How does a bank deploy an assistant like Capital One’s ENO or Bank of America’s Erica without investing countless dollars and hours in the project?
If you think about it, banks all offer similar products. The differentiation is in how they provide them. Essentially every bank holds money, loans money or provides ways to invest and gain more money. What sets them apart are the people they provide those products to, and the way they do it.
Kore AI saw an opportunity there. If each bank’s products are similar but their service is different then why not provide them with a customizable banking assistant so they can get up and running quickly?
That’s what Dave Schreffler, SVP Financial ServicesSales, and Peter Berbee, SVP Financial Services Product, told Kane Simms during their recent VUX World interview.
Aim for a single central assistant
Typically 80% of a bank’s customers will use online banking or an app. The remaining 20% will still phone in, or visit the branch. 20% is a lot of people when you consider the customer base a bank caters to.
So how do you provide a consistent experience to all? How can you ensure that those who call in get the same experience as those on the app?
Banks still might be unsure about conversational AI. They want to carefully dip their toes in the water, and have it deal with a few things that their app and website don’t already cater to.
That’s challenging for two big reasons; firstly, it vastly limits the effectiveness of conversational AI because it works best when it’s integrated with other systems, and secondly, because the end result is a different quality of experience for each customer. Customers who call the assistant wouldn’t have the same experience as customers who use the app.
As Peter Berbee says, “having that one central assistant that can answer consistently the same way across all the channels is really important. The other thing, it’s really important that your assistant can answer the basic questions as well as the hard ones.”
Context is king in conversational AI for banking
So what Kore AI set out to do was to create BankAssist; a conversational banking assistant for the financial services industry with over 350 prebuilt use cases out-of-the-box.
Everything is already there so that customers can connect it wherever they want – whether that’s adding a virtual assistant in the contact centre, a chatbot on their website, or in their mobile app.
What’s great about having this omnichannel solution from the start is that you can quickly make huge gains in customer service. For example, when a bank’s customer interacts with their website and then goes to the chatbot, it’s possible for the bot to know what the customer has been doing and make an informed assumption about what they want. An omnichannel solution allows the conversations to be informed by context.
Customers know about bots now. They’ve had experiences – both good and bad – and when a brand’s bot strikes up a conversation with them, the customer will have expectations about how the chat will go.
According to Dave Schreffler, “There’s a growing recognition that the virtual assistant needs to be able to have sophisticated, very human-like conversations.”
A unique bot for each unique bank
Perhaps you’ve read so far and thought, ‘won’t all bots end up the same if they’re made from a template?’
That concern is understandable. Kore AI have been smart about this – they’ve found the most common things that a bank assistant would be expected to do (around 350 of them), and they’ve given BankAssist the capability to do any of those things. It’s then up to the client to decide which they need. They can then use Kore AI’s pre-built connectors to hook the assistant up to their back-end systems. All that leaves is to hire conversation designers, or work with a conversational AI consultancy to prepare their team so that the bot talks like their brand.
As Dave Schreffler says, “it really can be as easy as plug and play, and be live in days and weeks, as opposed to months and months.”
It’s ready for connection
One of the biggest challenges banks have when they set out to make their own assistant is that their banking platform sits within one of the big industry providers, and they get little support when they want to connect an assistant to it.
Knowing this challenge would be faced by any client who uses BankAssist, Kore AI have prepared API connections so that nobody has to be kept waiting in long email chains trying to figure out how to do this. BankAssist has pre-built integrations into core banking providers, card platforms, digital platforms, bill pay, P2P providers, bank locator, mobile deposit, credit score services, and APIs for custom integrations.
It’s already been thought about. It already works.
Why build your assistant from the ground up?
It’s a great idea. Although banks may provide their services in different ways, their services are essentially the same.
What BankAssist does is allow them to modify the pre-built assistant to their needs, so they can have conversational AI that provides their services exactly the way they want to. All this happens much faster than if they were to build everything themselves from the bottom up.
And why would they build it all from the bottom up? Each bank would have to solve the same problems – so why do that?
Any fears they may have about owning their data, and protecting their customer’s data, are mitigated because BankAssist connects directly into their own systems, plus BankAssist is SOC II and GDPR compliant and comes with enterprise security features.
And it’s ready to be connected wherever they need. They can provide the same experience to all customers, across all channels. That’s the kind of service customers now expect.
And they can get that exceptional service however they prefer to talk with their bank – via the mobile app, web banking or in the contact centre. Perhaps those 20% who prefer to call the contact centre know best. That’s where the next biggest gains in customer experience may occur. As Peter Berbee says, voice is next level:
“Mobile banking is so much faster than when we have to go into a branch to do something. It’s a lot more convenient. But even with mobile banking, you may have to migrate through seven or eight screens to do the one thing you want to do, versus hitting the microphone and talking to the assistant and saying, ‘transfer $200 from my checking to my savings account now’.”
That’s the kind of service that all banks can provide with Kore AI’s BankAssist.