Barely a day ago, DBS announced that its DBS Visa Debit Card would now allow cardholders to spend overseas without incurring any of those pesky currency conversion fees. This came as great news as these fees could easily add an extra 7-15% on the amount that cardholders spend, and on top of other card fees.
And today, DBS’ subsidiary company POSB has just announced a new addition to their services.
Going Full dVA (Almost)
Meet the POSB chatbot, affectionately termed the digibank Virtual Assistant, a.k.a dVA.
POSB’s hotline chatbot is hooked up to Facebook Messenger and is a result of the bank’s efforts to make banking simpler and faster for customers. The dVA update also makes POSB the first local bank to leverage on AI chatbots to address customer service issues.
Customers simply have to visit the POSB Facebook page and access Messenger.
dVA is available 24/7 and makes suggestions on what to ask it, and follows up with a prompt, yet comprehensive reply.
Unfortunately for chatbot Bus Uncle fans, dVA veers away from displaying any tendencies befitting its namesake, and instead takes a professional tone with my questions.
dVA is helpful in that it links you up to relevant answers, but when it comes to more specific questions such as outlets locations, you’d still have to do a bit of work yourself.
Months In The Making
POSB’s plans to use natural language to allow customers to converse with them has been a design in the making since August 2016.
Since then, the bank has been collaborating with US-based Kasisto, a spin-off company from SRI International (creators of Apple’s Siri). KAI, Kasisto’s conversational AI platform, powers smart bots and chatbots with deep banking knowledge.
dVA was trained over 11,000 hours, with real past questions and responses. Answers are developed to be succinct, and the chatbot is constantly learning from conversations so as to be able to answer queries more accurately.
According to Jeremy Soo, DBS’ Head of Consumer Banking Group (Singapore), they seek to lead innovation in digital services to provide “seamless customer experience across [their] platforms.“
Since customers are already engaged in messaging apps, the new chatbot will make it “easier and more convenient” for customers to get help without having to wait in a line or across the phone.
POSB notes that by the second quarter of 2017, they will be adding more features to dVA such as balance enquiries, fund transfers and card payments. Other future plans seek to extend this service to mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat.
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