पोस्ट

Overcome Language and Culture Barriers with Chatbots

By Philip Chuck, Territory General Manager, Greater China

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to attend the annual Asian Financial Forum (AFF) in Hong Kong with our partner HKT. The forum brought together some of the most influential members of the global financial and business community to discuss developments and trends in the dynamic Asian markets.

The two-day forum featured over 100 international speakers sharing insights into the event theme “Steering Growth and Pioneering Innovation: Asia and Beyond”. On Day 2, HKT sponsored a session on “Business Transformation along Your Belt and Road Journey”. This session discussed megatrends in global business development and how companies can accelerate their growth in overseas and mainland China markets through transformation and the effective use of various infrastructure and ICT services.

Björn Gülsdorff, Creative Virtual’s Chief Business Development Officer, joined me at the forum and gave a presentation on chatbots as part of HKT’s Belt and Road session. I asked him to share his thoughts with me after the event:

The One Belt One Road initiative is one of greatest business initiatives of our time – and as ours is the time of globalisation, that is to say: in all times. In this undertaking, Hong Kong is a central element for all sorts of reasons. So, when entering the plenary hall of the Asia Financial Forum 2018 in HK, I wasn’t surprised to find the stage taken by an executive board member of the German Federal Bank in discussion with Group CEO of HSBC (among others in that league).

The event nicely mixed the big picture with more workshop-type sessions about the very next steps and what this means for the individual business. I think it is fair to say that many companies see a big challenge in this new outward facing and more connected way for China to do business in the world. Being the world’s workbench and garden was much more clear-cut and even easier in a way.

So, we had a packed room and an eager audience in our session on “Business Transformation”. Flanked by two great co-speakers I shared some ideas how virtual assistants and chatbots can help businesses to grow across countries, time zones and languages without jeopardizing their customer communications. Thankfully, I could do this in English (and listen to Chinese speeches), because the organizers provided real time translations via headsets – what a great service! My only “problem” was that I had to scratch the artificial intelligence (AI) part of my speech because Professor Daniela Rus, Director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, had just explained in a key note how much manual work it takes to get machine learning right. Regular readers of our posts will immediately picture me nodding heavily for the entire 45 minutes. What really struck me at this conference, was the nearly unanimous view that technology will be key, but shall support people, not replace them. In short, the financial services sector in this part of the world is ready for virtual assistants and a hybrid approach of human and machine labour.

For me, the forum really showed that chatbots and AI are no longer just areas of study or something for companies to research. In the Finance sector, organisations are now taking action and making this technology a real part of their digital initiatives. Deploying a chatbot in different languages breaks through the barrier of initial customer engagement in doing business in “One Belt One Road” countries.

We are delighted to have engaged HKT as our partner to promote Creative Virtual chatbot solutions in Hong Kong. HKT is one of the largest suppliers of high-end Omnichannel Contact Centre solutions in Hong Kong, where chatbots are increasingly being used for improving customer engagement, and for expediting customer services. Together, HKT and Creative Virtual shall deliver outstanding customer engagement solutions, combining the strengths of both companies. We are looking forward to that.

Our thanks to HKT for inviting us to take part in AFF 2018 and to the event organisers for putting on a great forum. To learn more about how chatbots and virtual agents can help you overcome language barriers and grow your business, request a personalised demo.

Asian Financial Forum

Reshaping Customer Engagement Priorities in the Financial Sector

By Philip Chuck, Territory General Manager, Greater China

“Changing World, Reshaping Priorities” was the theme of the 2017 Banking Conference hosted by Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) at the end of September. The conference looked at how the financial services industry can reshape their priorities, try new business models and better leverage technologies to improve operational efficiency and profitability against the backdrop of shifting customer preferences and economic policies. Creative Virtual had the privilege of joining HKT at the annual conference to meet with hundreds of bankers interested in digital transformation.

One key concern voiced at the conference was the need for a better customer engagement strategy. Financial brands struggle with huge call volumes and high operation costs in their call centres. As customer preferences are shifting, companies are faced with the need to handle multiple digital customer contact channels in addition to more traditional channels like phone. This can create even higher costs associated with staffing contact centres and training agents.

At the HKT booth we showed how chatbot solutions can help financial organisations dealing with these issues. Many visitors were familiar with “Ask Amy”, the virtual assistant chatbot we’ve implemented for HSBC in Hong Kong. With this technology, you can provide better customer service in e-channels by offering instant, accurate 24/7 support. Customers also receive consistent answers across the different digital channels and, through back-end integrations, are provided with personalised information based on their specific account or profile.

Chatbots also help improve efficiency within call centres and contact centres. By allowing customers to self-serve online, human resources can be prioritised for more important or complex engagements. The technology can be used within the contact centre as well to support agents by providing an easy way for them to access the information they need to help customers. This reduces average handling times and improves customer satisfaction. Chatbots are also proven to reduce the time and costs associated with training live agents.

There was also a buzz at the conference about artificial intelligence (AI) with a general agreement that AI is everywhere – even a rice cooker with fuzzy logic is now AI! Natural language processing (NLP) is part of the AI field and what allows our chatbots to understand the intent of customer questions and probe further if needed to provide the right and consistent answer.

It was a pleasure to be a part of HKT’s booth and spend the day with some of their experienced team. My thanks to HKT for the invitation to join them promoting FinTech, and to HKIB for hosting a successful event.

Want to learn more? Request a demo and discover how you can create a better customer engagement strategy with chatbot technology.

HKIB Banking Conference