While American banks are starting to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) based virtual assistants to their businesses, their not quite as quick at doing it as Israeli banks. In June last year, Bank Leumi launched an AI-powered mobile bank called Pepper and this month Israel Discount Bank released its virtual assistant Didi into the world.
In order to create Didi, the bank teamed up with two fintech companies. Nanorep is the company responsible for providing natural language processing (NLP) in Hebrew. While Personetics was the company behind Didi’s predictive analytics and brain. Didi is more than just a chatbot. This AI is a kind of cross between a chatbot and a virtual assistant.
Just two months after the team began development a public chatbot was launched on the bank’s Facebook page. “It was very limited: We could only answer enquiries about public things, like where’s your branch, what’s your exchange rate and so forth,” said Arik Frishman, head of digital at Israel Discount Bank. “But it was a great beta site for us to improve our [natural language processing] to see how Israeli customers approach such a bot, what words they use, how long their text is, how often they make mistakes while writing and so forth.”
More than 220,000 of the bank’s customers had the pleasure of dealing with Didi over a two month period. In that time the bank learned quite a lot from it’s customers. Here’s just a few things it discovered:
- Customers prefer to ask questions opposed to look for the answer. As long as Didi can meet those expectations, customers are happy. And so far 81% of customers have been happy enough with Didi’s service that they gave the bot a high rating.
- Customers ask quite complex questions of virtual assistants. There are some instances when Didi is unable to answer the customer’s question. In these instances, under the new AI system to which Didi is a part of, the customer will be forwarded to a real person who can help. The agent receives a transcript of the conversation with the AI so that they’re already up to speed and to save the customer from having to repeat themselves.
- Text is the prefered method of communication for customers. “When we speak with our customers, we understand that they prefer texting instead of speaking,” said Frishman.
Overall the company is confident that Didi will help increase customer engagement and as it continually improves it will draw in even more people.