rbs 2New York-based LivePerson has rolled out the “first financial industry hybrid bots in the world” at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), offering a service where humans and bots can team up in one conversation.

With RBS continuing with branch closures and job cuts, and seeking a digital redress to a financial mess; the idea of non-humans helping has been deemed attractive. This new service is live for its customers, with plans for a wider rollout that support its mission to be the UK’s “most helpful bank, centered around the customer”.

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.”

Called RBS Assist, it combines artificial intelligence (AI) powered FAQs and bot conversations, and it’s able to transfer a bot conversation to a human customer service representative if it cannot understand what a consumer wants.

LivePerson’s LiveEngage platform is used by RBS’s digital communications, and integrates additional technology, including cloud-based AI, and self-service software from US firm Nanorep, to answer or surface answers to FAQs.

The solution, which started live testing in January, includes natural language processing (NLP) techniques with machine learning (ML) algorithms.

According to LivePerson, 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.