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Kasisto’s Zor Gorelov on the future of conversational banking

  • Kasisto's Zor Gorelov knows AI and conversational banking are the future of finance.
  • On this week's podcast, we discuss how his firm helps banks achieve scale without opening another branch location.

Artificial intelligence portends to change the way finance operates. From improving speeds and accuracy of customer service to automation to proactively offering clients the right product at the right time.

This week’s guest on the podcast is Zor Gorelov, the co-founder and CEO of Kasisto. Kasisto specializes in creating banking smart AI that can fundamentally transform the way banks and financial institutions connect with and serve with their customers.

I sat down with Gorelev to find out more about how Kasisto is helping its partners to achieve scale without opening another branch location.

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Below are highlights, edited for clarity, from the episode.
Conversational artificial intelligence
What conversational AI is the ability to maintain human-to-human-like conversations between humans and machines. To do that, we use artificial intelligence. It’s not just marketing, either. It spans the entire spectrum of customer interactions with the enterprise. Chatbots are one use of conversational AI systems. Chatbots have obviously become very popular recently with major announcements from Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and others.

Chatbots as one example of conversational AI
Kasisto isn’t really a chatbot company — we do conversational AI. The difference is that we build virtual assistants that will create conversational experiences that span the spectrum of customer touch points within the enterprise — from Alexa to messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and WeChat to  mobile applications, websites and call centers. Kasisto builds the true omnichannel experience.

Banks use our technology to interact with their customers across channels and use cases — from retail and business banking to wealth management and even interacting with employees. Think of KAI [Kasisto’s product] as a banking brain that knows how to interact with customers and employees using artificial technology.

DBS and Kasisto: A case study
Let’s take retail banking as an example. Singapore-based DBS is one of the largest banks in Southeast Asia. A few years ago the bank decided to expand its footprint in Asia and it chose a digital-only strategy. The launched a mobile-only bank, digibank.

There are two key characteristics that really set it apart: it enables 90-second paperless account opening and it uses virtual assistants built on KAI that manages all customer interactions.

If you’re a DBS customer in India, Indonesia or Singapore, you can use your mobile app to do thinks like open an additional savings account, understand your spending on restaurants on a recent trip, and determine whether you’ll need to pay ATM fees when you’re traveling overseas. And you do all of this simply by having a conversation with the bank as if you had a virtual banker or teller residing in the app.

In India, digibank acquired 1.5 million customers in a year and a half after launching. There are no branches and no call centers. KAI is there to help digibank acquire and support customers. Today, KAI handles 82 percent of all customer interactions with DBS customers without any human intervention. Put differently, only 18 percent of KAI sessions end up with live chat agents. That really changes the economics of digital banking. DBS is able to run its bank at one-fifth the cost of a traditional bank.

The future of AI and opening up new opportunities
Why use AI and not human agents? Well, you can train AI on an unprecedented number of use cases. You can teach KAI or other virtual assistant a sheer number of things that would be impossible for a human to keep in his or her head.

There’s another aspect of AI that’s really interesting: consumers interact differently with AI than they do with other humans and that creates new users experiences. For example, you can ask KAI how much you spend on Uber or on eating out. This isn’t something you’d consider calling your bank about. You probably wouldn’t call Bank of America to find out how much you spent on wine last month. These types of new experiences can generate customer surprise and delight with their bank, deepening customer relationships.

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