Digital employees

Digital Employees set to Change the Face of Banking

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Whether we like it or not, the chances are that most of your banking will be done in the future, if it is not already, without human interaction. Making these interactions with digital employees more natural will be the key to success for banks in the coming years.

The theme for IBM’s Think Australia and Think New Zealand this year is “Where technology meets humanity”. The events will “celebrate and elevate the ideas that will change not only the world of business, but the world at large.” One of these ideas, presented by FaceMe and ASB Bank, is the idea that digital employees could change banking as we know it today.

“By 2020, customers will manage 85 per cent of their business relationships without interacting with a human. But with a large portion of companies focusing on standardisation FaceMe believes individualisation and a company’s ability to make digital conversations more human will differentiate companies in the future,” believes Danny Tomsett, CEO of Artificial Intelligence company FaceMe.

At Think, Danny will discuss FaceMe’s belief that customer experience will be the currency of the future. In the USA earlier this month, one of FaceMe’s AI-powered Digital Employees led a customer through an interactive loan application process. This Digital Employee demonstrated recognition and knowing the customer; showing value and individualisation and complete natural language understanding — as natural, infact, as talking to your bank manager — except this one is available 24/7 across any channel.

At the NZ tech event, ASB’s Leigh Angus, Head of Innovation and Commercialisation at ASB, and Danny Tomsett, CEO of FaceMe, will share about the “Josie experiment”. Josie is ASB’s digital assistant designed to help their teams support small-to-medium (SME) NZ business owners. Together Leigh and Danny will, on stage, have a “conversation” with Josie, including asking her about her role at ASB.

Josie was the first human-like interface powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to be used in Australasian banking and was created through a partnership between ASB and FaceMe. She was designed to assist SME business owners when setting up a business.

“Digital Employees represent the future of banking,” believes Danny. “The fintech revolution is here, and the way in which clients manage, spend, invest, share and borrow money has well and truly gone digital. But as much as this standardisation represents progress, it also represents risk. If everyone has gone digital — and if every conversation we have is digital — how do we differentiate or influence the customer experience? We believe the answer is in humanising digital conversations.”

“Experience is everything, and to get it right, we’ll need to capture the best human qualities and integrate these with digital. Having all the bells and whistles on a digital platform doesn’t matter as much to today’s consumer as the ability to deliver a friendly service, unique experience, and personalisation — in a manner that is convenient; knowledgeable and efficient (PWC, USA). Businesses need to ask themselves: can our platforms be friendly? Can our platforms provide a unique, personalised service? Can our platform smile?”

“Today’s customers expect to be able to use their voices in the comfort of their homes to request assistance. The future could see this extended to stores where digital employees will make the need to queue obsolete. They will use biometrics to identify customers and a memory of each past interaction to personalise future ones,” says Danny.

“Meeting consumers’ expectations is far more complex today than ever before; but there’s still huge strategic importance in customer experience and its impact on company culture, revenue growth and churn. It’s at the intersection of these two realities that there is a powerful opportunity to innovate,” concludes Danny.

“Digital Employees offer an empathetic, human-like interface which provides answers, handles requests, supplies information or simply connects clients to a key person across any and all channels, day or night. In short: the perfect employees and FaceMe can enable any organisation with a digital team to make this experience a reality.”

To date, FaceMe has brought this experience to life over mobile, browser, phone and kiosk; and has pilot customers across banking, Government and telecommunications.

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Kirstie Magowan

Kirstie Magowan is the managing editor of IT Chronicles. Kirstie is an experienced journalist and publisher who has been working in the IT Service Management industry since 1999. Kirstie is a regular speaker at industry conferences globally.