Absa to use chatbots to talk to customers

 ·26 Apr 2016

Absa Bank, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa, says it will pilot a chatbot within the coming few weeks, claiming to be the first bank to do so in Africa.

Chatbots use artificial intelligence to simulate intelligent conversation through written or spoken text.

Absa noted that the fact that messaging apps continue to eclipse social media – as the conversational channel of choice in monthly active users – means that consumers are quickly adopting ‘smart’ two-way messaging apps as opposed to traditional, and more limited options such as SMS or email.

According to Barclays Africa’s Jan Moganwa, artificial intelligence enabled chatbots can answer simple customer questions quickly, freeing up staff to focus on more complex customer issues that require deeper human insight.

“Connecting with our customers is core to our business. Introducing chatbots at Absa provides greater ability to have relevant conversations with our customers, and provide immediate response,” said Moganwa.

The bank aims to use AI to learn what individual customers regularly ask for, in real-time, – and then make those options easier in future.

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