State Bank of India (SBI), the largest public sector bank in India, has launched its own chatbot to handle customer queries and guide them through its range of retail products and services. Named SBI Intelligent Assistant or SIA, the chatbot is currently undergoing beta testing. SIA is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and is a continuation of SBI’s efforts to streamline its banking operations by identifying key work processes to be transferred to robots.
SBI, in a recent blogpost had said that its new digital platforms like SBI inTouch are widely using bots and artificial intelligence such as IBM Watson, to perform a variety of jobs, especially in improving customer experience.
SIA has been designed to answer customer inquiries in terms of home, education, car and personal loans, as well as recurring and term deposits.
Chatbots are digital robots that can carry on a conversation through audio or text.
According to SBI, more than 80 per cent of the bank’s transactions are done in non-branch journeys, i.e. not touched by any SBI employee – only through machines.
Banks and other financial establishments have been investing heavily in AI to boost their overall offerings. Last year, ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector lender, deployed ‘Software Robotics’ – that emulates human actions – in over 200 business processes across its various functions. This cut response time to customers by up to 60 per cent, the bank claimed.
Axis Bank, India’s third largest private lender, has partnered with a Singapore-based fintech platform to launch intelligent banking chatbots which offer mobile banking services for customers in a conversational format.