SBI Launches SBI Intelligent Assistant SIA An AI Enabled Chatbot For Customer Care
India’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India (SBI), has launched its own chatbot named SBI Intelligent Assistant or SIA to handle customer queries and guide them through its range of retail products and services.
SIA is currently undergoing beta testing. SIA is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and is a continuation of SBI’s efforts to streamline its banking operations by identifying key work processes to be transferred to robots.
SBI, in a recent blogpost had said that its new digital platforms like SBIinTouch, launched in July 2014, are widely using bots and artificial intelligence such as IBM Watson, to perform a variety of jobs, especially in improving customer experience.
SIA has been designed to answer customer inquiries in terms of home, education, car and personal loans, as well as recurring and term deposits.
Chatbots are digital robots that can carry on a conversation through audio or text.
According to SBI, more than 80 per cent of the bank’s transactions are done in non-branch journeys, i.e. not touched by any SBI employee – only through machines.
The chatbot SIA was developed by Allincall, a start-up backed by IIT Bombay, and uses machine learning and bot experience to respond to customer queries.
Banks and other financial establishments have been investing heavily in AI to boost their overall offerings.
Last year, ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector lender, deployed ‘Software Robotics’ – that emulates human actions – in over 200 business processes across its various functions. This cut response time to customers by up to 60 per cent, the bank claimed.
Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, Deputy MD and Chief Information officer at SBI, told that the decision to introduce a chatbot was taken as it was felt that navigating the website could be a bit of a task for a customer. “Most of the time, customer touch points with the bank are for three things — sales, service and enquiry,” Mahapatra said,
further adding, “We found that for enquiry and navigation, a customer has to navigate quite a bit or go to call centres, where the agent may not be fully knowledgeable.”
Axis Bank, India’s third largest private lender, has partnered with a Singapore-based fintech platform to launch intelligent banking chatbots which offer mobile banking services for customers in a conversational format.