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How two British banks are automating customer service with AI call assistants

June 27, 2023


Many banks continue to push customers to interact with IVRs and FAQ-driven chatbots to solve their issues. The problem is these systems rely on callers to match their issue to your business logic or use specific keywords in their queries to generate a response.

Without the freedom to explain their issues in detail, callers are often directed to the wrong department, causing misrouted calls, increased call handle time, and high abandon rates.

Innovative banks are now embracing conversational AI to automate common transactions through natural conversations. The following banks have partnered with PolyAI to launch AI call assistants that fully resolve customer queries.

How a savings bank resolves 30% of calls with an AI call assistant

This bank’s contact center was under a lot of pressure due to a sudden increase in call volume. They were finding it difficult to hire enough skilled agents to keep up with the increased demand. On top of that, they were facing regular spikes in call volume whenever they launched special offers or promotions.

With a high volume of calls and a shortage of agents capable of handling complex customer queries, customers were often directed to the wrong department. Misroutes led to longer wait times and negatively impacted the bank’s customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.

They invested in a chatbot to encourage customers to self-serve online. However, a large portion of their customer base isn’t confident using digital platforms and often has financial or time-sensitive questions. So, customers continued to pick up the phone.

Customer-led conversations

To address this challenge, the bank invested in an AI call assistant that allows callers to speak in their own words, including non-technical terminology. Customers can also interrupt at any point in the conversation, creating a more interactive and personalized experience.

Changing the tone of voice to fit the conversation

The voice assistant changes its tone to be empathetic and understanding for customers with queries of a sensitive nature. This approach enables the AI call assistant to guide callers to a resolution efficiently, even in challenging circumstances.

When the bank’s customers feel like the voice assistant understands them and gives them useful answers, they are more likely to trust the response and engage in further conversation.

Now the AI call assistant sends the customer a text message with a link to specific online resources, with no agent input required.

How an award-winning high street bank contained 27% of customer calls

This bank’s contact center was under immense pressure. They wanted to offer 24/7 support but had difficulty hiring enough skilled agents to meet the demand.

Even though the bank had invested in a mobile app to enable customers to self-serve, many still preferred to call and explain their queries. Unfortunately, the existing IVR system was restrictive and made it hard for customers to express complex issues, leading to misrouted calls.

The bank replaced its IVR solution with a PolyAI voice assistant that allows callers to express their queries freely, however they want, without any restrictions.

The voice assistant builds trust with callers by making them feel understood. Plus, it allows them to find the information they need by directing them straight to the bank’s self-service resources where relevant. As a result, call volume has decreased, agents have more time to focus on complex calls, and there has been a major improvement in how calls are routed.


Moving away from traditional IVR systems and embracing AI call assistants will enable banks to provide convenient, personalized, and efficient ways for customers to manage their finances in more accessible ways than ever before.

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