Talking to a bank call centre is even less fun than root canal work, so I think National Australia Bank might be onto something with its trial of a completely automated online chat support service. Simon Sharwood at the Smart Call podcast chatted with NAB’s head of direct channels Tim Cullen, and Cullen revealed that the bank has been trialling computer-based chat support. The IM agent has a growing knowledge base of common queries, but can hand over to a human support agent if it can’t work out what’s going on.
One big advantage of this approach is that you can deal with the agent
in your own time, going elsewhere online to check options before
returning with more questions. Chat services can also easily provide
links to useful information. “The feedback from our customers has been
excellent,” Cullen said.
Despite the potential convenience, there’s bound to be an outcry. As
Sharwood put it: “We suspect that if the mainstream press gets hold of
this, they’ll be screaming about robot bank tellers on the Internet.”
So what do you reckon: Is this a good idea, or just an excuse to cut
costs by sacking people?