The era of waiting for a decision from head office, or leaving customers hanging while approvals were sought is incompatible with the digital age. Instead, virtual agents can help make decisions instantly and speed up business processes while reducing costs.
Wysdom worked with a top 15 North American bank with over 40,000 employees. A portion of their services include helping business customers perform foreign exchange (FX) over the phone or in branch. However, the execution of the trade ultimately takes place over the phone, leaving customers waiting for rates and confirmation of a trade. To improve the turnaround time and experience, the company approached Wysdom for a solution.
The bank originally hosted a virtual agent on Facebook that would show the real-time FX rate between a customer’s entered currencies. However, customers would have to call, go online or visit a branch to actually perform the trade.
That interaction would take up to 20 minutes, sometimes longer, creating a poor customer experience and delays for business clients, some of whom might be waiting in a branch for some time.
To remedy the problem, Wysdom was engaged to deliver FX trades that could be automated through instant messaging, design a conversational experience that did not feel robotic, build a service which would be available to all banking centres and back-office teams and offer the ability to match competitive rates and book trades via messaging.
To deliver a solution, the project goals included:
The bank already used Microsoft Teams, so this was selected as the messaging platform to deliver the FX Virtual Agent – avoiding introducing another new software platform for employees to learn. This would aid in adoption as every employee already had access to it.
The technical side of the agent was created through a joint effort between Wysdom and the bank’s technical teams using the bank’s internal pricing software to integrate with the agent, enabling price negotiations and execution of trades.
On top of the mechanics, Wysdom created a conversational Virtual Agent to support users, helping manage conversations and accepting client information. To reduce risk, the Virtual Agent can identify errors, validate information, and facilitate negotiating rates, allowing users to correct information if required.
The FX Virtual Agent can understand all currencies, branch transit, dates, client names, transaction types, and it can negotiate prices with customers directly.
Additionally, the bank wanted a method to monitor all conversations, and the ability to block anything they deemed out of the ordinary from proceeding. This is not a feature available in Microsoft Teams, so Wysdom created a new feature specific to their Virtual Agent, allowing managers to view chats in real-time or receive alerts if chats are taking too long, with an override button to block a transaction from happening.
Impact and results
When the new Virtual Agent went live, fully integrated with Microsoft Teams, the FX Virtual Agent was deployed across their branches, with employees able to easily book FX currency trades using natural language chat.
- It helped immediately reduce the time taken to execute trades from 20 minutes or longer to under 30 seconds.
- Adoption of the tool was over 95% and nearly all of them become repeat users of the Virtual Agent.
- The client experience was improved substantially delivering confirmation of a foreign exchange almost immediately rather than up to 30 minutes later.
In the longer term, the bank is rolling the tool out to every branch by region while branch executives are asking for early access as they hear about how easy and impactful FX Virtual Agent is. The bank is also looking at other use cases once the full rollout is complete, including supporting other payments and student accounts.
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