Bank of America began rolling out its virtual voice assistant Erica, in March, and by June the financial institution says all customers will have an option to communicate with the technology online. The chatbot can search past transactions, ask for directions to the nearest ATM, and schedule meetings at specific branches.
The move follows a technology trend in banking that began last year. At Capital One, chatting with Eno, a chatbot that launched in March 2017, has become common.
Ken Dodelin, VP of conversational products at Capital One, said future iterations of Eno -- which recently turned one -- will have the intelligence to forecast intent based on past conversation. “It is absolutely part of becoming an intelligence system to tie in the context and data from [interactions with Capital One] based on the customer’s account, attributions and actions,” he said. “If you call in the call center would have access to data that says you’ve paid your bill. Eno would have the same capability.”
Dodelin said Capital One is part of a broader movement for AI products outside of banking. The company wanted to identify some of the trends. Nearly half of those participating in the study said they use AI assistants more today than one year ago.
Some 82% of Americans believe an AI assistant is helpful with financial tasks, according to data from Capital One and Wakefield Research.
The recent study asked consumers to weigh in on their preferences and attitudes about AI assistants. Whether it’s Siri, Alexa or another assistant, 77% want their online friends to have a human-like personality.
Personal assistance was the top priority among the key findings of the survey, which was conducted with 1,000 consumers and completed in April 2018. Consumers have a clear preference for AI assistants with a touch of humanity, and are looking for help, counsel and protection.
Ironically, 56% of respondents say they would feel more comfortable talking to an AI assistant about potentially embarrassing topics. For example 29% said they would talk with an AI assistant about health issues, 30% about money, and 31% about love.
Forty-seven percent of consumers think AI assistants should serve to protect against fraud, while 38% say they should be used to protect credit card information; and 44% say they would be useful to ensure their bills are paid on time.