‘Hybrid bots’ – The best of both worlds for AI-driven banking?

AI and virtual personal assistants have jumped from the world of science fiction into the real world - but what can they do for the banking sector?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the banking sector, with one area of great interest being the potential of ‘chat bots’ that can engage with customers directly and allow them to complete queries and even receive financial advice without the need for human intervention.

But despite the huge strides that have been made in AI in the last few years, they still have their limitations, as anyone who’d been told ‘sorry, I didn’t understand that’ by a bot will have noticed.

Therefore, being able to combine the benefits of AI-driven services with the understanding and expert knowledge of a human adviser could be the key to delivering the best possible service in today’s environment. And this is exactly what RBS is looking to do with its new ‘hybrid bot’ technology.

As well as AI-powered FAQs and bot conversations, its RBS Assist initiative incorporates technology from messaging solution provider LivePerson to hand off conversations back and forth between human and AI advisers as the situation requires. This allows the technology to handle routine administrative tasks, but means a real person can easily and seamlessly step in for more complex requests, or when the bot can’t interpret when they’re being asked.

The technology uses natural language processing techniques in combination with machine learning algorithms to assess a customer’s query, as well as enabling RBS to analyze every line of text that its customers enter. Bot conversations will be rated in real time as positive, negative or neutral, which will help RBS determine when human intervention is required.

Katie Ayaz, head of digital service at RBS, said, “We’re pleased to be a leader in deploying AI and messaging technologies to serve our customers consistently and with high quality. Intelligent customer engagement using LivePerson technology has already helped us to reduce operational costs and drive higher net promoter scores.”

Founder and chief executive of LivePerson Robert LoCascio added that at the moment, while bots are highly efficient at certain tasks, they aren’t ready to be the primary customer service agent. He added: “We believe a combination of humans and bots, with seamless handoffs, is needed for great customer service and it is exciting to work with RBS and see these hybrid bots out in the world.”

Written by Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal

Jack Dougal is Banking.com's resident news reporter. He writes regular blogs covering the latest stories and key developments in the global financial services industry.

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