Digitization in the Finance Sector: Alexa Helps Switch Bank Accounts
They know train schedules, they can read the news aloud to you, and they will shop online if you ask them to: Voice assistants are being increasingly used as handy everyday helpers and they are opening up new opportunities for customer dialogue. One of the latest Alexa skills is helping consumers to switch their bank account.
They were just as hot a topic at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas this year as they were on Christmas day last year: voice assistants by Amazon, Google etc. lost their ‘geek factor’ long ago and are now appearing in living rooms and kids’ bedrooms. One of the secrets of the smart loud speaker’s success is its programmable skills. It’s almost impossible to say how many of these skills there currently are. It would also be pointless trying: Consider recent developments in Alexa skills – 5,000 new skills are developed every 100 days on average. According to data by voicebot.ai, this figure passed the 30,000 mark in the USA in March.
The First Alexa Skill for People Wanting to Switch Bank Accounts
Kontowechsel24, a subsidiary of Arvato CRM Solutions, is the first provider to bring an Alexa skill that enables automated account switching onto the market. Automated account switching means that credit institutions can efficiently meet the requirements of the Payment Accounts Act. This ensures, among other things, that consumers can change their payment account provider more easily.
With the new skill, bank customers can get answers to their questions about switching accounts “on demand”: Have all important payment partners, such as energy providers, cell phone providers and insurance companies, been informed about the new bank account? Which payment partners have I already used? Has the salary already been transferred to the new account? Has a payment partner left a postbox message about the account switch? Alexa answers these questions and many others in direct dialog with bank customers, without them having to log into their online bank account to look, or inquire at their local branch. This is more convenient for customers and reduces the number of inquiries at the service center or in branches.
Even though automated account switching only takes a few minutes, the functions of the Kontowechsel24 skill can still be relevant for the consumer months after the bank account is opened. For example, when payment partners debit payments in larger time intervals and first use the new bank account six months after it was opened. “We are delighted that we can offer bank customers real added value with our new Alexa skill and can make switching accounts even more digital and convenient,” says Kristina Klein, project manager at Kontowechsel24.
Implementation in Just a Few Weeks
It only takes a few weeks to implement the new skill on the bank’s website. The skill can either be integrated as an additional feature into an Alexa skill that already exists with the financial institution, or it can stand alone as its own account-switching skill on the bank’s website. The technical basis for the skill is the IT platform Arvato Conversational AI, developed by Arvato CRM Solutions. The technology makes it possible to understand written or verbal customer inquiries, and to answer them using automation, or if the customer prefers, to pass them on to a customer advisor. In the future other voice assistant systems, such as the Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, should be connected via this platform, so they can answer bank customers’ questions regarding switching their bank account digitally.