DNB

How DNB automated 20% of all customer service traffic with a ‘chat-first’ strategy

Norway's largest bank turned to boost.ai to manage the high volume of chat traffic to its contact center, developing a virtual banking agent that successfully automated over half of all online chat interactions in just six months.

DNB, Scandinavia’s biggest bank by market value, was searching for a comprehensive solution to handle an ever-increasing volume of incoming chat traffic to its website. The bank needed a way to free up staff from repetitive work while continuing to provide customers with always-available, 24/7 support.

DNB's results at a glance...
2,500 relevant topics covered from day one
8 weeks to production-ready virtual agent
10,000+ fully-automated daily customer interactions

“The challenge for us has been that we had to use part-time temporary workers to handle the enormous amount of incoming chat traffic,” says Øyvind Brekke, EVP & Head of Digital Innovation at DNB. The bank’s considerable market share in its native Norway means that its contact center receives several thousand chat conversations each day, many of which, while easily handled by human agents, still take up valuable time and resources.

Finding the right fit for a big challenge

DNB worked with boost.ai to develop and launch Aino in June 2018, an advanced virtual banking agent - powered by conversational AI - with capabilities far superior to those of a typical chatbot. “Artificial intelligence is an important part of our digital strategy,” asserts Jan Thomas Lerstein, SVP & Head of IT Emerging Technologies at DNB. “In leveraging AI, our aim is to revitalize our value chains, creating better service for our customers and, of course, value for the bank,”

Proven business outcomes: 20% of all customer service traffic automated in 6 months | CSAT scores hit all-time high of 68% in Q3 2020

Aino can answer questions and automate actions on a variety of topics that the bank’s customers need help with on a daily basis. This includes helping customers find information on credit cards and loans as well as allowing logged-in users to interface with their accounts directly within the chat window, greatly expanding the scope of what the virtual agent can assist with beyond just basic FAQs.

“The results are a lot higher than we expected”

Since October 2018, DNB has implemented Aino as first-line customer support, routing all customer service traffic to its website through the virtual agent first before customers are able to reach human support. A confident move by the technologically-forward bank that delivered immediate results.

Within just six months, Aino had begun automating over 50% of all incoming chat traffic and, to date, has interacted with over a million customers. “The results are a lot higher than we expected in such a short time,” says Brekke, adding that the bank “works hard every day to make Aino even better and to find the right balance.”

"Our chatbot AINO is the most efficient employee in DNB."

Ingjerd Blekeli Spiten, Group Executive Vice President of Personal Banking, DNB

This balance is key to DNB’s strategy for Aino going forward. No artificial intelligence-powered virtual agent can claim to effectively handle every single customer query. Instead, boost.ai’s advanced Natural Language Understanding (NLU) allows Aino to identify what it can and cannot answer, automating thousands of questions daily, and seamlessly routing more complex interactions to its human colleagues when required.

This results in a more holistic customer experience where the bank’s customers always get the help they need whether it’s from a human or a machine. It’s also a win-win for support staff who now spend significantly less time dealing with repetitive questions and can focus instead on more meaningful interactions that bring greater value to the bank.

DNB reports that Aino automates between 50-60% of all incoming chat traffic and ~22% of the bank’s total customer service traffic across all channels. Impressive results that can be attributed to DNB’s ‘chat-first’ approach to customer service automation.

An organization-wide ‘chat-first’ strategy

DNB's journey with conversational AI so far...

DNB’s success with Aino has resulted in a steady increase in customer satisfaction, with CSAT scores for the virtual agent hitting all-time highs of 68% in Q3 2020. Lerstein credits this to his team’s work on tracking and measuring customer satisfaction and understanding how it compares across other channels.

“Automated chat has unique qualities that don’t correlate exactly with legacy channels like phone or e-mail,” Lerstein adds. Instead, his team uses analytics tools built into the boost.ai platform to gather customer feedback to help prioritize content and understand what is and isn’t working.

DNB has also applied this ‘chat-first’ approach to internal support, launching a number of virtual agents on boost.ai’s platform to assist employees on everything from HR to legal issues.

“Our customers prefer using Aino over picking up the phone or waiting in line for live chat.”

— Jan Thomas Lerstein, SVP & Head of IT Emerging Technologies, DNB

The most impressive by far is Juno, an advisory bot for customer service and retail banking employees designed to increase productivity by replacing cumbersome employee manuals with a friendly, conversational interface that makes finding information easier. Juno has over 5,000 daily users and is popular amongst employees thanks to consistently high accuracy rates of 80%.

In 2021, DNB plans to expand its total of AI chatbots to five, with a new internal service desk virtual agent that Lerstein says will “focus from day one on assisting with password resets, generating service tickets and human agent handover.”

The right balance between human and machine

DNB has not only revolutionized how it interacts with its customers but has also opened up new opportunities for employees. Today, the bank has 15 full-time AI Trainers working across its suite of virtual agents. Dedicated to training each bot how to best respond to customers and employees, this unique role offers existing staff the chance to combine their customer service expertise with substantial knowledge of the bank’s products and a technical understanding of how conversational AI works.

“Their job is simple,” says Carla Padro, Senior IT Project Manager for the team responsible for Aino “To make Aino and our other virtual agents the most efficient employees in the customer center.” Each AI Trainer is certified on boost.ai’s no-code platform, requiring no prior technical experience, meaning the bank can avoid spending money and resources on costly data scientists and developers to maintain its virtual agents.

“This has gone much faster than we thought - this is a mature technology that is clearly ready to be used.”

— Ingjerd Blekeli Spiten, Group Executive Vice President of Personal Banking, DNB

In the future, DNB will offer even more advanced functionality through its virtual agents, increasing the number of tasks they can perform and further personalizing the chat experience for customers. “We will continue to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with conversational AI,” says Lerstein, who understands acutely how the balance between humans and machines is crucial to elevating digital banking to its ultimate potential.

“In improving efficiency, the sky’s the limit,” he adds, optimistically. And, with the Nordic banking market already boasting over 90 percent of customers regularly banking online, it makes DNB’s decision to offer frictionless digital banking support via Aino and its chatbot family a decidedly savvy one.

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