sci-fi a few years ago is now a reality in many industries: chatbots. Digital programs that conduct conversations with people are triggering a revolution in customer engagement. But not yet, it seems, in the Swiss banking, insurance, retail and consumer industries.

PwC’s new survey of chatbots, conducted in partnership with the University of St. Gallen/CEMS, reveals huge opportunities for players in the banking, insurance, retail and consumer industries that use their intelligence and dare to make the first move.

Banking: a rosy future for chatbots

The survey shows that banking, in particular retail, has enormous potential for using chatbots to transform the customer experience. Customers are dissatisfied with existing ways of communicating with their bank, and a large proportion could easily imagine chatbots as a supplement to their e-banking service for routine account and credit card business. With only 30% of surveyed customers saying they prefer human contact, there’s clearly a lot of headroom. Banks themselves also see the potential, initially for simple tasks such as granting small loans, but ultimately for more complex services such as opening new accounts, trading stocks, and investment decisions.

Insurance: chatbots a dead cert

Insurers have so far failed to capitalise on chatbots. But with our survey showing that only 20% of customers want personal service, 85% already use phone or email to communicate with their insurer, and 60% willing to deal with chatbots to handle their insurance affairs, it seems like a no-brainer. Customers realise that chatbots are quick, convenient and available 24/7. Insurers themselves acknowledge that they’re a great way of reducing handling costs.

Retail and consumer: the most impressive potential of all

With only 18% of customers surveyed having a preference for personal service and 75% (both the younger and older generation) saying they favour chatbot-based channels for communicating with retailers, this is the industry with the most impressive potential of all. Another plus-point revealed by the survey is that privacy concerns are fairly low down the agenda of customers in this industry, while companies are already able to assure a relatively high level of data integrity. The stage is set for a chatbot revolution in retail and consumer!

So what are banks, insurers and retailers waiting for?

The survey suggests that making the first move is crucial. As tech companies gradually find ways of luring customers away from traditional providers in the financial services and retail industries, established players can stay competitive by moving fast on chatbots. The survey also suggests, though, that it’s not enough to copy a model from other industries, as chatbots fulfil needs that are very specific to customers in a particular market. Fortunately there are already mature chatbot technologies available for these industries. Also, chatbots perform best if they’re part of a fully integrated ecosystem, so you have to make sure your data and processes are integrated. A proper roadmap is crucial as well: chatbots work best when they’re back by a long-term strategy.

These are the key points. For more detailed insights, we invite you to check out the whole survey:


Chatbot Revolution in Switzerland


It’s a must-read for companies in the banking, insurance, retail and consumer industries that want to use chatbots to stay competitive by transforming the experience of their customers.


Holger Greif
Partner and Leader Digital Transformation
+41 58 792 1386

Dominic Olonetzky
Co-Head Consulting, PwC Digital Services
+41 58 792 2926

Otto Hieb
Senior Manager Financial Services, PwC Digital Services
+41 58 792 4743

Published by

Holger Greif

Holger Greif

Holger Greif
Birchstrasse 160
Postfach, 8050 Zürich
+41 58 792 13 86

Holger Greif ist seit 2008 Partner bei PwC Schweiz und seit 20 Jahren Management Berater. Er leitete über 5 Jahre das Management Consulting und fokussiert sich seit Juli 2016 auf die Buisness Unit „Digital Transformation“, zu welcher das PwC Experience Center für digitale Lösungen gehört. Zu seinen Projekterfahrungen gehören digitale Strategieprojekte und deren Umsetzung in verschiedenen Industrien - inkl. kultureller und organisatorischer Veränderungen. Holger Greif hat einen Doktor in Experimentalphysik von der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität.