Gabriele Fuso, Telephone flows manager at Findomestic
“For a company like Findomestic, where customers are central to all we do, adding virtual agents is the natural consequence of our drive to provide better customer experience.”
A more effective and personal experience: how Findomestic is revolutionizing its CX
Findomestic is an Italian financial services company specializing in providing individuals and families credit for their private use. It has been active for over 30 years and has more than 300 branches all over the country. The company strategy has always been to personalize its services, tailoring them to each customer, while making sure that its customers borrow within their means.
Findomestic was acquired in 2009 by BNP Personal Finance, and so it is part of the BNP Paribas group.
Over the years Findomestic expanded its offer to include retail banking, with the availability of checking and savings accounts, insurance products, and debuting a digital signature solution in 2013. All this resulted in an innovative banking business model and an increased emphasis on the centrality of customers.
At the same time, Findomestic launched a project to manage contact center calls more efficiently while providing a pleasant and personalized conversational experience and preparing for a constant increase in the number of customer calls, that today has reached about 4 million a year. When the project started, incoming calls were answered by human agents who would classify their intent and forward them to the most suitable office.
Findomestic were monitoring the natural language and AI scene and were aware of the technological advancements in accuracy and breadth. They decided that the time had come to start automating the contact center service with a conversational virtual agent. Surveying the industry, they were impressed with Interactive Media’s experience and references and tapped it to become the technology partner in this digital transformation project.
Given how central customers are in Findomestic’s strategy and how creating a direct relationship with the customer was key in offering a personalized service, the idea of using a virtual agent to greet customers generated much curiosity and skepticism. Any change in the service would have to provide a better experience in addition to lower operating costs.
For this reason, Findomestic decided to give the Virtual Agent an initially limited task, but with strategic importance in managing contacts: establishing the call, greeting the customer, and identifying the call’s intent to route the call to the most suitable human agent, sales representative, or other expert able to satisfy the customer’s needs.
But would a virtual agent be able to provide a service in line with Findomestic’s quality standards? How many calls would the agent lose to the customer abandoning the interaction or to failure to address the request in the best way? These were the doubts that the SOVE Project had to dispel.
SOVE and Anna
SOVE was the name chosen for this project; in Italian, it stands for “(call) Router with Advanced Virtual Operator”. The project started in 2013 and was implemented based on Interactive Media’s OMNIA MIND platform. Following Interactive Media’s standard process, human agents’ know-how and the Findomestic process documentation were used to tailor the Virtual Agent flow. The most senior Findomestic agents worked with Interactive Media personnel to properly train the Virtual Agent, deciding on the most appropriate dialog strategies to pinpoint the callers’ intent.
The result of project SOVE was Anna, Findomestic’s Conversational Virtual Agent, which was gradually put online in parallel with human agents to greet customers.
After the initial trial period, the project was a runaway success. Statistics showed that the call abandonment rate when the Virtual Agent was involved was lower than 5% (which is a “natural” rate for all greeting services). Customers were in general very pleased with Anna, which was routing the call to the correct queue 95% of the time. Anna understood the call’s intent correctly almost every time, identifying the caller by their telephone number or by their spoken name or account number 92% of the time. In all cases, what the customer tells Anna explicitly is the most important element for interpreting the customer’s request.
Project SOVE was so successful that it also won the first prize in a competition sponsored by BMP Personal Finance in 2015, as the most innovative project.
Anna proved very good at scaling up service during peak periods. For instance, in April 2021 the Italian government changed some norms that had an impact on banking and lending, and this generated a peak in calls. Anna’s knowledge base was easily changed to provide the correct answers to the relative questions, thus screening the rest of the customer service operation from the higher call volume.
Another notable consequence of Anna’s deployment has to do with the change in internal processes. Human agents who were previously employed greeting customers were able to get additional training and graduate to solve more complex customer issues, with a marked increase in job satisfaction.
“We are more than satisfied with the results we had from our partnership with Interactive Media, especially for Anna.” said Gabriele Fuso, telephone flows manager at Findomestic. “For a company like Findomestic, where customers are central to all we do, adding virtual agents is the natural consequence of our drive to provide better customer experience. On the one hand we were able to satisfy our customers’ growing communication needs, while improving our service quality. On the other hand, we used our operators’ know-how and freed them for more important tasks. We firmly believe that this is the right way to approach a scenario with ever-increasing automation in the different areas of the company.”
Project SOVE and Interactive Media partnership in the future
The SOVE platform has acquired a central role in Findomestic’s customer service strategy, together with Findomestic’s partnership with Interactive Media. This will continue in the next years. Plans include a widening of the virtual agent functions, not only to answer more questions, but also to do it on different channels, in particular on the new digital channels.
Luca Avarello, Head of Intelligent Transport System at Roma Servizi per la Mobilità “The fact that this service...
INPS deploys Interactive Media’s conversational AI solutions to improve service scalability and user experience
“Interactive Media has been very quick and effective in implementing this new service. In fact, this new service was...
ACI Infomobility automates traffic information service and improves citizen experience with interactive media AI-powered virtual agent
“The implementation of Interactive Media’s technology was a powerful mean to increase operational productivity and...
Talk to us
LOOKING FOR A RELIABLE PARTNER TO BOOST YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE? WE CAN HELP.
Interact with us
Receive our exclusive content: