Martin Kedbäck, Swedbank

Martin Kedbäck, Swedbank

Swedbank has gone live with Nuance Nina, a virtual assistant that delivers a human-like, conversational customer service.

The system, provided by US-based Nuance Communications, sits on the Swedbank website and the bank’s customers can type their questions to the virtual assistant. Swedbank customer service agents are also using the system to source information for customers.

Martin Kedbäck, channel management at Swedbank, says: “We like to be where our customers are, and that includes providing support online and in our other digital channels.”

Nuance says Nina has helped Swedbank improve customer experience, including a 78% “first-contact resolution within the first three months”. Customer adoption has seen an average of 30,000 conversations per month within the same period; and it is currently answering eight out of every ten customer questions.

Nina uses Nuance’s natural language understanding (NLU) technology to deliver a “more natural interface to web visitors which simulates human conversation”.

Swedbank is a financial institution in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It is the descendant of Sparbanken Sverige, the savings bank of Sweden, which formed in 1992 from the merger of a number of smaller savings banks, some of which go back to the early 19th century. The current name was adopted in 2006 after a merger with Foreningsbanken.

The bank has around 9.5 million retail customers and 622,000 corporate customers in the four main countries it operates in. It also cooperates with some 60 smaller local independent savings banks that chose not to join in the 1992 merger.

Nuance the difference

Recently, HSBC launched voice recognition and touch security services in the UK using Nuance’s technology.

Customers of First Direct, a division of HSBC, were offered the biometric recognition system first, and will be followed by HSBC’s in the summer.

HSBC is not the first to do this as Barclays has already introduced voice recognition software to its corporate clients, while RBS and NatWest have offered finger print technology for the last year.

Atom Bank is also planning to launch a virtual assistant soon; and says: “We’re starting with face and voice biometrics, but we’re already working on adding fingerprint to the list.”