Financial Services

What Bank of America is Getting Right with Erica

 

Bank of America’s AI chatbot Erica is on a roll, up from 50K users to 3.5 million in less than six months!

I was in the audience when Bank of America unveiled Erica at Money 20/20 in October 2016, and I was blown away by Erica’s potential to use AI, cognitive messaging, and predictive analytics to help customers make payments, check balances, and pay down debt in addition to directing them to retrieve their FICO score, review educational videos, and more.

American Banker ran a great story in October citing key lessons learned from BoA’s Erica rollout in March 2018. For those of you who don’t have subscription, here are the highlights:

  • There are over 2,000 different ways to ask Erica to move money.
  • During the rollout stage, customers compared Erica to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. BoA’s response? Respond to customer feedback immediately by educating consumers and bank representatives on the tasks that Erica can and cannot do, then spread the word through branches, call centers, online, the mobile app, and customer emails.
  • Erica continues to evolve to deliver personalization at scale. Customers love that when Erica cannot answer a question, they are referred to a call center rep without having to have their identity verified again.

Conversational interfaces, such as Erica, are enabling new forms of engagement and re-establishing relationship banking. In the present age of “lifestyle banking” conversational user interfaces such as chatbots and virtual assistants make banking accessible 24/7 on the customer’s smartphone, facilitating a simplified, intuitive banking experience. Leveraging previous interactions and using real-time data analysis to create contextual conversations, banks are delivering personalized offers and highly-targeted products and services to customers. Thus helping optimize customer experience, maximize engagement, and increase share of wallet.

A conversational banking strategy allows financial institutions to cut costs by automating repetitive customer support tasks and lower-level advisory services. And over time, AI will enable more advanced interactions at even lower costs. Per Accenture, although conversational banking is still at an early stage, it’s a new digital channel that will become mainstream and a key element of an omnichannel distribution network for banks. Success will be determined by those banks  that can best integrate and automate conversations across new channels—contextually and with real-time insights.

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