Harrisdirect, the online brokerage service of Bank of Montreal, has added an automated, natural language query and response facility to its Web site.
The bank claims that the new "Ask Harrisdirect" service goes beyond traditional FAQ searches by replicating the contact centre agent. The system delivers automated responses to natural language queries that customers have typed into the application online.
The automated service agent (ASA) has been developed by US-based Conversagent. and also includes a knowledge management interface which allows non-technical customer service staff to add, edit and publish content within the application.
Michael Hogan, COO, Harrisdirect, says: "Conversagent's ASA solution serves our clients' demanding requirements for high-quality service and information access, with accurate responses in real time."
Harrisdirect claims to be the the first online brokerage to deploy this kind of self-service technology, but other financial firms have been using similar systems. In the UK alone, First Direct, Cahoot, Nationwide and Direct Line have experimented with interactive and animated agent technology and bots.