India’s largest bank: State Bank of India (SBI) is the latest to get smitten by the Artificial Intelligence and Automation. They have launched their first ever chatbot called SBI Intelligent Assistant or SIA, which would be powered by AI, and designed to assist customers.
After ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank adopted automation in banking, SBI’s move towards AI is seen as a major leap for Indian banking.
But, the question is: Will this lead to job loss?
In their ‘News Flash’ section, SBI informed that they have successfully launched a chatbot called SBI Intelligent Assistant or SIA, which will power the customer care queries on their website.
This special chatbot has been created & developed by Allincall, which is a startup from Mumbai, and backed by startup cell of IIT Bombay. As per the details available, Allincall has used machine learning, and bot experience to create an AI powered chatbot, which will respond to customer’s query, and provide them solution.
There has been no mention the usage of SIA on social media handles of SBI, as well. It will work on the website to start with.
As per Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, Deputy MD and Chief Information officer at SBI, there are basically three touch points, for which a customer normally contacts their bank: Sales, Service and Enquiry.
SBI’s chatbot SAI will focus on the Enquiry aspect, and assist the customer to navigate to the exact location, where they can receive appropriate help.
He said, “Most of the time, customer touch points with the bank are for three things – sales, service and enquiry,”, adding, “We found that for enquiry and navigation, a customer has to navigate quite a bit or go to call centres, where the agent may not be fully knowledgeable.”
It seems that redesigning the website could have also helped the cause, as navigating the website of SBI seems the biggest challenge here.
As per available reports, SIA will assist the website visitor to enquire about the most sought after banking services such as home loans, education loans, car loans, personal loans, recurring deposits and term deposits.
Using audio and text, the chatbot will guide the customer, and take him/her along to the most useful sections of the website.
As per SBI’s previous blogs, it was found that 80% of transactions in SBI was non-banking nature, which means no employee are engaged with the customer for these transactions, but are done by machines. The blog post said, “SBI in its new digital platforms like SBI inTouch is widely using bots and artificial intelligence, like IBM’s Watson, to perform a variety of jobs.”
This clearly showcases that SBI has adopted automation in a massive manner, and soon, lots of new and exciting innovations can be witnessed.
Highlighting the importance of AI and automation, SBI has said: “Today, bot-led machine deployment in banks is on high steam in many countries. Voice and body language algorithms, a combination of smart blending of unique biometric characteristics, language and semantics based on grammar, etymology and language intelligence are essential for good chat and video bots.”
Earlier, HDFC Bank became the first bank to deploy robots for customer service, even as they fired 4000+ for ‘improved efficiency’. And last year, ICICI Bank deployed an army of robots to automate their 10 lakh banking operations.
Now, as SBI too has adopted automation, can we assume that banking has changed for ever? And, is this change good? Do let us know by commenting right here!