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Singapore bank offers online chat banking

POSB launches automated customer service platform that understands spoken language

Singapore bank POSB has launched online chat functionality that understands and reacts to its customers’ spoken language.

It is the latest bank to harness artificial intelligence (AI) to automate customer interactions with the POSB digibank Virtual Assistant, which is available via Facebook Messenger.

Customers of the bank, which is part of DBS, will be able to talk to a chatbot 24 hours a day.

The technology has been developed in partnership with US tech firm Kasisto to create virtual assistants with banking knowledge that can answer voice-based questions.

Jeremy Soo, head of the consumer banking group at DBS, said: “We know our customers are spending time conversing on their favourite mobile messaging apps, and we are immersing ourselves in the customer journey by making it easier and more convenient for them to engage with us.”

Soo said the service would eventually allow customers to make payments. “With POSB digibank Virtual Assistant, customers can converse with us as easily as they would with their contacts – no more calls and no more waiting in line just to get a response. Customers can also soon look forward to conducting their banking transactions via this service.”

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POSB began working on the service in September and has spent more than 11,000 man-hours training the virtual assistant, with actual questions and responses taken from the bank’s customer centre. The virtual assistant learns over time and will be able to respond more accurately as it builds up knowledge. 

Banks worldwide are looking at the potential uses of AI for customer services. In October 2016, SEB in Sweden became the first bank to use IPsoft’s cognitive technology, known as Amelia, for customer services after the software robot proved successful in an internal IT service desk project.

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