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How to handle the increase in online calls with a chat bot

Modern communication platforms have become part of everyday life and have quietly made us more demanding consumers. The issue of ensuring the convenience and speed of interaction, for which banks have been fighting for centuries, has acquired new facets within the concept of omni-channel. Continuity at all access points has become a kind of Mecca, to which banks, retailers, and after them, all other businesses have reached out.

In 2019, our customer, a well-known Ukrainian bank, was no exception. Taking into account market trends and customer preferences, it was decided to create an omni-channel contact center and organize a chat bot as an add-on to work with standard consumer requests in a convenient 24×7 format.

However, the bank had to fully evaluate the feasibility of its digital development in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank was prepared for the consequences of the quarantine, when the number of calls to the chat bot increased by 300%. It is hard to imagine what measures would have to be taken to cope with such a load if the information infrastructure had not been adapted to the new digital realities, - says Dmytro Lytvyn, the Development Director of Accord Group.

During the project, the Accord Group engineering team, in addition to the business task of implementing an omni-channel interaction strategy, had to reduce the load on contact center operators by automating the processing of some calls.

The bank's customer interaction system is based on Cisco Unified Contact Center Express. Accord Group had to address the issue of software interoperability that would guarantee the chat bot and experience continuity for customers with the contact center platform.

So, the Ukrainian developer and Cisco partner, Smiddle, appeared in the implementation team with the Smiddle Omnichannel solution.

Smiddle Omnichannel (SMC) is a software solution that allows using instant messengers and a mobile application to interact with customers, integrating various communication channels into a single system.

With the help of ARI interfaces, Smiddle software products were integrated with the bank's systems, which made it possible to enter all communication channels into the contact center and serve not only anonymous, but also identified customer calls with the provision of personalized information.

A feature of the implementation was a set of calls to a single service channel – Cisco Finesse. This allowed contact center operators to serve all calls in a single window, which greatly facilitated their work.

Regarding chat support, the interaction with the consumer was built as follows:

The first part is a chat bot, where the client can independently:

  • check the balance on the card/account;

  • find the nearest ATM or branch;

  • order cash at the branch;

  • view exchange rates;

  • receive information about the products and promotions of the bank;

  • consult with a foreign trade specialist;

  • block a payment card;

  • get access to the credit card information display service;

  • start a chat with the operator.

The second part is a chat with the operator, where the client can get advice from the operator of the customer support center. The uniqueness of the chat bot lies in the support of a seamless transition from the bot to the operator and further to the voice channel. That is, when starting communication with the bot, the client does not have to repeat the request when going to the operator, which saves time.

Chat is available in two modes:

  • without authorization: without authorization, one can get advice only on issues that do not contain personal/confidential data;

  • with authorization: if the client wants to receive information that is confidential/provides access to his personal data, or he needs service support (for example, unlock/block the card, change the card limit, send a password for MyBank) – authorization is required after successful completion of which the operator will be able to provide the client with the same scope of services as during a call to the customer support center.

The specifics of the bank's work implies increased requirements for information security. Accord Group has ensured the reliability and security of software products, confirmed during the bank's internal audit for compliance with the PCI DSS standard.

The bank received the opportunity to serve customer requests through popular instant messengers: Viber, Facebook, Telegram, a widget on the bank's website. Communication with the bank has become much faster and more convenient, because it is no longer necessary to wait for a connection with the operator to get an answer to a simple question. This is reflected in customer reviews.

The implementation of Smiddle solutions has significantly increased the productivity of the contact center and reduced the burden on operators. So, for example, the number of phone calls was reduced by 20% due to the introduction of online authentication.

The project did not go unnoticed by the professional community and was shortlisted for the PSM AWARDS in the category “Best financial chat bot”.

The digital evolution of bank service channels continues. The Accord Group engineers are faithfully maintaining the system and plan to add a voice bot with advanced intelligence for ease of maintenance.

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