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Jamie’s evolving life as a digital assistant in cyberspace

From our Partners

By techweek Techweek

21 April 2021

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Jamie, ANZ’s Digital Assistant brought to life by ANZ and Soul Machines in 2018, has proven a real asset in meeting our customers’ evolving needs, particularly in the current environment. 

Assisting customers with their banking queries, Jamie currently has several thousand conversations each month and has evolved to cover topics ranging from how to open a bank account to what to do if you suspect you are a victim of fraud.

Together with looking and speaking like a real person, Jamie responds with appropriate human emotion in her voice and facial expressions.  Her open and friendly personality has its own backstory - favourite movies, books etc – all contributing to a more engaging and compelling conversational experience for users. 

But this all takes work. 

Jamie’s awesome support crew … includes afull time development squad to build and maintain Jamie’s front- and back-end; a conversational AI team who ensure content is accurate, delivered in a conversational way and easily understood by customers and; an in-house design team using design discovery research to understand users’ experiences and preferences to help improve our UI.     

A Natural Language Understanding solution interprets what users say and prompts the right responses.  Ongoing monitoring of conversations, anticipating and constantly adapting to the language customers use is fundamental to Jamie’s success - people can ask the same question in a myriad of ways.  

Jamie’s invaluable flexibility … Last year’s pandemic-related lockdown saw our Contact Centre inundated with demand and customers searching online for answers to their questions.  In response we moved Jamie to online text chat.

This enabled us to better respond to customer demand and quickly anticipate needs, updating and adding new conversational content as new queries and issues developed. The demand was reflected by a one third increase in Jamie’s conversation volumes during lockdown.     

Jamie helped customers in real time with up-to-date information on home loan repayment deferrals, call wait times, call back forms and branch opening times during alert levels.  Being available 24/7 also proved to be a useful resource for overseas customers making enquiries in the middle of the night when there were no Contact Centre staff available. 

Last year’s experience generated valuable insights … into issues that were of concern to our customers and also demonstrated the value of a digital assistant in helping customers to self-serve.  For example Jamie can explain to customers how to put a temporary block on a misplaced or lost credit card.     

It also gave us a glimpse of the future potential for how a digital assistant can augment our existing frontline teams and processes supporting customers around the clock with a connected omni-channel experience.     

So where next for Jamie?  Jamie continues to expand her banking knowledge and will soon be supporting customers with their home loan journeys and financial wellbeing.  We’re also working towards Jamie being able to seamlessly connect customers with the right expert in our frontline banking teams when she cannot completely resolve the customer’s enquiry. 

In addition to her anz.co.nz day job, Jamie will be undertaking a short secondment as a trial in goMoney, our mobile banking app, to better understand our customers’ expectations from having an in-app chat feature. 

We know from conversation history that customers expect Jamie to be able to see their account details and perform tasks for them.  Personalisation of the customer experience is going to be key to unlocking Jamie’s potential and this requires integration with our channels and systems.

Looking ahead, Jamie could help onboard customers, guide users to complete online application forms or train our frontline staff to have better conversations with customers. 

The career opportunities for a digital banking assistant are endless!   

Want to meet Jamie?  Jamie recorded a video for our Techweek viewers … check it out.

Catherine Henderson is ANZ’s Senior Manager, Conversational AI.

ANZ is a Festival Partner of Techweek2021

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