Merchant Innovation

SEB Launches Voice-Activated Assistant Aida To Improve Customer Service

SEB AB, the largest bank in Sweden, is getting into the voice-activated digital assistant game with the launch of Aida. According to a news report in Bloomberg, Aida aims to free up time for humans to work on more complex tasks.

“There are some frequent, simple tasks that we need to deal with manually today, and in that effort, we’re looking into AI to see how we can deploy it — and Aida is one,” said Johan Torgeby, chief executive officer of the Swedish bank SEB, in an interview with Bloomberg.

Aida isn’t the first virtual assistant out of Sweden. The country has become a pioneer in the use of artificial intelligence (AI), with competing bank Nordea Bank recently rolling out Nova, a chatbot for its life and pension business in Norway. Meanwhile, Swedbank is increasing the number of skills possessed by Nina, its voice-activated virtual assistant. Each of the three assistants features a female voice as research shows customers are more comfortable interacting with them.

Because chatbots have the ability to access large amounts of data on individual clients, they can quickly handle questions from customers that are basic and straightforward. Human employees can then handle more complex services — such as figuring out the best mortgage for a customer.

“Basically all banks are closing branches,” Mattias Fras, head of robotics, strategy and innovation at Nordea, in the same report. “This is a way to return to full service again.”

The bank’s robot will someday help customers with investment advice, cancel lost credit cards and open savings accounts. The moves on the part of the Swedish banks comes as they face customer satisfaction issues with scores dropping to 20-year lows after many of banks were forced to close branches and push online services. Artificial intelligence is seen as a cure for banks, allowing them to close the gap between the services they offer and what customers expect from them.

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