UK building society Nationwide is using artificial intelligence (AI) to help analyse customer interactions so it can solve members’ problems earlier.
Analytics specialist SAS ran a proof-of-concept using AI and natural language processing which identified significant inefficiencies, revealing that more than half of all email enquiries could be resolved by guiding members towards digital channels instead.
Many members contact the building society via secure emails sent when they are logged into online banking, SAS explained. Nationwide wanted to understand the types of enquiries it receives via this channel and look for better ways to manage them.
In the proof-of-concept, analysts identified the root cause of each email enquiry, whether the query was resolved, and how many emails were exchanged in the process. Sentiment analysis from SAS helped Nationwide to detect the member’s mood – showing, for instance, that people’s moods worsen as the number of emails rises.
Nationwide will use the insights generated by the AI to make changes to its website and other channels.
“Using SAS text analytics, we established several concrete ways to make our service better,” explained Graeme Reed, senior manager of analytics at Nationwide. “For example, many members contact us for proof of the travel insurance gained with the FlexPlus current account. The documents are available on our website – if we make them easier to find, more people will access them on a self-service basis.
“We also found that members often ask for a paper statement, because our online statements did not contain sufficient personal information to function as proof of address. By tweaking the statement format, we can eliminate these requests. And if several members contact us about transactions that cannot be completed online, we can consider building a digital capability to meet their needs.”
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