The Impact of Intelligent Virtual Agents on Financial Services
by Jessica Cody, Marketing Manager
The financial services sector is one of the fastest-growing markets for intelligent virtual agent technology. With more and more people doing their daily banking, investing and trading online, the need for customers to have online help is greater than ever before. Implementing a virtual agent allows companies to provide instant assistance to their customers when and where they need it most.
Virtual agents are successful in the financial services industry because they are able to answer commonly asked questions such as how to log into an account, how to retrieve a forgotten password, where to check an account balance, where to sign up for a new credit card, and how to open a new account. Informational sites such as those in the financial services industry have a higher call avoidance than troubleshooting sites. Where the virtual agent knows that a question cannot be answered online, it can provide an escalation path to live chat and call center help. Based on information from back end systems, intelligent virtual agents can provide accurate and customized answers for users instantly. These systems are providing users with a concise answer to their queries, not just a traditional list of search results or FAQs. Some of Creative Virtual’s financial services clients have seen results showing up to 30% call deflection rates based on surveys within their virtual agent.
For example, HSBC’s Ask Olivia is a virtual agent that was developed by Creative Virtual for the purpose of assisting online banking customers with changes to online security. This V-Person™ has proven to be an invaluable resource for customers needing help to gain access to their accounts any time of the day or night. Ask Olivia has been able to easily resolve many online security issues that would otherwise tie up call center phone lines. She has been strategically placed on the Security Centre page as well as the Personal Internet Banking log-in pages.
Intelligent virtual agents also serve as useful sales reps for financial services companies. MyCyberTwin created an intelligent virtual agent many refer to as Sarah that is used by financial services companies. Erika Morphy, a Forbes.com contributor, states in her article “It’s the Attack of the Sales Bots” that Sarahhas a 94% accuracy rate and has managed to drive sales for many companies as well. The article states that people are starting to choose virtual agents over live help when it comes to sales inquiries.
Creative Virtual is happy to add E-Trade to their repertoire of financial services clients, which includes HSBC, Intuit, Lloyds Banking Group, Sainsbury’s Finance, and M&S Money. E-Trade is a holding company that offers online discount stock brokerage services for self-directed investors. They offer banking and lending products such as checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit and credit cards. According to Virtual Agents: The New Value Proposition, by IBM Global Services, “Having started as a low-cost platform for stock trading, online trading has quickly matured into a diversified, multi-provider investment platform that allows investors to research and buy a wide range of financial services.” Very few people make investment decisions completely on their own, so having an intelligent virtual agent that they can trust available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week takes a lot of stress off both the investors and their advisors. Virtual agents can carry out advanced services that require a high level of competence, including household investments, risk management recommendations, and lending and tax planning.