Nationwide is giving clients the option of conversing with an AI agent via Apple Business Chat as an alternative to dialing up its call centre.
When visiting Nationwide’s website on an Apple device, users will be presented with an option to 'message' the Society and chat with the building society's virtual assistant.
The intelligent agent, developed by IBM, has been trained to answer the most frequent questions posed by clients. It can also seamlessly pass the member over to human colleagues for more complex queries, with the conversation continuing within the same thread on the Messages app.
James Smith, digital director, at Nationwide, says: “The Covid-19 pandemic has really challenged how we connect at a time when our members are looking for our support more than ever. Apple Business Chat provides a simple, secure and fast way for members to get in contact with Nationwide, at the tap of a button. It allows members to send us a message on a platform that lots of them already use to communicate with family and friends.
Initially rolled out in a limited release in April, the chatbot has handled more than 14,000 conversations, with an average response time to queries of four minutes.
User can ask questions across a range of different topics; from current account queries to questions about payment holidays. In the future, says Smith, the app will be adjusted to respond to fraud queries from users as well as payment disputes.
HSBC rolled out a similar feature to UK clients in July, having experienced a 50% increase in the use of its existing digital chat support services during the Covid-19 lockdown, as well as a 40% jump in call centre demand.