RBS to enhance customer service with “hybrid bots”

PRESS RELEASE: LivePerson, a leading provider of cloud mobile and online business messaging solutions, has rolled out the first financial industry “hybrid bots” in the world, at the Royal Bank of Scotland, where humans and bots team up in one conversation to offer fast and accurate service. The service, currently live for customers of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) brand, with plans for a wider rollout, supports the bank’s mission to be the UK’s most helpful bank, centered around the customer.

Unlike typical bots to date, which work in isolation from other channels, the RBS approach gives users a single, convenient place to get help, RBS Assist. Combining AI (artificial intelligence)-powered FAQs and bot conversations, RBS Assist is also able to quickly transfer a bot conversation to a human customer service representative if it cannot understand what a consumer wants. This addresses the frustration of chats where the bot cannot help a consumer, who then has to call in to a support line, or go elsewhere for help.

As an open platform, LiveEngage serves as the foundation for RBS’s digital communications, and integrates additional technology, including cloud-based AI, and advanced self-service software from Nanorep, to intelligently answer or surface answers to FAQs. With this combined system, millions of RBS customers will in future benefit from the ability to message RBS customer service from their smartphone or computer, and get fast answers powered by AI.

LivePerson’s hybrid bot technology works by handing off conversations, back and forth, between human agents and bots This allows the RBS bots to handle routine, administrative tasks, while the bank’s human agents take on the more complex, meaningful interactions and ensure that customers are being understood correctly.

The RBS bot works out what the customer is asking and guides them through simple processes, handing off to a human where it is having trouble. For instance, the bot might suggest answers to FAQs or offer relevant links to common questions. Where a question is more complicated, there is a seamless transfer from a bot to a human agent, which speeds up the customer experience and gives time back to RBS customers.

Founder and CEO of LivePerson, Robert LoCascio, says, “Good customer service should strike the right balance between automation and human interaction. For now, bots aren’t ready to be the primary “agent” but they’re very effective at routine, simple tasks. We believe a combination of humans and bots, with seamless handoffs, is needed for great customer service and it is exciting to work with RBS and see these hybrid bots out in the world.”

The head of digital service at RBS, Katie Ayaz, says, “We’re pleased to be a leader in deploying AI and messaging technologies to serve our customers consistently and with high quality. Intelligent customer engagement using LivePerson technology has already helped us to reduce operational costs and drive higher net promoter scores. As we strive to become the UK’s no.1 bank for customer service, the introduction of hybrid bot customer service to RBS Assist is an exciting next step.”

The enhanced solution, which started live testing in January, includes natural language processing (NLP) techniques with machine learning (ML) algorithms. This enables RBS to analyse every single line of text that its customers enter during a conversation. Bot conversations will be rated in real time as positive, negative or neutral, which will help RBS determine when human intervention or support is needed.

Complementing the hybrid bot solution is Nanorep’s self-service software. Nanorep’s solution improves the digital customer experience by deploying an intelligent search function that leverages AI to understand questions based on context, and yield answers in a matter of seconds. This functionality will enable the RBS customer care agents, bot or human, to more efficiently connect with customers in real time.

LivePerson began working with RBS in 2006 and has since enabled the bank to develop a fully digital, device-agnostic support channel for customers.

Continues LoCascio: “Technology is enabling greater convenience in everything we do, and, as consumer communication preferences evolve, so must businesses. We have the privilege of working with some of the most innovative companies in the world on their digital customer care initiatives. RBS has been one of the earliest to recognise the power and potential of mobile messaging between consumers and brands.”