Global bank tests customer service 'bot'

Global bank Wells Fargo is launching an artificial intelligence-driven customer service 'chat' experience within Facebook's Messenger application.

Wells Fargo customers who frequently use Messenger will be able to save time using the chat bot functionality rather than troll through the company's website for help.

The bank has been providing assistance to its customers on Facebook platforms since 2009 and in May 2016, it adopted Messenger as its main channel for addressing customers' common questions and service issues. The majority of customer engagements are now conducted on Messenger, rather than its public Facebook news feed, Wells Fargo said in statement.

Several hundreds of Wells Fargo employees are currently taking part in the pilot and later in the year the company will invite a few thousand customers to participate as it expands the testing environment.

Head of innovation group Steve Ellis said the goal is to deliver information 'in the moment' to help customers make better informed financial decisions.

The company said in February that artificial intelligence will be an area of focus for the bank's payments, virtual solutions and innovation group, as it aims to leverage data to provide more personalised customer service.

Facebook also announced that it spent the last 12 months focused on improving and launching products and features on Messenger, particularly "[leveraging] the power of AI and building more bots to help businesses connect in more meaningful ways."

Separately, the latest study by UN-based not-for-profit organisation Better Than Cash Alliance revealed in China, social media network WeChat and third-party online payment platform Alipay, generated US$2.9 trillion in digital social payments in 2016. It represents a 20-fold increase in the past four years.

Better Than Cash Alliance said social networks and e-commerce platforms are growing in every economy, whether large or small, and digital payments are thriving from these channels particularly in China.

Read more: AIMessengerFacebookWells FargoBetterCash AllianceChinaAlipaySteve EllisWeChat
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