Banking Fintech UX

Why Eliza will be even more popular in 2017

Why Eliza will be even more popular in 2017. Main image: Zapp2Photo,
Written by Michael Weinreich

Michael Weinreich talks about the opportunities that exist to maximise how chatbots such as Eliza can improve customer service.

Chris Skinner proclaimed 2017 to be the “year of the bots”. Looking at the current service level of most financial players, this year may present the perfect opportunity to combine cost efficiency and superior customer experience.

Think back to your last service experience with your bank or insurance company. Yes, many apps and websites exist and FAQs provide great content, but what happens when you have no app downloaded, or simply don’t have the time to explore your provider’s website in depth?

The usual experience is waiting on the phone followed by some very mechanical voice introducing options such as “Press 1 for x or press 2 for y”, and so on. By the time option 6 is introduced, many of us feel uncertain about what option 1 or 2 were offering in the first place. Even if you decide on one option, the next waiting queue has started, quite often taking literally minutes away from your precious personal time budget. Frequently, the first contact that you reach isn’t able to solve your problem. Instead, you’re redirected to the next contact. I think we all agree that, despite what seems to be an industry standard for consumer communication, we should aim higher in creating customer experiences that solve problems quickly and increase customer loyalty when it really matters.

Engaging in conversations

As early as 1964, MIT created what many have come to regard as the first robotic customer interaction tool (bot) – a natural language processing program called Eliza – to process user input and engage in conversations. While Eliza simulated a psychotherapist in its first application, the concept of natural language processing in combination with advanced rule engines, artificial intelligence and voice recognition has the potential to assist consumers in many more ways. New customer interaction solutions will be much faster, with more consistent quality, fully compliant, and with easier-to-control behaviour than any traditional call centre service.

So what needs to be done? Many companies already have an extensive, partly digital knowledge repertoire available, including FAQ lists, training materials for customer service employees, scripts for outbound campaigns, customer classification, and so on. These tools provide a good foundation to build a central, integrated and consistent customer interaction layer.

In an ideal world, all customer interaction is stored and maintained centrally and channelled agnostically. Most importantly, you improve your knowledge base day by day! Yet, how do you tap into the wealth of information your employees collect in everyday customer interactions? A good system will store interaction, analyse intent and measure average duration, perhaps even customer satisfaction, employing short market research functionality at the end of each consumer contact (IVR-based by voice, or short text-based questionnaires).

Combining your customer processes with updated customer insights and employing intelligent bots will create the next generation of customer service. While you benefit from call avoidance and decreased cost base, your customers will finally experience customer service they deserve and expect. So remembering Eliza Doolittle’s quote, “The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated”, isn’t it time to treat our customers with the flowers of fast, competent and reliable customer service?

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READ NEXT: Bank of America’s new chatbot is a higher form of intelligence

Main image: Zapp2Photo,

About the author

Michael Weinreich

Michael Weinreich is CEO and president of Transcom, based in Sweden. He was previously a venture partner at FinLeap, a Berlin-based company builder specialised in fintech. Prior to this, Michael chaired Arvato Financial Solutions and developed an international full service financial BPO Player credited "industry leader" by several leading rating agencies. He is also one of the founding members of Startupbootcamp fintech in London.

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