POSB digibank Virtual Assistant breaks new ground with artificial intelligence-driven chatbot
First bank in Singapore to enable customers to bank conversationally on social messaging platform
As part of POSB’s efforts to make day-to-day banking simpler, smarter and faster for its customers, the bank has officially launched an online chat banking on Facebook Messenger. This makes POSB the first bank in Singapore to leverage an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot to enable its customers to bank conversationally on a social messaging platform.
POSB first announced its plans for customers to use natural language to chat with POSB from a social messaging app in August 2016. Since then, the bank has been working with US-based Kasisto, a spin-off from SRI International which created the technology behind Siri (Apple’s voice assistant), to deliver this service. Kasisto’s conversational AI platform, KAI, powers smart bots and virtual assistants with deep banking knowledge.
For a start, customers can chat with POSB to enquire about the bank’s products and services via the AI-driven “POSB digibank Virtual Assistant”. Customers simply have to visit the POSB Facebook page and go directly to Facebook Messenger to access this service which is available round-the-clock. Since the launch of the service on January 13, all enquiries made via the chat with POSB on Facebook were answered promptly without being re-routed to the bank’s customer centre. The majority of the enquiries centred on the bank’s branch locations and foreign exchange rates.
Said Jeremy Soo, Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore), DBS Bank, “As a bank serving close to five million customers in Singapore, we are taking the lead in driving innovation in our digital offerings and providing a seamless customer experience across our platforms. We know that our customers are spending time conversing on their favourite mobile messaging apps, and we are immersing ourselves in the customer journey by making it easier and more convenient for them to engage us. With ‘POSB digibank Virtual Assistant’, customers can converse with us as easily as they would with their contacts – no more calls and no more waiting in line just to get a response. Customers can also soon look forward to conducting their banking transactions via this service.”
Since September 2016, POSB has spent over 11,000 man hours training the virtual assistant, with actual questions and responses taken from the bank’s customer centre. POSB also set up an annotation team to ensure that responses are kept valid and succinct, and most importantly, be able to meet customer needs. As the “POSB digibank Virtual Assistant” understands natural language, it is able to respond in real-time. The POSB virtual assistant also has learning abilities and over time, as more customer questions are answered, it will be able to respond more accurately to enquiries.
By 2Q 2017, customers can also look forward to conducting banking transactions such as balance enquiries, fund transfers and card payments through the online chat function via the “POSB digibank Virtual Assistant”. Chat banking will also be launched in DBS’ other key markets, with plans to extend this service to other mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat in the future. For more information on “POSB digibank Virtual Assistant”, please visit www.posb.com.sg/chatbot
DBS/POSB currently has the largest number of online banking and mobile banking customers in Singapore with over 2.5 million and 1.4 million users respectively, who account for over 1.2 million transactions daily across its digital platforms. The bank’s customer mobile activity continues to lead the industry in Singapore and mobile banking accounts for over 60% of the bank’s more than 500,000 daily logins.
A part of the DBS Group, POSB is the largest and oldest local bank in Singapore with over 4 million customers. Having served generations of Singaporeans for the past 140 years, it is known as the “People’s Bank”, and prides itself on being “neighbours first, bankers second”.
With a good understanding of Singaporeans through the years, POSB offers products and services that are relevant to the savings, borrowing, investment and insurance needs of all Singaporeans. With over 50 branches conveniently located islandwide, and over 1,000 ATMs and Cash Acceptance Machines across the island, POSB’s distribution network is the largest in Singapore.