Banks roll out 24-hour assistance


MORTGAGE customers wanting around-the-clock service will soon be able to have their home loan questions answered at any time of the day or night.

Consumers are all too familiar with pop-up boxes on airline and retail sites with someone waiting there to assist but this experience is still rare for banking customers.

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UBank, a subsidiary of National Australia Bank, already has a live functionality on its site to help customers but now it’s rolling out a banking chatbot which is understood to be the first among Australian banks.

The chatbot will be able to hold a customer’s hand through the arduous application process and answer questions including, “what term do you offer on home loans?” and “do you offer redraws and how do they work?”

media_cameraBanking customers will have their questions answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The pilot program is built around Innovative Artificial Intelligence technology and is in the baby-step phase of learning to understand how customers engage. From here it will be continuously developed.

It will answer hundreds of questions on more than 40 home loan products.

UBank’s chief executive officer Lee Hatton said the technology will help customers who want 24/7 help.

media_cameraUbank chief executive officer Lee Hatton said the new Chatbot will help speed up the home loan application process.

“Our goal is to deliver simpler, better, smarter banking to our customers and Robochat will help deliver on this by streamlining the application process,’’ she said.

“If you’ve gathered all of your paperwork, the application process can be done in as little time as it takes you to have your breakfast.”

media_cameraMore banks are expected to follow and roll out functionalities than can them assist them anytime.

Strategic intelligence group RFi’s managing director Alan Shields said these types of offerings for customers will become much more common in years to come.

media_cameraRFi’s managing director Alan Shields said he expects banks to significantly increase their online capabilities to assist customers.

“We are seeing these crop up more and more and sometimes delivered by a functionality the bank has delivered themselves or sometimes using messenger functionalities that already exist like Facebook messenger,” he said.

“People want convenience, calling up a call centre is time consuming, it gives people the opportunity to answer questions and in the most convenient format whether it’s on their mobile or desktop computer.

“The way it’s going banks will incorporate machine learning and they will get better and better at it.”

Mr Shields said this will cut out the frustrations of waiting on hold on the phone and allow questions to be answered almost instantaneously.


Originally published as Banks roll out 24-hour assistance

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