The virtual assistant: the banks who are deploying chatbots


Virtual assistants are transforming the customer service industry and the deployment of these virtual staff at RBS, Natwest and SEB banks is testament to this.

The web-based Luvo software will be able to engage humans in real time by answering simple banking queries.

“Virtual assistants (VAs) are transforming how consumers interact with businesses – especially in customer services. Many forward-thinking banks are now incorporating VAs into their offering to respond to simpler customer queries quicker,” said Sebastian Reeve, director product management, Nuance Communications.

Virtual voice detection has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years and technology like Luvo and Siri can understand human diction at 90%.
Luvo was designed by IBM’s AI, Watson, which programmed the virtual agent to understand and communicate with human customers.

>See also: When will AI bots replace virtual assistants?

The service will start to be integrated into operations from December with about 10% RBS customers in Scotland.

Initially the virtual assistant will have the ability to answer around 10 questions, but over time as it learns, IBM believes it will be able to address “more complex matters”.

IBM has said that in the future Luvo may even be able to detect frustration within a customer’s voice and adjust its speaking pattern.

“Luvo frees advisers from spending time on simple, easily-addressed queries so they can help customers with more complex issues,” said Jane Howard, head of personal banking at RBS.

>See also: Shouldn’t we be demanding better service from our Personal Virtual Assistants?

The virtual assistant will allow the banking staff to deal with perhaps more irritable customers. However, will interaction with these chatbots lead to exactly that: more frustrated customers?

Reeve doesn’t think so, and said “customer adoption of the virtual assistant tends to be positive. The deployment at Swedbank, for instance, was launched after only 6 months and within just the first 3 months averaged 30,000 conversations per month. During this time, the VA answered 8 out of every 10 customer questions – and this will only improve over time as the VA learns from past experiences”.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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