Ziraat Bank launches four separate internal AI-based virtual assistants to empower its workforce and increase efficiency 04 January 2022

Ziraat Bank deployed four virtual assistants for different functions to help employees reach information and perform basic tasks instantly and efficiently.

Ziraat Bank, a public bank with subsidiaries in EMEA and Central Asia, is the most established and largest bank in Turkey. One of the strategies the bank prioritizes is “providing digital solutions to customers by using advanced technologies” and “providing excellent customer and employee experience by consistently improving processes”. Within this strategic vision, Ziraat Bank focuses on enabling its employees to reach the most up-to-date information instantly and perform tasks in the most efficient way. Managing the knowledge of a bank which has a wide range of products, processes, internal and general regulations, is an important aspect of increasing efficiency. This vision no doubt requires utilizing conversational AI investment to leverage employee experience and increase the overall efficiency of the institution.

Conversational AI for a better employee experience 

Ziraat Bank built four different virtual assistants to augment its workforce, each serving a different function and completing a piece of the puzzle. These assistants are all created by CBOT, a leading conversational AI company, through its product CBOT Platform, NLP engine and expertise in designing conversational experiences. 

Based on the experience of CBOT gained in the banking sector and internal virtual assistants, Ziraat Bank’s assistants understand natural human sentences and provide an experience that is very close to human-to-human interaction. They provide interaction via text and are positioned on the intranet of the bank. 

The four virtual assistants are helping employees with the below functions:

Knowledge Bank and HR Assistant: HR policies and processes, such as day-off, onboarding, offboarding, retirement, compensation, calculations, training and development, health, promotion and other HR related topics

Issue Report Assistant: The issues where employees need help and information regarding the products, services, processes, regulations, internal systems and other issues that they encounter in daily business

Customer Agent Assistant: The assistant that helps call center agents reach the most up-to-date information about products and services

Complaints Classification Bot: The bot that classifies customer complaints coming from all possible channels, into the predefined categories

Utilizing these AI-based assistants minimizes the possibility of human error and enables employees to help customers quickly. For example, when the branch employee looks for specific information for a specific product or process, he/she can just ask the Knowledge Bank & HR Assistant to learn the answer instead of calling several departments, sending emails, or searching documents. A call center agent can easily reach information through Customer Agent Assistant, while talking to a customer in a session and respond instantly. Complaint Classification Bot automates the process of complaint management by classifying the complaints and suggestions submitted by customers through various channels. Since the classification process does not require human involvement, the human error factor is minimized and efficiency is maximized by automation. When an employee encounters an issue regarding internal systems and processes, the Issue Report Assistant assists the employee in solving the case. Beyond efficiency for certain tasks, Ziraat Bank’s AI-based internal assistants augment the workforce, making them feel more comfortable in terms of reaching knowledge any time they need. In addition, this approach enables the workforce to focus on more sophisticated tasks and free themselves from routine, mechanical ones and increases employee engagement and satisfaction. 

These assistants and bots are accessible through the intranet of the bank. Ziraat Bank employees including call center agents, branch teams and head office staff can ask these assistants questions such as “Through which menu can I submit a mortgage loan? How can I reach the current process for a foreign trade payment? I would like to learn my remaining days off and submit a 5 day off request. I could not reset my password. My laptop does not work properly, I need a new one. What are the interest rates for agricultural loans?” across a broad range of topics prepared with a holistic approach. These assistants will continuously be reviewed and the coverage will be enlarged as new topics, products, processes are added to the agenda of the bank. 

A successful example of bank-fintech partnership 

Ziraat Bank partnered with CBOT to create conversational AI-based experiences for its customers and employees through CBOT Platform, the holistic conversational AI product from the company, developed to create virtual assistants. The bank perceives conversational AI trends within a larger perspective and prioritizes automating many functions for employees and customers to provide better experiences and increase efficiency. These four assistants are just an initial step, other phases are planned in collaboration with CBOT to cover more fields and functionalities. 

Ziraat Bank’s partnership with CBOT makes the assistants understand natural human phrases via text and deliver an enhanced employee experience. Besides NLP and AI capabilities, CBOT’s expertise in designing conversational experiences for banks in use cases targeting customers and employees enables the bank to launch well-designed and successful virtual assistants.

Ziraat Bank Head of Enterprise Architecture Department Dr. Ertuğrul Umut Uysal said “We closely examine the questions received by the assistant and analyze the interests and needs of all employees. As a result of the analyses, we teach the assistant new subjects and thus we enable him to help people more and more effectively every day. With all these efforts, we aim to strengthen the assistant's functions such as problem solving and reducing the number of incident calls in the future.”

CBOT CEO Mete Aktaş focuses on the experience and time to market aspects of the business. He says “For a virtual assistant that provides seamless experience, NLP is not the only requirement. Besides NLP, experience in design is a very crucial part of the business. In the first years of conversational AI, we have been discussing the accuracy and power of NLP more than anything else, but as the business evolved we learned that completing the experience and satisfying the user’s request, within the conversational sphere, gaining multi-modal capabilities covering both text and voice, are also important aspects. To enable this, you have to design a perfect dialogue that makes the customer reach the solution as fast as possible by integrating the internal systems of the bank. Integrations, most of the time, require high investments in terms of time and budget. However, a tool like CBOT FUSION enables analyst teams to design complex dialogues that need internal integrations with no coding requirements. Beyond FUSION, CBOT Platforms’ other modules and capabilities for text and voice modalities, such as integrating the assistants into text-based channels and IVRs to automate the customer service side, monitoring the performance of the assistant, integrating it with a human agent with live chat functionality makes us deliver enhanced experiences for both customers and employees while increasing efficiency through automation.”

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