TSB Smart Agent has now been fully integrated into the bank’s mobile banking app and is already averaging over 1,000 conversations a day on mobile devices.
In partnership with IBM, the chat service was first introduced to TSB’s internet banking platform in just five days at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak as TSB accelerated its strategy to meet the rapidly changing needs of its customers.
Since then, TSB Smart Agent has handled one million conversations with customers and provided important assistance throughout lockdown and the pandemic. With the launch of the service on the mobile banking app, TSB Smart Agent now handles around 3,500 conversations a day, across mobile and internet banking.
Of the one million conversations since its introduction, over 200,000 have been handed over to 60 specially trained TSB colleagues to manage queries.
The benefit of using AI and the advanced natural language processing capabilities of IBM Watson Assistant is that TSB Smart Agent will be able to evolve, continuously improving the conversations it has with TSB’s customers. The virtual agent will be constantly developing from its initial design to provide higher quality responses and guidance for an expanding range of queries.
TSB Smart Agent will be able to recognise different customer terminology and the introduction of new products and services, for example, to support customers with queries about their accounts.
Over 50 automated responses have been built into TSB Smart Agent, covering topics such as cards, payments and disputes – all the common queries customers ask of their bank. For instance, if a customer asks about the status of a card transaction, TSB Smart Agent can provide detailed information in response.
TSB Smart Agent has been trained to understand a customer’s reason for engaging and how a similar question could be asked in several ways, providing the best possible response so customers can expect a tailored service. When TSB Smart Agent is not able to answer a query, it will pass the customer to a TSB adviser to help instead, all within the same mobile chat.
In addition, a number of information gathering journeys have been built into TSB Smart Agent so information can be collected from the customer before handing the query to a TSB colleague.
The launch marks another exciting phase in the bank’s technology transformation and partnership with IBM to adopt a hybrid cloud approach. IBM Watson Assistant runs on IBM Cloud while IBM also built and manages TSB’s private cloud environment, running services across TSB’s core banking platforms.
TSB’s Chief Operating Officer, Suresh Viswanathan, said: “As more and more customers bank and shop online, we have introduced TSB Smart Agent to our mobile banking app. Throughout the pandemic, it has proved a quick and helpful way of answering customer questions on internet banking.
“Through our modern digital platform and strong partnership with IBM, we have again delivered cutting-edge technology to meet the changing needs of our customers in an increasingly digital age.”
Michael Conway, Partner and AI Practice Leader, IBM UK Global Business Services, said: “As the financial services industry continues its rapid transformation, it was a real pleasure to work in partnership with TSB and support its ambition to become a truly digital business. By modernising applications and tapping into higher-value technology, including AI, TSB has been able to deliver new innovative services to its customers.
“Bringing artificial intelligence into new areas for the bank and building on its hybrid cloud foundations has brought even more efficiency and effectiveness. This shows how technology can be employed at pace to further enhance the stellar work already being carried out by the bank’s employees.”