The UK's Barclays bank is using technology from Cambridge-based Transversal to power an interactive customer services facility on its Web site that is able to serve up targeted advertising and sales promotions in response to naturally-phrased customer questions.
The Transversal Sales Engine replaces the bank's existing Web site help, FAQ and 'contact us' options with an 'ask a question' feature and is being used in a bid to increase online sales.
Using advanced neural technology, the Sales Engine provides specific answers to customer questions, while also presenting related advertising and promotions. For example, Transversal says questions about foreign currency accounts could return adverts and offers on travel insurance, using debit cards abroad and foreign mortgages. The adverts change automatically depending on relevance to customer questions, or to products and services that the bank is promoting. Advertisements can be in the style of graphic banners and Google-style text links.
"By using the Transversal Sales Engine we are able to personalise content to exactly match their needs, based on their own questions," says Barnaby Davis, electronic banking director at Barclays. "Sales Engine delivers invaluable information on what our customers are interested in, where it matters most - at the point of purchase."
The bank already uses the vendor's Metafaq e-customer service software to provide customers with immediate and accurate answers to questions online and to reduce calls to its helpdesk.