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Sumitomo Mitsui rolls out messaging app bot

The Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group has developed an AI chatbot that will answer customer questions over Line, the popular Japanese messaging app.

Developed by the financial group with telco NTT Comm and Accenture, the bot will be available to SMBC Nikko Securities customers later this month.

The bot will initially provide guidance on ways to open accounts as well as on initial public offerings, Nippon Individual Savings Accounts, and other issues. The bot’s scope will steadily expand to include things like share price inquiries and investment trust selection.

Nikko Securities began offering an operator-staffed chat service on its site and over Line last year but the bot promises to allow faster response times and will eventually operate overnight and on holidays. Employees will benefit and achieve a “good work-life balance” says the bank.

NTT Comm is providing the AI engine, which can engage in “human-like dialogue” so that it can understand customer inquiries and offer natural responses. If the bot cannot answer a question, it passes the customer on to a human.

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