Customers of the OCBC bank in Singapore can now find their home and renovation loan queries answered immediately by Emma the chatbot. An artificial intelligence based chatbot, Emma was created by the OCBC Bank’s home loan group and a startup from the OCBC’s ‘fintech accelerator’ programme.
One of the functions of the chatbot is the ability to calculate how much loan a customer can be entitled to, along with the capability to provide detailed instructions on how the customer should apply for the loan. The Emma chatbot is available on the OCBC website, and this helps customers to find all their needs immediately. After opening the OCBC website, Emma can be found on the lower right corner of the screen, and this prevents the need to redirect customers away to a different location to find information. Not only does this provide real time solutions to problems customers may have, it also prevents them from having to wait typically one to two days to get a reply from a human helpdesk via mail. Pang Lah Hwa, the Head of Consumer Secured Lending at OCBC believes that the rise in acceptance rates of virtual chatbots can be naturally followed by service based chatbots that provide information on home and renovation loans to customers.
A Closer Look at Emma
OCBC bank reveals that Emma had to go through rigorous testing and programming in an environment based around reality that is both safe and secure. During this time, the chatbot was drilled on all possible questions that can be asked from customers regarding home and renovation based loans. In this way, the AI was taught to evolve to understand what kind of questions it might be expected to answer from potential customers. The chatbot after the testing could learn to answer various queries, including when either terminology or abbreviations were used. Emma learnt to answer any and all queries with regards to home and renovation loans. Emma will also constantly be updated should the rules and regulations pertaining to her areas of expertise change.
For issues that are more complex in nature, the customer will be presented with suggested topics obtained from keywords in the questions that the customer has placed. Should the customer want to communicate directly with OCBC’s Mortgage Specialists, then Emma will ask for their contact information and relay the same to appropriate authorities. The ChatLog from such conversations will be transferred to the Mortgage Specialists, which gives them the chance to deal with customer grievances. In this system, the customer does not need to make the same appeals to multiple sources but can find the answer to their queries in an efficient and regulated manner.
After its launch in January, 2017, Emma has dealt with more than 20,000 queries and nine out of ten customers were happy with the way their issues were dealt with by Emma. In addition to this, more than 10% of the chat sessions have been transformed into mortgage loans, says OCBC. Happy with the way the chatbot was received, Phang from OCBC says they are confident that chatbots will be an important part of OCBC’s frontline servicing groups in the times to come.
The Take Away
Always available digitally, the ChatBot Emma presents customers with an easy way to gain information they require about home and renovation loans. Built in carefully crafted environment, the AI in Emma specializes in the exhaustive terminology associated with her area, and this allows it to directly address customer grievances. The customer, through Emma, finds a digital representative of OCBC who is available on demand and can help and guide them through navigating home and renovation loans.
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